SCA is conducting its 2016 Career Discovery Intern Program (CDIP) orientation this week with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) just outside of New Orleans. Thirty-eight students from a range of backgrounds have come together to explore FWS careers, team up with agency mentors, and prepare for their three-month internships later this summer.
“This group of students is particularly passionate about conservation,” reports SCA Recruiting Coordinator Alvi Seda. “Their schedule has been packed with activities and the students have been fully engaged in trainings, often working twelve-hour days without any hesitation.”
Throughout the week, CDIP members have rotated through various introductory projects including invasive species mitigation, fire management, habitat restoration, endangered species monitoring, visitor services and refuge management. Participants were also presented with different problem scenarios before breaking into groups to develop response plans.
“I personally observed students working into the late night hours using maps and other resources to develop solutions, even though they had to be up in a few hours for another busy day,” says Alvi.
A highlight of the training was an address by Dr. Mamie Parker, a former FWS assistant director. She offered an inspiring and personal look at her life’s journeys, from summer intern to becoming the first African American woman in FWS leadership. Dr. Parker encouraged the group to take risks, stretch themselves every day, and take care of each other.
SCA and FWS launched the CDIP initiative in 2008 to provide students with a strong career track and to forge a more inclusive FWS workforce. The program has earned The Wildlife Society’s Diversity Award, and CDIP alumni are now working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies nationwide.