Sanctuary intern has new challenges every day

News Photo by Jordan Spence Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary intern Molly Voth continues her time in Alpena until early August.

ALPENA — Molly Voth has yet to perform the same duties twice during her internship with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Voth arrived in Alpena in late May and will be here until the start of August.

“The internship is pretty much everything. I worked with (Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative) summer camps. I’ve worked on (The Lady Michigan) being the ambassador, with Wayne (Lusardi) doing archeology in the lab. It’s a compilation. I’ve been able to go out with the research team,” she said.

Voth and her family live in Colorado, but she attends James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. She is an undergraduate and has worked toward a degree in biological anthropology.

“I love people and working with people. I started off as earth science major and geology with secondary education so I could teach. We didn’t learn how to teach and about people. It was just rocks. Anthropology is people based and it’s also a compilation of a lot of other things, which is why I chose it,” she said.

Voth was connected to the internship because a professor she had was once an intern at the sanctuary 10 years ago.

“We had been looking at internships all over the world because my school is far from where I live and where I live is so far from everything, we looked everywhere. With this internship it’s education based and archeology based. It’s rare to find both things in the same place,” she said.

It’s difficult for her to choose what’s been her favorite part of the experience.

“I guess my favorite is when we take kids out. You never know how they’ll react,” she said. “We took them out to do nature journaling one day and they’re so into it. They were so excited to show off what they saw and learned.”

She said it’s fun to watch kids become engaged in science education.

The archeology piece of the internship also has interested Voth.

“I’ve been able to work with Chuck (Bennett) and Wayne learning how to preserve, clean and take care of artifacts. And how to do basic underwater archeology. I’ve been given the opportunity learn with the Shipwreck Alley class. I’m there learning archeology techniques right along with the students,” she said.

She said she has loved the opportunity to work in Michigan and it has been a fun state.

“All the water and the sailing and the water sports I love. I grew up sailing and on ships because my dad’s in the Navy. I kind of missed the water. Coming here it’s everywhere,” she said.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687