Introducing Bow Seat TikTok Intern Hallie DongJanuary 18, 2023
Hi! My name is Hallie Dong (she/her), and I am both pleased and excited to be joining the Bow Seat team as a TikTok Intern!
I remember my first time coming across Bow Seat’s website, and the news of their Ocean Awareness Contest. Though I was only in middle school at the time, I became immediately fascinated with the online gallery of past winners, and spent a long time looking through it. I remember reading poems, scrolling through prose, staring at art, and above all thinking, “Wow. This is so beautiful.”
It was the start of many times in my life that I was exposed to the beauty of our oceans. As part of my introduction post, I’d like to take some time to journey back through time to my two favorite, and most memorable, ocean experiences.
As a four-year-old, I visited San Diego, California for the first time. It was also my first time seeing the ocean. I remember hearing the roar of the waves, which sounded alien and unfamiliar, and unlike anything I had ever heard. When I finally saw that it was the ocean, excitement overtook me, and I ran straight into the water. (Yeah… that probably wasn’t my best decision.) Still, I hold that memory in my heart to this day. There was something about the ocean: it was daunting yet welcoming, dangerous yet thrilling. Above all, knowing that something so great and big was here on our very planet made me stand in awe of it.
During the pandemic, my family and I watched a documentary on coral bleaching. We watched in shock and horror as the underwater time lapse videos showed the reefs flashing their final vibrant colors, before fading to a skeleton white. I remember my brother, who was only a fifth grader at the time, emailing his favorite influencer, MrBeast, to ask him to follow up his “TeamTrees” initiative (of planting 20 million trees by the year 2020) with another that would bring awareness and change to the climate crisis, especially how it affected coral reefs. Though I am (almost 100%) sure my brother’s email had nothing to do with it, MrBeast launched a “TeamSeas” initiative within the following years, focusing on cleaning up ocean trash. Nonetheless, from this I learned the importance and impact of just a single person.
I am currently a sophomore in high school in Western Pennsylvania. Though any body of water is few and far between, I am far from distant from the impacts of climate change. I believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to educate themselves on behalf of creating a more sustainable and better future, whether it be actively speaking out in our communities, or using social media as a platform to amplify our voices.
Last summer, I worked on a poetry piece titled “the funny thing about climate change,” which received an Honorable Mention in the 2022 Ocean Awareness Contest, with the same theme. I wrote in the sarcastic, yet brutally honest voice of a girl whose life was deeply affected by rising tides, and ultimately climate change.
I have past and active experience working with social media platforms like Instagram (infographic posts for a soon-to-be-nonprofit organization) and TikTok (shooting art videos and tutorials), and when the opportunity arose to work for Bow Seat, everything suddenly made perfect sense.
Ocean conservation and climate activism have been important for me for almost my entire life. I remember the first time I ever watched an ocean documentary on coral bleaching: it was not only (obviously) depressing, but also full of hope. Ultimately, I believe that we are fully capable of finding solutions and better paths to the problems we created, even though they may not always be straightforward.
I look forward to embarking on this creative and inspiring journey, and I hope you’ll join the Bow Seat team and me on TikTok!