Resource Spotlight: National Park Service Internship Programs

On Top of the World

Last summer, I took a big summer trip to Yosemite National Park. It was incredible, so much so that I began to plan for a return trip immediately after I got home. I found out a few weeks ago that I will be vacationing there again this upcoming summer, this time traveling through their High Sierra Camps. I am super excited!

Before last summer’s trip, I highlighted the Student Conservation Association (SCA), an excellent resource for finding internship opportunities with the National Park Service, with whom they are a partner. However, the SCA isn’t the only resource for finding opportunities to work with in our national parks.

  • Many internships/jobs for students are filled at the park level. If there is a national park that you are really interested in working for, contact them directly. Might I suggest Yosemite ūüėČ
  • You can seek opportunities through the federal government’s Student Educational Employment Program. There are two programs under this umbrella, the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP). To find positions, visit and USAJobs. Again, you can also contact parks directly. If you are eligible for STEP or SCEP, let them know.
  • Since UW-Whitewater has both MBA and MPA programs, I should mention the National Parks Business Plan Internship. Up to 15 summer “consultants” are brought on board. The students are grouped into teams of two to three and are assigned to work at one of our national parks. The consultants work with park management to conduct financial and strategy analysis. Transportation to the training session, to the park, and from the park back home are covered. Plus, summer consultants receive a weekly stipend AND are provided with housing.
  • Perfect for history and public history majors is the Historic Preservation Internship Training Program. Notice for Summer 2011 positions will be put out in January. There is also the Heritage Documentation Programs, which offer work to students in documenting historic sites and structures of architectural, landscape, and technological significance throughout the country.
  • The Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program is open to diverse undergraduate and graduate students. Interns are placed in opportunities for historic preservation and cultural resources work. These summer internships include a Career Workshop in Washington, DC, a weekly stipend, and housing allowance.

If you are at all interested in working for the National Park Service, you have a ton of resources available to find that perfect internship. Hope to see you out there!

Resource Spotlight: The Association for Experiential Education

Trail Trampers Delight

Internship. When you use the word, most if not all people know what you’re talking about…or at least they have a general idea of what you’re talking about. However, an internship is only one way to gain experience as a student. There are other kinds of programs and experiences that fall into an area known as Experiential Education:

  • Experiential Education refers to “work-education” programs in which a student’s academic studies are combined with career-related experience. Such programs “enable students to work in their chosen fields under the mentorship of professional practitioners.” (NACE)

But did you know that experiential education is also a career field in and of itself? Experiential educators can include teachers, camp counselors, challenge course guides, environmental educators, and coaches.

Since I just returned from my annual fall camping trip, I found it only fitting to highlight the Association for Experiential Education (AEE).

This international organization brings together experiential educators who work as adventure educators, professors, camp counselors, students, teachers, facilitators, risk managers, ropes course instructors, guides and others. They coordinate their own Jobs Clearinghouse where you can find postings for camp, field staff/guide, instructor, and intern positions – perfect for Education majors seeking experience BEFORE the formal student teaching experience.

The AEE has partnerships with the following organizations who also have volunteer and/or career opportunities of their own:

Whether you’re into the outdoors, environmental issues, or education, this could be a field worth exploring.

Related Posts:

Over the course of the year, I’ll write in more detail about all Experiential Education programs to both inform you and help you identify the experience best suited for your career path. This includes internship, “co-op,” practicum, field study, student teaching, service learning, and undergraduate research experiences.

Green Internships: The Possibilities

Last week, we celebrated Earth Day. Many of the career centers and other career development professionals I follow on Twitter were tweeting about green careers and jobs.

Also last week, I attended an initial meeting of the steering committee for a proposed Whitewater wellness program. The idea came from the Vitality Project undertaken by the community of Albert Lea, MN to increase the overall wellness of its residents. Members of the Whitewater campus and community are discussing the possibility of doing something similar here.

All of this got me thinking: What kinds of green or wellness-related internship opportunities could develop around Whitewater? Here are some of my ideas:

