by Joe Putzer, ’07
As SCA recruiter Beth McCarthy scurries across the campus of Iowa State University, the cold Midwest wind blows across her face, freezing her omnipresent smile. She squints her watery eyes at a campus map and after a moment of head turning, locates her building.
In an instant, motivated by the desire for warmth, she finds her way into a classroom filled with ISU students enjoying their college-style breakfast of flavored coffee and various bakery treats.
While the students slump in their seats for what they believe will be a sleep-inducing lecture, Beth enthusiastically begins her presentation and, to the students’ surprise, piques their interest. It’s obvious that Beth is genuinely fired-up about SCA and its mission. Her authenticity comes through as this three-time alumna talks about her own experiences and tells her listeners how they, too, could jump into “the best thing they’ve ever done.”
Over the past few weeks, Beth has visited half a dozen other campuses as she travels throughout the Midwest. She visits about twenty-eight schools every year to give students the opportunity to spend the summer mapping Alaska with GIS equipment, providing interpretive services for the National Park Service, or doing research in many different fields of interest. Beth’s SCA outreach to these students gives them opportunities to advance their skills and careers.
A fringe benefit of the travel is the chance to explore many areas of the Midwest. She has gaped at the largest grasshoppers she’s ever seen at the University of Illinois and gazed through the glass of the Bowling Green herpitatrium where she claims to have used her Harry Potter-like ability of communicating with snakes to encourage one to join SCA as an intern.
Beth notes that many potential interns fear their skill set does not match requirements of SCA. Beth easily quells those reservations by explaining that it just takes a little zeal. “Some applicants think they might not have the skills to be a part of SCA”, Beth explains. “But all it takes is a passion for service.” When Beth returns to campuses she has visited the previous year, many alumni approach her to share stories of their dynamic SCA experiences - a reward Beth truly relishes and incorporates in her presentations.
Beth’s desire to brave the elements and reptiles to talk to faculty and students about internship possibilities is not motivated by a penchant for travel, the winters of the Midwest, or simply her convivial nature. SCA is what fuels Beth’s motivation. Undaunted by fatigue or discouragement, Beth’s promotion of the tangible and proactive mission of SCA not only advances the cause of conservation and students lives, but also gives her nomadic school-to-school existence great meaning. Beth considers herself fortunate and feels that, thanks to her experiences as both an SCA alumna and recruiter everyone should be jealous of her role as Midwest recruiter.
Beth and the other SCA recruiters are available, when they pause their nomadic lifestyles, at SCA headquarters in Charlestown, NH and on the web at www.thesca.org/roadshow.
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