My name is Michelle Renn and from now through August I’ll be interning at National Geographic and contributing to the My Wonderful World blog.
The fact is: I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that we truly live in a wonderful world. All throughout my childhood I was fortunate to travel a lot with my family. We traveled domestically and internationally, often taking road trips across the country in the summers. We camped along the way, exploring National Parks, big cities, small towns– and everything in between. I learned from a young age that travel is about the journey, not just the destination. In retrospect, I entirely credit my parents with instilling in me a profound desire for exploration. Once I was exposed to a taste of new places, cultures, languages, and foods, the curiosity was unstoppable. I began to realize what a very large world we live in, and I became determined to experience as much of it as I could.
My love for exploration is likely what attracted me to Geography as a major in college. The breadth and depth of the discipline is miraculous, comprising everything from studies of humans and cultures, mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), environmental issues and systems, and physical attributes of the Earth. Geography is the exploration of people, cultures, the environment, and the intersections among them— it is an exploration of the planet we all share. I couldn’t stay away.
In the spring of 2009 I was fortunate enough to circumnavigate the
globe with a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. This 108-day
voyage took place on a ship. Classes were conducted on the ship every
day that we weren’t stopped in a foreign country completing field
research. During the semester we traveled to the Bahamas, Spain,
Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Thailand, Vietnam,
China, Japan, Hawaii, Guatemala, and the Panama Canal. After sailing
around it, I became even more convinced of what a wonderful world we
The following semester I returned to Penn State
University, where I am currently pursuing Bachelors degrees in
Geography and Media Studies (with a concentration in International
Communications) and a minor in Art History. I am in the midst of
completing an honors thesis discussing the detrimental effects of
electronic waste (like old cell phones, computers, and televisions) on
I could not be more excited to work at National
Geographic because it provides a perfect opportunity to combine many of
my interests: Geography, reading, writing, learning and exploring!
During my internship I hope to explore a new city (Washington D.C.), a
new organization (National Geographic), new forms of transportation
(the metro), new people, and new applications for geography!