Internship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife gives student breadth of experience

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Internship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife gives student breadth of experience

Hannah Carden works on the Parker River refuge.
Hannah Carden helps U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

Hannah Carden remembers the sunrises that greeted her each morning as she began her eight-hour work days at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts this past summer — and the breadth of experience she gained.

Hannah Carden
Carden, a junior fisheries and wildlife major, joined the Parker River staff as a facilities management intern through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Career Discovery Internship Program, a program meant to prepare the next generation of wildlife professionals by introducing them to conservation careers.   

Opportunities similar to Carden’s and many more will be showcased at the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Career Information Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 8 in Hardin Hall on East Campus. There will be tables from various businesses and government entities to meet and talk with students. The event also includes a panel session over the lunch hour featuring four professionals in natural resources and environmental sciences fields. The event is open to students in all majors.

“[The Career Discovery Internship] program really stood out to me,” Carden said. “It was centered on developing young people entering this career field and giving them the opportunities to try different areas that they might not expect themselves to go into.”   

Carden’s main internship duties were related to upkeep and maintenance, but she was able to experience many other aspects of the refuge.

“Hannah came here to do facilities management, but we also gave her lots of options,” said Sharon Ware, deputy manager at the refuge. “We are a small refuge, so it just kind of happens by default. We all pull together when there’s a need to help each other, but she was involved quite a bit with the biological program.”   

Carden said that everyone at the refuge was happy to help her expand her horizons. Not only did she develop new skills, but she also made countless connections with her fellow interns and co-workers.   

“There are so many people and so many moments that I can name with all the staff there,” Carden said. “I definitely would say it turned into a little family towards the end of the summer.”  

Carden’s coworkers provided her with knowledge and guidance, and she brought them new insights in return.

“The value that she brought to the refuge was looking at things with fresh eyes and her enthusiasm, which was one of the highlights for me,” Ware said. “It’s also very inspiring for many of us here to bring in new talent, like Hannah, and know that we’re helping her find her career path, whatever that may be.”

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