SUU outdoor internship program celebrates 10 years

Graphic courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

CEDAR CITY Southern Utah University students interested in learning more about possible career opportunities as a paid intern are invited to attend Public Lands Employment Day on the Cedar City campus Wednesday.

Southern Utah University’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year by offering information tables manned by representatives from agency partners who will explain more about internship opportunities for the coming year.

“No matter what a student’s major is, we can offer an opportunity that is a stepping stone to a future career,” Internship Cooperative partnership director Brian Raper said.

Some of the agencies scheduled to meet with students Wednesday are the U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management and Paiute tribe.

The co-op has placed more than 1,300 interns in addition to facilitating employment and volunteer opportunities.

Established in 2007 when it placed its first 12 students in paid internships, the Internship Cooperative has evolved to reach into a variety of disciplines. More than 200 internships are now offered each year in subjects ranging from accounting to communication to zoology.

Internships provide students with opportunities to explore career paths, boost resumes, gain connections, find mentors and build leadership skills. When applying for career positions, internships often help students stand out from their competition.

Phenix Johnson, a junior outdoor recreation major from Las Vegas, Nevada, experienced an internship with Cedar Breaks National Monument last summer and discovered a new perspective on the National Park System.

“I loved working eight hours a day outside interacting with park visitors at Cedar Breaks,” Johnson said. “I was able to see firsthand what it’s like to be a park ranger and it’s exactly the career I want to pursue. With the internship, I now have great connections within the NPS system, making it easier when I apply for jobs after graduation. I would recommend working with the IIC to anyone.”

The internship program’s goal is to connect students with their future careers.

“Our goal is to offer educational opportunities that connect students to their communities, the natural world, and to their future careers,” SUU director of outdoor engagement and IIC co-founder Bridge Eastep said. “If my students are successful, I feel successful.”

The International Internship Cooperative is expanding to support youth camps reaching more than 400 pre-collegiate students annually. Youth ages 16 and over can now qualify for opportunities with agency partners.

“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished for our community and for the students,” Raper said. “Over the next 10 years, I would like to see us gain a larger presence on campus, in the community and in the region.”

Information tables and representatives will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sharwan Smith Student Center ballroom in the middle of the SUU campus, 351 W. University Blvd., Cedar City.

For more information about IIC, contact 435-586-1983, or email iic@suu.edu.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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