Annual Intern and Fellow Network Day

It can be difficult to navigate the world during a pandemic, especially for college students. However, that did not stop nine Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) interns to persevere through the challenging times and move closer to their goals. DNR held their annual Intern and Fellow Network Day virtually on July 28 for a day to connect and learn more about DNR.

The event took place to celebrate National Intern Day, a day created to encourage future leaders. A total of nine interns, based in areas from the PNW to the east coast, attended the event. Interns ranged from communications, forestry, aquatics, engineering, and workplace culture and development. The all-day event began with opening acknowledgements from Chase Rother, a DNR outreach and development specialist, to thank WCD employees who planned the event and to welcome the interns. The day then kicked off with an icebreaker activity for interns to meet one another and to create a comfortable environment. After the opening statements and icebreaker, Eliseo Juarez, DNR director of equity and environmental justice, was the “Brunch and Learn” speaker. Juarez gave a presentation on environmental justice and environmental trauma, explained and how to identify the difference between the two in the workplace.

Next, former DNR interns who are now DNR staff provided current interns professional advice and knowledge about how to make their internship beneficial, and gave them the opportunity to ask questions regarding their careers.

The afternoon concluded with a leadership panel. During this portion of the day, DNR managers shared their story about the path they took to attain their position and also shared advice for going into the workforce.

Advice from the leadership panel included:

•  It’s important to not lose sight of your soft skills and continue to develop them, they are just as important to have as the knowledge you’ve gained. Soft skills can be described as communication skills, work ethic, critical thinking, and much more.

•  Don’t stress too much about the future. It’s important to be where you are now, and not worry about where you think you are supposed to be.

•  You don’t have to be like everyone else.

Staff participants for Intern and Fellow Network Day included: Dale Mix, division manager for engineering and general services; Kristen Ohlson-Kiehn, conservation recreation and transactions manager; Jesse Steele, district manager for Pacific Cascade and Northwest regions; Thomas Gorman, aquatics resource manager; Andra Nordin, property and acquisition specialist; Kayla Swerin, natural resource specialist; Lucky Sisouvong, internal communications and employee engagement specialist; Garren Andrews, natural resource specialist.

Find out more about internship opportunities at DNR.

For job postings, visit here.

Article by Britnie Monaghan, communications intern.