Biosystems Engineering Internship Story: US Forest Service

 intern at work

Ashley Spencer
Biosystems Engineering

Where did you intern?
I interned with the US Forest Service in Fairplay, Colorado. I specifically worked for the South Park Ranger District which manages land on the Pike National Forest.

How did you find and apply for your internship?
I found this internship on Handshake! 

What was the application process like?
For the application, I submitted a resume and 2 letters of recommendation. After that, I interviewed over the phone.

Tell us about your internship experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?
This internship offered a huge variety of work. I worked with botanists, engineers, range technicians, trail building crews, and geologists. One of my projects this summer involved recovering an abandoned 45-year-old plane crash from the forest. We camped in the wilderness and used hand tools to deconstruct the plane and used a string of pack mules to pack out the debris. This was hard, physical work, but it was so rewarding to clear out the crash. I learned a lot about endurance while at work. I also learned more about sustainability and public lands.

In what ways did this internship help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?
This internship showed me what the career world is really like. I learned the expectations that come from having a full-time job. I am glad that I made this commitment and got a taste of the "real world".

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your internships? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?
Honestly, not really. I've only completed my freshman year, so my classes were general. A lot of my peers used knowledge from their more specialized classes to understand some of our work on a deeper level. So, I'm sure, over time, the classes I take will connect with the things I learned during this internship. 

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships like yours?
My advice is to find internships that sound fun! Don't spend a summer doing something just for resume experience. Remember to enjoy your life right now and find reasons other than resume experience to do an internship.