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Making an impact in our community

Kenneth Felsenstein
Working for Blue Water Baltimore, Kenneth Felsenstein was part of a bacterial monitoring project
in the Inner Harbor and Patapsco's Middle Branch. Photo by Will Kirk/Homewoodphoto.jhu.edu

Kenneth Felsenstein got his hands dirty this summer, and loved every minute of it.

Felsenstein, a public health major, interned at Blue Water Baltimore, a restoration, education and advocacy nonprofit that aims for cleaner water in the city's rivers, streams and harbor.

Felsenstein worked as a member of the "Green Pod," which is responsible for conservation landscaping, community greening and watershed maintenance. He tracked urban forestry projects through the city's TreeBaltimore initiative, managed groups of YouthWorks interns, assisted in stream cleanups, helped oversee a massive project to transform an unused school parking lot into a community green space and helped administer the organization's bacterial monitoring program in two major waterways.

The senior's responsibilities didn't end there, but he had to pause for a breath.

"It has been a very rewarding experience," said Felsenstein on the eve of the final day of his internship. "I have learned a significant amount about the interconnectedness of public health and our natural environment, and developed the technical standards to be successful in an environmentally driven organization."

Felsenstein was one of 25 students who participated in the new Johns Hopkins Community Impact Internships program, run by the university's Center for Social Concern. The student program paired the 25 students with 25 Baltimore nonprofit, community-based organizations or city social service agencies to conduct meaningful, hands-on work during their summer breaks.

More than 200 applied for the program. The 25 selected were matched to the projects based on background and personality.

In addition to Blue Water Baltimore, the students worked eight 30-hour weeks at such places as the Citizens Planning and Housing Association, the Baltimore City Health Department's Community Risk Reduction Services, the Parks and People Foundation, My Sister's Place and the Office of the Public Defender's Juvenile Court Division.

Read more about the Community Impact Internships program in The Gazette

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