With only three days of classes remaining this spring, F&ES masters students are preparing to embark on summer internship and research experiences that will take them all over the country, and all over the world. Incoming students often wonder what sort of agencies, organizations, and firms F&ES students intern with and how they go about securing their internship. I hope that sharing my own experience will help to shed some light on this process.

Next month, I will be heading to Apia, Samoa to spend ten weeks interning with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP). SPREP is an intergovernmental organization charged with the protection and sustainable development of the region’s environment. I will be working in SPREP’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Division helping to develop a strategy to assist countries and communities in enhancing the management of marine invasive species in protected areas.

I found my internship with the help of F&ES’s Career Development Office. Last year, SPREP hosted their first Yale intern. They loved having a Yale intern in Apia and reached out to the CDO looking for another F&ES intern or two to spend the summer there. The CDO hosted a Skype session with the folks at SPREP. As part of that session, a current F&ES student and former SPREP intern spoke about her internship experience and life in Samoa. After hearing about the great opportunities SPREP had to offer, I decided to apply.

The CDO helps students to find summer placements in a number of ways. First, they maintain an up-to-date job and internship postings list on their career-oriented website, FESNext. In addition, they host a number of career-related events throughout the year. For example, earlier this year they held a career session with the Fish & Wildlife Service. As part of that program, I was able to set up an informational interview with FWS staff. In addition, I attended several sessions where current second year masters students were on hand to answer questions and provide a candid critiques of their summer internship experiences at a variety of organizations. Look out for emails throughout the year announcing these sorts of events! Of course, the CDO is also available to help with resume, cover letter, and internship application preparation.

I am looking forward to spending my next few months in Samoa and love hearing about all the amazing places my fellow foresters will be interning and conducting research this summer. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the internship experience at F&ES (!