Interning for the Pea Island Preservation Society

My Internship with the Pea Island Preservation Society!

Hello, My name is Francesca Fradianni, and I am a senior graduating this December! This semester, I’ve had the privilege of working with the Pea Island Preservation Society, a non-profit devoted to telling the story of the Pea Island lifesavers. Situated in Manteo, the original cookhouse has just two rooms, yet contains enough history to fill an entire museum. The Pea Island Station was the first and only life-saving station to have an all-black crew, when race relations in the south were a tumultuous and tempestuous issue. Through reconstruction and Jim Crow, this station thrived and worked to gain a name for itself, and saved people and cargo from the treacherous Graveyard of the Atlantic.

My role as an intern was to create content and infographics for the Pea Island Preservation Society. I researched various books, archives, and museums about the Pea Island station, and produced two infographics — One about Richard Etheridge (the first black keeper), and one about environmental issues that determined the livelihood and duties of the Pea Island lifesavers. I also produced a poster and other media for the 125th anniversary of the most famous rescue by Pea Island — The E.S. Newman. I really appreciated being able to have a creative outlet during this science-oriented semester, and I ended up being able to use all of the projects in my portfolio for both grad school and job applications!

The poster I made for the 125th anniversary event for the E.S. Newman posted in downtown Manteo!

The team at PIPS is small, but extremely effective. My mentor and the director of the Pea Island Preservation society, Joan Collins, has been one of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met. Since the very first day, she treated me with respect and made me feel like an important part of the team, and was integral to developing the content for the posters and infographics. Doug Stover is an incredible individual with astounding humor and humility who has helped immensely in my research of the history of the Pea Island Station. Coquetta Brooks is one of the coolest and brightest people I know, and has never been anything but extremely kind and supportive to me. Darrell Collins has been integral in checking my work for historical accuracy, and just like everyone else, has been a truly pleasant person to know. While these individuals had the greatest impact on my time as an intern, there are many other unsung heroes that contribute to the success of the Pea Island Preservation Society.

Doug, Joan, and Myself at the top of the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station tower!


My time interning for Pea Island has been very rewarding and wholesome, and I’m very proud to have been able to contribute to an organization with such a focused and genuine mission in my final semester at UNC. Everyone involved does their work from the passion in the hearts, and they are deserving of all possible recognition and respect. If you want your internship experience to be close-knit, focused, and humanities-based, working with the Pea Island Preservation society could be for you!

– Francesca

Sitting on the steps of the lovely Pea Island Cookhouse Museum!