  • Natural Resources. Freshwater sciences are becoming a big focus in the Milwaukee area, which includes UW-Whitewater. The Milwaukee 7 Water Council is working to align the area’s water-based industries and research communities (i.e. universities) to establish the region as the global hub for freshwater research, education, and development. Internship opportunities already exist and more could arise with companies that deal in this natural resource, such as:
    • Pentair (water filtration and purification)
    • Badger Meter (water meters and meter reading systems)
    • Kohler (plumbing fixtures; primary and backup power systems)
    • Miller Coors (water user – intake/output quality and energy consumption)
  • Biodiversity & Ecosystems. Few areas on our planet remain untouched by human activity. In situations where this impact has been great, ecological restoration becomes crucial. Preserving, restoring, and conserving our natural resources allows our communities to thrive in healthy, sustainable, and economically strong ways.
    • Midwest Prairies (Milton, WI): This local company offers services such as prairie restoration; prescribed burns for prairies, fields, and woodlands; and vegetation control. See the Careers section of their website.
    • Tallgrass Restoration (Milton, WI): Environmental scientists are active with this company, which has an Illinois office in addition to its location outside of Milton. Tallgrass works with invasive species control, habitat installation, erosion control, and ecological assessment. Tallgrass Restoration attended the 2009 Hawk Career Fair.
  • Sustainable Foods. Movies such as Food, Inc., books such as Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and TV shows such as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution have brought attention to issues with our food systems. There could be opportunities to build experience in the growing sustainable food market.
    • Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (East Troy, WI): This 20-year-old farming education center is less than 20 miles outside of Whitewater. In addition to produce, the organization deals with advocacy, enterprise development, and research.
    • Dietzler Farms (Elkhorn, WI): Dietzler Farms is a family-owned farm that raises premium all-natural beef. Their animals are never given antibiotics or artificial growth hormones, always have access to pastures, and consume only grass or non-genetically modified grain. Dietzler Farms supplies beef to some pretty amazing restaurants in the Chicago area, including Charlie Trotter’s and avec. They are currently seeking summer help (email me for details).
    • Wholesome Harvest (Fort Atkinson, WI): Wholesome Harvest is a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. To join a CSA is to purchase a share or portion of the crops that the farm produces. Member receive a weekly share throughout the growing season. Last summer, UW-Whitewater faculty and staff became members of Wholesome Harvest, with campus serving as their pickup site.
  • Ecotourism. Whitewater lies just outside of the Southern Unit of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest, home to numerous trails, including a portion of the Ice Age Trail. Given the close proximity, there could be a natural connection (no pun intended) between students and opportunities in natural/environmental sciences, law enforcement, business, and information technology with the Wisconsin DNR.

Some of the organizations listed above may have actual internship opportunities available. Others may offer volunteer or part-time, seasonal work that still provides great career-related experience.

This list can also serve as a starting point for those of you willing to put in the effort of creating your own internship. For me, it calls attention to new areas to explore for internship development.

For more green career information, check out What Are Green Jobs and Where Can I Find One? and Resource Spotlight: Green Job Spider on my colleagues’ Career Spotlight blog and check out the book “Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future” by Jim Cassio and Alice Rush, available at Andersen Library.

What do you think? Do you hope to have a “green” career? If so, what kind of internship experience are you trying to find?

Photo by (matt)

Resource Spotlight: The Student Conservation Association

Yosemite Valley

Last week was Spring Break here at UW-Whitewater. The campus was, of course, extremely quiet as students enjoyed their trips either to home or to someplace more exotic. I wasn’t traveling but was here at work, dreaming of my upcoming vacation to Yosemite National Park. This will be my first visit to a national park and a huge boost to my budding outdoorsy interests.

I realize that I might be new to this nature-loving lifestyle, but others have grown up with it. If you are one of those people or if, like me, you’re new to adventurous living, check out The Student Conservation Association (SCA). Since 1957, the SCA has been placing volunteers in conservation service opportunities. The SCA has grown to include several different programs, one of which is SCA Internships.

SCA Internships are available in many fields. There are the obvious environmental opportunities, but there are also positions working with design, historical resources, and technology. The SCA offers opportunities is all 50 states and provides a living stipend, housing, and travel costs.

The following are some examples of internships through the SCA:

To learn more about the SCA, visit their website: Search for internships at You can also follow the SCA on Twitter at @the_sca and @SCAInternships.

I know I’ll be a fan of the Wildlife Management Intern in Yosemite. Anyone working to reduce human and bear conflicts in Yosemite this June is a friend of mine!

Yosemite National Park photo by irene.

Bear photo by Ed Coyle Photography

New: Field-Specific Resources

Some new resources have been added to the UW-Whitewater Student Internships website. In the “How to Find an Internship” section, you can now access lists of field-specific internship programs and resources.

The current menu of fields includes the following:

Within each section, you will find notes on internship opportunities in or near Whitewater. You will find information on internship programs in Wisconsin and beyond. You will also find links to additional resources related to the field. Eventually, resources to help you in creating your own internship in the field will be added.

Are there any areas of interest that haven’t been covered? Do you have information on programs or resources that you don’t see currently listed?

There is also a link to the International Internships section of the site. The International Internships page has been recently revamped, so be sure to check it out.

In addition, the Internship Search Plan has also been revised. Again, check it out if you haven’t already seen it. It’s a helpful tool at any point of your internship search.



Finally, I want to welcome my colleagues’ new blog to the web: Career Spotlight. Ron Buchholz, Kathy Craney, and Ellen Hatfield will be writing about permanent job search strategies, the employer perspective, development of¬†your personal brand,¬†how to¬†present yourself professionally, and success on the job. They are very excited about blogging and are very passionate about teaching students how to succeed in their professional careers. You will now find a feed to their most recent posts on the right-hand side of this blog.


We’re only a couple of weeks away from the beginning of the fall semester.¬†Remember that the staff in Career & Leadership Development are available to help you connect with co-curricular activies, identify internship opportunities, and prepare to graduate to the professional world. Stop in and see us soon!


Photo by D Sharon Pruitt (pinksherbert)


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