Fairfield University student Tebben Lopez a semi-finalist in The Sierra Club's national 'Best Internship on Earth' competition

Image: Tebben LopezFairfield University freshman Tebben Lopez has been named a semi-finalist in The Sierra Club's widely coveted 'Best Internship on Earth' competition. A Shelton, Connecticut resident, her application was selected as one of the top 25 out of hundreds submitted to The Sierra Club, the country's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

The winner of the 'Best Internship' post will serve as the organization's Outdoor Ambassador and spend this summer hiking, rafting and exploring with The Sierra Club's youth programs around the country and video blogging about their experiences along the way.

The application process required students make a short video, uploaded to YouTube, explaining why they would be the best ambassador. In her entry, Lopez, a journalism major, said she would love to serve "so I can see kids realizing what I do every time I get a big whiff of the natural world." The internship, she believes, would help her inspire others to cherish the environment as she does, and build on her efforts to use media to capture nature in all its glory. It might even help her realize her dream to be a photographer for National Geographic. (Her video application offers glimpses of her amazing talent of photographing nature, as well as her considerable skills as a videographer that she taught herself.)

Image: HawkTo view Lopez's video, as well as the other finalists, visit http://www.sierraclub.org/bestinternship/.

The Sierra Club would like to hear from the public about who would make the best intern. Anyone wishing to post testimonies about Lopez is asked to click on her video (located near the bottom right hand corner of the web page) and post comments there.

For Lopez, 19, the internship would also be an opportunity to return to her roots. She was born in Berkley, California, just across the bay from San Francisco where The Sierra Club is based. "I can't even remember when I fell in love with nature," said Lopez, the daughter of Dr. Paula Gill Lopez, associate professor of Psychology and Special Education at Fairfield; her father Ray works for the federal government. "My family has always been outdoor-oriented, all of our celebrations are outside if possible, our favorite family past times are hiking not board games."

Image: EcudorThe Shelton High School graduate said she really came to appreciate nature during a rough spot when she was 15. "I had some relatively serious medical issues and it seemed like everything was spinning out of control," she shared. "I would go out and photograph things. There was a calm refuge in the natural world, a kind of unspoken cooperation and order that gave me more strength to get through my life."

In between volunteering with the university arts troupe, Performing for Change, Lopez, a Magis Scholar, works for Patch.com and at The Mirror, Fairfield's student newspaper where she is a cartoonist and graphic artist. "[Photojournalism] is what I want to do with my life and I love the outdoors," she said. "Wouldn't it be great to combine the two?!"

Images: Fairfield freshman Tebben Lopez, a finalist for The Sierra Club's 'Best Internship' program, spent a gap year in Ecuador, where she captured the country's vast beauty on film. She hopes to become a photojournalist after she graduates.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 18, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 278

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