Location

Green and Gold Room

Event Website

http://uenr.warnercnr.colostate.edu

Start Date

23-3-2012 3:15 PM

End Date

23-3-2012 3:35 PM

Description

Professional internships are a part of many wildlife degree programs. Some wildlife programs require internships while in others they are electives. Regardless of their place in a wildlife curriculum, internships are a valuable source of experience for undergraduate students. Internships are a form of experiential learning where students are exposed to decision-making and management processes. Since 1997, over 100 students in the wildlife science program at Utah State University - Uintah Basin (USU-UB) have participated in an internship program. This program has been funded with over $1 million through the Challenge Cost Share program between USU-UB and the Vernal Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We were interested in how effectively this internship program was for preparing students to become natural resource managers. We searched the literature for characteristics that natural resource managers desired in their employees. We also interviewed natural resource managers about the characteristics they desired in new employees. We then developed a survey based on the results of the literature search and interviews. We administered the survey to former students who had served an internship. We evaluated the results of the survey to determine the ability of internships to prepare students for careers in natural resources management. We also asked students to provide qualitative comments about their experiences. Our results indicate that, based on a broad spectrum of abilities, students were much better prepared to manage natural resources after an internship than before. Students indicated that their internship experiences had profound impacts on their educations and lives. We advocate the use of internships as a way for students to expand their learning beyond the classroom.

Comments

Citation: Etchberger, Rich. 2012. Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Internships for Preparing Natural Resource Students. UENR 9th Biennial Conference. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Plenary/18/

 
Mar 23rd, 3:15 PM Mar 23rd, 3:35 PM

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Internships for Preparing Natural Resource Students

Green and Gold Room

Professional internships are a part of many wildlife degree programs. Some wildlife programs require internships while in others they are electives. Regardless of their place in a wildlife curriculum, internships are a valuable source of experience for undergraduate students. Internships are a form of experiential learning where students are exposed to decision-making and management processes. Since 1997, over 100 students in the wildlife science program at Utah State University - Uintah Basin (USU-UB) have participated in an internship program. This program has been funded with over $1 million through the Challenge Cost Share program between USU-UB and the Vernal Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We were interested in how effectively this internship program was for preparing students to become natural resource managers. We searched the literature for characteristics that natural resource managers desired in their employees. We also interviewed natural resource managers about the characteristics they desired in new employees. We then developed a survey based on the results of the literature search and interviews. We administered the survey to former students who had served an internship. We evaluated the results of the survey to determine the ability of internships to prepare students for careers in natural resources management. We also asked students to provide qualitative comments about their experiences. Our results indicate that, based on a broad spectrum of abilities, students were much better prepared to manage natural resources after an internship than before. Students indicated that their internship experiences had profound impacts on their educations and lives. We advocate the use of internships as a way for students to expand their learning beyond the classroom.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Plenary/18