This summer, Faith Villalobos Loria experienced the best of both worlds when it came to her position at the Port. By working in External Relations and Environmental Sustainability, she was able to spend half of her time indoors at Pier 69 and the other half, out on the Puget Sound.
When working in Environmental Sustainability, Faith’s focus was on restoration. With her supervisor, she and the other interns would take one of the Port’s boats out on the Puget Sound and plant kelp at the North and South ends of Pier 69. Kelp provides habitats for juvenile fish and salmon which helps keep them safe against predators. It also provides a lot of carbon, in fact, it provides more carbon than trees. Faith says that her favorite part about transplanting the kelp was being able to drive the boat and trying to get the kelp out of the water onto the boat, which was something she had never done before.
When working in External Relations, Faith was focused on helping to plan the 2019 Duwamish River Festival, which is an event that brings together the community to celebrate and preserve the Duwamish River. For the event, she organized activities for kids and created a “meet the interns” document so that people who passed their booth could get an idea of what it’s like to be an intern at the Port of Seattle. She also helped determine the theme of the Port’s booth, this year’s was kelp, which she had first-hand experience with.
Faith is currently a rising junior at Highline’s Big Picture High School. Big Picture is what is known as a learning through interest (LTI) school, and the students there are off-campus two days a week participating in different internships that pertain to their personal interest. Rather than using grades, the school allows students to put together personal projects and find mentors to work with on these projects throughout the year. She likes going to Big Picture because it gives her the opportunity to explore her interests and see the real world. In her free time, she enjoys Korean dramas and participating in the Duwamish Valley Youth Core, which is where she first heard about the Port’s internship opportunity.
Faith’s post-high school plan is to further her education and though she hasn’t completely decided on what career path she wants to pursue, she has a few ideas. Her interests in the past have been visual arts and communications and outreach, but lately, she’s been getting more interested in environmental studies. By working with the Port, she’s had the opportunity to see what an environmental career path looks like in action.