This was my first internship and it was a big step from taking what I had learned in classes to actually applying it to building reviews.
How did you find your internship and what was the hiring process like? I found out about the internship through my department’s weekly newsletter. The application/interview process was pretty straight forward. After an online application, and initial interview, I was given a list of three parks and asked to rank my preferences. From there I had a phone interview with the Chief Ranger at my number 1 ranked park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and I was offered the position after that second interview.
How would you describe your internship experience: What problem/need were you working to solve? My experience was a mix between office work and field work. In the beginning, I updated the Structural Fire Management Plan for the park. From there, I moved into building inspections. Some I could drive or walk to while others I had to hike multiple miles to get to. Each of the buildings posed different challenges, buildings where fire engines wouldn’t be able to reach them because it has to be hiked to, or that the building is historic and you don’t want to damage it by attempting to wall-mount fire extinguishers. For the last week of my internship, our park had safety week where I got to assist in the classroom portion and practical demonstration about the proper use of portable fire extinguishers.
What's the biggest challenge you encountered during your internship? I think the biggest challenge I encountered during this internship would be my lack of experience prior to this internship. This was my first internship and it was a big step from taking what I had learned in classes to actually applying it to building reviews. Luckily, I was working with a great team of people who were able to answer my questions so that I could do the best job I could.
Would you do this internship again? Why or why not? I would 100% do this internship again. I learned so much during the 10 weeks and I felt this internship was different from other typical engineering internships. The unique location and large amount of outdoor work were an added bonus.