Caryn Sennett ’15
Major(s): Environmental Studies, Spanish
Internship Site: PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources - Presque Isle State Park - Erie, PA
I found the Presque Isle internship after sending e-mails to environmental organizations around the Erie area. I began my search at the end of Christmas break and was informed of the potential work opportunity at the park in mid-January. I secured the job after turning in my application and completing a phone interview. Although I did not directly use any of the Dickinson resources to locate or secure my internship, I did examine several Dickinson related sites and web pages that helped me to improve my resume, and I looked at the list of where Dickinson students had secured prior internships in order to help me brainstorm and determine where I should start my initial search.
One continuous project that I was involved with was the management of invasive plants in the park. This entailed working with herbicide backpack sprayers, and manually pulling and cutting down noxious and invasive plants. One of the invasive projects that I particularly enjoyed was working to protect native plants surrounding the lighthouse at Presque Isle, which is a National landmark. I particularly enjoyed that experience because the goal was to save native plants, as opposed to killing invasive plants.
The Environmental Studies course that I took with Professor Howard was particularly helpful during my internship. Many of the topics that we discussed concerning the environment, sustainable practices, and politics were brought up throughout the summer by different individuals with whom I worked and it felt great to be able to discuss contemporary environmental issues knowledgeably. During this class, we did a lab in which we tested the water quality of the pond and bio-digester at the farm. Since I spent the majority of the summer taking water samples and then assisting with lab work and plating samples, that lab was extremely useful and a wonderful base for the work that I did this summer.
There were many individuals that I met throughout my internship that showed interest in my abilities and my future goals. My supervisor was very accommodating and willing to answer all of my questions about what it is like to be a park manager. The head of Presque Isle Partnership was very encouraging and offered great advice on how to succeed in future endeavors. These individuals were very encouraging and their presence at the workplace helped me to feel extremely comfortable and confident in the work that I was doing.
As an intern, I had the ability to shadow environmental educators, park rangers, and work with members of the natural history museum in TREC. I was able to determine that I really enjoy working with children, I have no desire to work in law enforcement, and I confirmed my love for the outdoors. I have decided that my ideal career would involve getting outside and interacting with individuals in the community.
Tips from Caryn:
When looking for an internship, find a variety of organizations that you are passionate about. To find those internships, talk to anyone and everyone that you know; don’t be hesitant to ask around about potential intern opportunities, because they aren’t always well advertised. I also recommend finding an internship in your field, maybe even a new area of that field, in order to gain new experience and gauge your interest in that area. I found that since all of the experiences that I had via my internship this past summer were new, and related to my field of study, I was constantly eager to go to work and explore new opportunities.
*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.