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Career Services

Internships and Field Placements

Lucas Dykstra ’16


Environmental Science


Holland, Mich.

Name of Business/Organization

Pringle Nature Center

Internship Position

Naturalist Intern

Give three words that sum up your internship experience.

Unpredictable, Stretching, Eye-opening

How did you learn about your internship?

“I learned about the internship initially through an email sent out by a professor. I applied for the position in the fall, but my schedule did not allow for it. I visited over the winter and asked if they were still looking for help. Turns out they were!”

Describe your internship.

“My internship as a Naturalist Intern involves setting up, leading, and assisting in programs furthering natural education for children and adults.”

What do you enjoy most about your internship? What are some of the challenges?

“I most enjoy getting to see kids in awe of the world around them. Many kids living in urban areas don’t have a lot of opportunities to get outside and experience natural spaces. It’s great hearing a kid say ‘woah!’ when they learn something new or discover a bug they’ve never seen before. Some of the challenges come from the behind the scenes things. I love getting outdoors, which is one of the reasons I chose this internship. However, there is a lot of work to be done that is not directly teaching kids or preparing programs. Those times can get a little monotonous and repetitive.”

How does your internship fit with your long-term career goals?

“It doesn’t exactly, which is something I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t accept it. I love kids, sharing knowledge, and spending time outdoors. However, having been a part of this internship for two months I don’t see myself going into environmental education. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to participate in natural education, but I don’t think it is a field I would want to be in full time.”

During your internship search, how did you make yourself stand out to employers?

“Showing initiative. Simply reading a resume and seeing your work experience doesn’t give an employer a good idea of who you are and how you might fit into the position. Being willing to put in some extra effort to make yourself stand out goes a long way.”

What did you find to be the most helpful during your internship search process?

“Networking! Being able to talk to potential employers in person is vital. The more you can get to know people in an organization or field you’re interested in, the better chance you have of getting your desired position.”

Do you have any tips to share with other students about your experience?

You will learn something about yourself and your future in nearly any internship. Having had three very different internships, I now have a much better idea of what career I’m looking for in the future. Don’t be scared of accepting an internship that might stretch your skills or that you feel under-qualified for. If it’s in a field that interests you, go for it!

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