http://www.nps.gov/

National Park Service

Research assistant

September - November 2019 • Chester, CA

What I liked

Hiking, field work, doing radio telemetry to find bats

What I wish was different

More availability and longer study.

Advice

Biologists have to be resourceful and flexible in a wide variety of challenging situations they need to get the job done while being part of a team or alone.
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New Leader in Community Conservation Assistance

June - September 2019 • Boston, MA

What I liked

I was able to take part in independent research of a project that I then presented to national NPS staff.

What I wish was different

More opportunities to take part in trainings and events.

Advice

This is a rigorous internship but is worthwhile for someone interested in environmental issues and natural resource management.
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Visitor Use Assistant

July 2019 • Fort Payne, AL

What I liked

Working for the NPS has been such a great experience. My coworkers are lovely and make you feel very welcome. This job has given me a lot of opportunities to learn different things. I also like that this position is a bit fluid in that you are not always doing what you signed up for. Plus, the pay is awesome and I like that it exposed me to full-time work and PTO, even as a college student.

What I wish was different

My main job in this position is fee collection. So, on the weekends, I basically sit in a booth at an area in the park and take people's money when they drive through. It can get very boring sometimes, so I wish this position had a bit more substance and could give me a goal to work towards. I also am not the biggest fan of wearing a ranger uniform due to how uncomfortable it can be in 90 degree weather.

Advice

Try to learn as much as you can about your park. It makes a difference when you can have conversations with people/coworkers about any and everything going on there.
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Research Assistant

May - August 2019 • Orick, CA

What I liked

Everyone working out of the NPS office showed a dedication to education and protecting public land resources.

What I wish was different

I wish that we had more freedom to work with other divisions of ecological restoration and protection. I would love to see how Fish and Wildlife, Botany, and other Forestry crews spend their days.

Advice

Open yourself up to getting dirty, being uncomfortable and even scared, because that’s when you learn the most about yourself.
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Interpretive Ranger Intern

June - August 2019 • Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

What I liked

Working with the Park Service staff was an amazing experience. I was able to get experience in different positions throughout the Park.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Trail Maintenance Worker

May - August 2019 • Seward, AK

What I liked

Being out side and hiking

What I wish was different

Nothing

Advice

Enjoy where you are
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Natural Resource Volunteer

May - July 2019 • Sharpsburg, MD

What I liked

Guidance and coworkers

What I wish was different

I had more time

Advice

Fun and a great learning experience, but you have to commit
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EMS and Search and Rescue Intern

May - August 2019 • Bryce, UT

What I liked

I absolutely loved my job this summer! I was able to help sick and injured individuals every day, and it was very rewarding. I was also able to work very closely with Law Enforcement, Interpretation, and Resource Management to help park operations run smoothly.

What I wish was different

This summer was a transition period for the Law Enforcement Division, as 6 out of 8 employees chose to move on to a different park last year. The park was still trying to fill those positions throughout the summer, so we only had a total of 2 permanent staff and 3 seasonal staff for most of the season. Because of this, guidance/mentorship and structure was lacking.

Advice

If there is something you want to do, go out and do it! I would also highly recommend anyone interested in helping people and having fun while doing it look into employment in the medical field.
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Camp Counselor

June 2019 • Lafayette, LA

What I liked

Sharing South Louisiana’s culture & history with the kids

What I wish was different

Longer camp

Advice

Working with kids can be difficult but just try to remember how you felt at that age.
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Herpetology intern

May - November 2019 • Thousand Oaks, CA

What I liked

The work was gratifying

What I wish was different

Advice

Be patient and able willing to roll with punches
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Astronomy and Interpretation

June - August 2020 • Waco, TX

What I liked

I got to experience living on my own for the first time and gained significant experience in the field I want to pursue. I gained life long mentors and friends.

What I wish was different

I wish there had need more intern-intern interaction, I only met with them over the internet a few times

Advice

Make sure you’re talking and getting to know your supervisor and coworkers! Networking is how you ensure you get a spot next year and when you graduate
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Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Intern

May - August 2019 • Gatlinburg, TN

What I liked

The opportunity to work with National Park staff on conservation.

What I wish was different

Nothing.

Advice

Always seek out those who are distinguished in their field and learn from them.
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Biological Research Technician

May - August 2019 • Chesterton, IN

What I liked

I loved that I was able to gain some experience working in Resource Management with the National Park Service, because I was able to do some hands-on field research, studying beaver activity in a globally rare habitat. I worked outside for a majority of the time, and I was required to use a Trimble, or a really fancy GPS unit, to mark specific types and locations of beaver activity. I then learned how to use GIS to create a map of all of the features combined, which will then be used to help complete an environmental assessment. I absolutely loved all of the opportunities I had to learn new and applicable information.

What I wish was different

The only thing that I wish could have been different is that rather than working a set time each day, I would have liked to be able to have a more flexible schedule. Ideally, I would still work the 40 hours per week, but I would be able to stay in the field longer on the nicer days so that I did not have to go out during the days with worse weather.

Advice

One piece of advice that I would share about this experience is to always put 100% into whatever you are doing. Some of my co-workers did not work as hard as I did throughout the course of the summer, and they were not encouraged to re-apply. I was given a few field experience opportunities that my co-workers did not get because I worked hard all day, every day. Show up, do your best, do not be afraid to ask questions, and you will be rewarded!
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Education

June - August 2020 • St. Louis, MO

What I liked

Being able to see what it is like to work in an NPS organization and see how it runs on a day to day basis.

What I wish was different

I wish I got to do more of what I was hired for as COVID meant that we couldn’t do normal programming with kids and did more busy work and maintenance.

Advice

It was very good and I enjoyed my time out west this summer.
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