How I got this internship:
I got this internship by responding to a listing on a company website or search engine.
What I do, day to day:
In the mornings, I'll go in and open either the visitor's center at the base of the cinder cone or at the cave. The majority of the day is spent interpreting the natural and geologic features, but I also give a 20-minute patio talk about the cultural history of the area and archaeology on the monument. At the cave, I provide information about bat safety and do a cave sweep at the end of the night to check for damage and ensure all visitors have left the cave. Some days, I rove around and hike different trails, doing light maintenance and on-site interpretation.
I've previously interned at the Burke Museum of Cultural History in the Ethnology Department, cleaning and maintaining the collection. In the future, I would prefer full-time employment, but would not be opposed to interning again.
Most valuable part of this experience:
One of the most valuable parts of any internship is that your employer hopefully doesn't expect you to know everything that you're supposed to be able to do right off the bat. They take the time to mentor and teach the applicable skills. For me, that was creating my own engaging, interpretive talk on a topic of my choice. The most unexpected part of the internship was how willing my coworkers were to network for me. Without asking, I was given names and contact information of professionals related to my own interests, in addition to the advice given by the amazing people I work with day to day.
Advice for students considering internships:
The hardest part is finding and applying for internships. You've got to push yourself to do it—and do it early. Once you start getting experiences and building your resume in college, after graduation you're starting out ahead in terms of job searching and networking experience.
How this internship has helped me:
This internship has helped massively with my confidence and skills in public speaking. I spend all day long talking to people, sometimes in groups of 40, and I have been able to figure out what works for me and for this style of audience through repetition.
Before continuing to graduate school, I want a few years of job experience. I've discovered a passion for education and interpretation, and I would love to channel that into being a ranger. Otherwise, I would like to work in contract archaeology for a management firm in the Pacific Northwest.
Published September 29, 2017