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Photos & Blog by Amanda Armstrong, Communications Intern ’22

Growing up in Central California, I had always wondered what it was like to grow up right near the beach. Of course, as a Californian, I always had the privilege of living nearby, but I was never as close to it as I wanted to be. I always loved nature and spent those trips to the shore at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

My dream of living as close to the beach as possible came true when I moved down to Oceanside for school at MiraCosta Community College. One of the CSU transfer requirements is physical and biological sciences; you must choose one of those along with a corresponding laboratory activity. I decided to take oceanography in Spring 2018 and the lab that goes along with it Fall 2019.

Oceanography was one of my most memorable courses while attending MiraCosta. We spent each week visiting a new beach along the San Diego coast, participating in hands-on laboratory experience right then and there. Towards the end of the semester, we even had the opportunity to visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

General Education courses are an opportunity to explore the sides of yourself that you want to learn more about. As a business major, I never thought I would have a chance to take an oceanography course. The knowledge I gained from the courses allowed me to see a new side of myself. That is when I started looking more into volunteering.

At this point, Oceanside was my home, and I really wanted to participate in the community that I was living in. I received an Instagram advertisement from Get Back Necklaces, known for their St. Christopher Necklace, seen in surf culture as a symbol of good luck. They partnered with Surfrider San Diego to host a beach cleanup at Oceanside Pier.

I attended this event by myself to spend some quality time reflecting on the present moment. So many people of all ages were getting together to clean up the place we all care for. This opportunity made me appreciate the community I was now a part of. I continued to participate in Surfrider’s events until moving out of Oceanside.

Volunteering within my community inspired me to look into ways I could use my business degree to get involved in things I am passionate about, such as the environment. Fortunately for me, MiraCosta held a business seminar regarding corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility is a business model that allows companies to integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations.

In Fall 2020, I transferred to California State University Fullerton as a Business Administration major concentrating in Marketing and Information Systems. I wanted to carry those experiences while living in San Diego County and bring them to Orange County.

While attending CSU Fullerton, I joined a sorority, Sigma Kappa. Their philanthropic efforts through Inherit the Earth, an internal group dedicated to improving the environment, drew me to being a part of the organization. We hold a beach cleanup every year around Earth Day.

Part of the business curriculum for my concentration allows us to be involved in an internship for college credit. While on my search, I came across the environmental communications internship at Orange County Coastkeeper. I was immediately drawn to it and knew it was exactly what I was looking for. It was a chance to showcase where my passion for environmental protection lies.

The chain reaction of effects that have happened since participating in my first beach cleanup in Oceanside allowed me to turn my passion into the early start of my career. I look forward to continuing on this lifelong journey of showing my love for the environment!