Molly Anderson ’14
Internship Site: SCA - Deschutes National Forest - Bend, OR
In high school I had a good friend who had done extensive work through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and she gave rave reviews, but the organization slipped off my radar at some point. Then, I began to see signs about it in buildings around campus, and spoke with a Career Center counselor about the possibility of a conservation internship that would offer me the opportunity to combine my interest in writing, education and environmental issues.
As the Cave and Wildlife intern, my primary job was to speak with visitors to a highly visited cave and both screen and educate them about an environmental threat called White-nose Syndrome.
On top of my day-to-day work at the cave (screening and educating about 40,000 visitors), over the course of the summer I got many other opportunities to do extra activities. The most exciting of these was probably the day I got to go out into the wilderness with a crew of wildlife biologists and search for the Northern Spotted Owl, a rare and beautiful bird that’s specific habitat requirements and declining numbers lead to the creation of a strict species management plan and the loss of many logging jobs because of its listing under the Endangered Species act. Finding, feeding, and observing the spotted owl was absolutely an once-in-a-lifetime experience.
My courses in the sciences (like Planet Earth and Changing Ocean Ecosystems) gave me a scientific context that helped me to understand the more factual side of my internship. I have also taken in the Humanities and Social Sciences, particularly American Government, Thoreau and American Nature writing (my FYS) and English 220 provided me with a solid foundation for communicating effectively with the public and understanding the multifaceted issues at hand. American Government introduced me to the policy side of the Forest Service, which is a federal agency under the executive branch, so I came in to the summer with a working knowledge of things like National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. My First Year Seminar introduced me to many environmental conservation issues through the use of narrative, and the discussions we had in class shaped and informed my opinions on the importance of preserving and enjoying the wilderness.
Tips from Molly:
Branch out! One of my favorite parts about working for Deschutes National Forest was living in a new place for the summer. I didn’t really know anyone in the area, but got plugged in with local rec sports and got placed with great roommates. I had the whole summer to explore a new town and forest, which only enhanced my internship experience. Try and find a program that provides housing (like the SCA!), or look for opportunities in a city where you have someone to stay with. A change of scenery and new people provide an extra learning experience for the summer. If you end up somewhere less-than-ideal, you’ll learn to adapt, and you’re only there for the summer. If you end up somewhere awesome, all the better!
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House