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Kean Ocean Student Finds Dream Career on Barnegat Bay

Alec Boss presented with an interactive display at the League of Municipalities Conference

Kean Ocean senior Alec Boss always loved the outdoors but didn’t realize his passion could become a career until he started an internship with the environmental group Save Barnegat Bay. 

A communication studies major who grew up hiking and kayaking near his home in Toms River, Boss picked the group as the subject of a project in his public relations class. Through that work, he found both an internship and his calling.

Save Barnegat Bay thanked Kean Ocean intern Alec Boss in a social media post
Save Barnegat Bay thanked Kean Ocean intern Alec Boss in a social media post.

“My internship with Save Barnegat Bay was one of the greatest experiences I ever had,” Boss said. “It was amazing to be treated as an equal and have my contributions valued.”

Boss interned last summer on the Rally for Barnegat Bay, a three-year project that recruits volunteer citizen scientists to test the water along the Bay. The goal is to find and eliminate sources of pathogen contaminants, which largely come from human and animal waste.

Boss produced web content for the Rally for Barnegat Bay, created a presentation to educate and raise awareness at a Rally Open House, created a social media campaign, took part in a podcast and contributed to a state Department of Environmental Protection grant application.

With help from his brother, a master carpenter, Boss also built an interactive display and staffed it at the state League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City.

Other partners working on the Rally for Barnegat Bay include Clean Ocean Action and the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES).

“The three organizations are doing a great service for the environment,” Boss said.

Boss, who said he always wanted a career helping others, initially planned to become a police officer. He graduated from Ocean County College before entering Kean Ocean, where he has a 4.0 GPA.

“Growing up, I had a passion for the environment but didn’t see how I could make a career of it, because I wasn’t scientifically inclined. Through my internship on Rally for Barnegat Bay, I learned there are other ways to help,” he said. “I thought, ‘I can do this and make my other passion a reality.’”

Kean Lecturer Suzanne Schwab said in her advanced public relations class, students must find a nonprofit, work with the client and create a mock PR plan. 

Save Barnegat Bay was so impressed by Boss’ work that he was invited to seek an internship.

“Alec approached his internship with the same commitment and dedication he always showed in the classroom,” Schwab said. “I think Alec has a tremendous future in nonprofit.”

Boss’ mentor at Save Barnegat Bay, Education and Outreach Coordinator Graceanne Taylor, said his contribution and skills were important and valued.

“Alec is excellent at interacting with the public. He is able to spring into discussing whatever is at hand,” she said. “He delivered an excellent introduction to the Rally project at our Open House event, speaking clearly and eloquently in front of a crowd in an amphitheater. These skills can be hard to find in professionals.”

She predicted good things for his future.

“I say constantly that the environmental field needs people with skills outside of environmental science. We need communicators, marketers, graphic designers, film makers, accountants, public health professionals and more,” Taylor said. “With Alec's incredible dedication, talent and focus, he will be an excellent candidate to pursue communications for environmental work.”