by Beth Erdey, ’06, SCA Staff
It’s 2:30 AM and I am awakened to the screeching sound of my alarm clock. One can only hit the snooze button so many times before the alarm clock will simply shut off; I am nearing that threshold.
I groggily slink out of bed, blindly fumble for my glasses, pull on sweats and a fleece, and sculpt my unruly coif into something other than Medusa’s twin. I’ve got a 6 AM flight out of Bradley International Airport (CT) which thankfully does not require any sort of glamour. I check myself in the mirror, wince, grab my handy rolling luggage, and I am off. Beth Erdey, this is your life as an SCA Recruiter.
The notion of becoming an SCA recruiter first entered my head in the winter of 2007. Recruiting Manager, Patty Holland, was visiting the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, where I was in the last semester of my Masters in History. She had contacted SCA alums at Eau Claire to let us know about her visit and I ended up presenting to a full lecture hall about my SCA internship at the Big Hole National Battlefield in the summer of 2006.
I didn’t hear from Patty again until April when she emailed me the job posting for the recruiting position. Graduation was closing in and I had only vague ideas of what I would do with myself after May. I got my resume and cover letter together and sent it out to Charlestown, NH. After a series of phone calls, a trip to scope out the Connecticut River Valley, and a crazy move, here I am today, the Western Recruitment Representative. The way I see it, as a recruiter, I’m able to work for a great non-profit organization, one which embodies ideals of conservation and public service, and I’m able to give back to SCA and hopefully encourage students to apply for an SCA internship that was as great as mine.
I’ve only been at SCA since July, with one recruiting trip under my belt, but it’s been an adventure. In my first trip out west (by the way I LOVE THE ROCKIES!!!!) I was able to meet with literally hundreds of great university faculty, staff, and students to get out the word about SCA internships. Now that I think about it, the amount of planning and preparation that goes into a campus visit is crazy. We start out a month ahead of time, emailing faculty, students, applicants and alumni to let them know we’ll be there. We then make phone calls to career service departments and other academic departments and professors to arrange for class visits, meetings, and informational sessions.
This brings us to the actual campus visit. I like to think of visits like a sort of mission/challenge. After finding parking (which is ungodly difficult on campuses) I head out with my map and figure out where I need to be, FAST. My days are filled with class presentations, meeting with faculty and staff, talking to students, all the while telling them about SCA, what we do, and what an SCA internship can do for them. I am a master of talking to strangers.
When I’m talking to students and faculty, I give them the basic info about SCA internships, describing the expense-paid part, academic credit options, Americorps awards, and all of the personal and professional benefits of serving as an SCA intern. I think the best presentations are those where I can show students pictures of other SCA interns in the field – holding monster sockeye salmon, sifting through dirt at a dig site, hiking through forests GPS unit in hand – the list could go on forever. Common responses include: “That looks so cool!” “I can really do this?!” “I can get credit for this?!” and so on and so forth. Then, like clockwork, university faculty and professors who are familiar with SCA talk about others who have done SCA internships and what great experiences those students had during their internships. When I’m on a campus, the positive reputation of SCA is definitely present, which makes my work that much easier and enjoyable.
And it never fails that I run into SCA alums on campuses. They know that we’re coming and many of them will bend over backwards to set us up with professors and other contacts on campus. After we talk for awhile, we always seem to arrive at the same conclusion, that our internship was great and that we’d do it again in a heartbeat. Which, being out on the road, and promoting internships and finding out about cool new positions, makes going back to the office in New Hampshire a bit more difficult. Let’s see, which would you rather – the Charlestown office or an architectural survey in historic Philadelphia? Tough one. Anyway, SCA alums – we’re everywhere – and for that I’m thankful because the nomadic life of a recruiter can get a bit lonely at times.
I think that about covers it, life on the road, recruiting for SCA. The days are long, and things get hectic at times, but the travel is great and the end goal even better – to recruit the nation’s next leaders in conservation.
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