Madeleine Partch '21

Saint John's Abbey Arboretum- Student Land Manager


How did you hear about your internship?

I heard about my internship through an Environmental Studies student whose friend completed the same internship the summer before.

How did you obtain the internship?

After finding out about the internship I met with the supervisor (John Geissler) about when he would be hiring for the position and that I was interested in applying. He provided me with the information to apply and said that he was actively hiring. I submitted an application and was interviewed by the supervisor and heard back about the position shortly after.

Describe the responsibilities of your internship.

As a student land manager I was responsible for completing work that fulfilled specific aspects of land stewardship plans, including prevention of deer browsing, oak restoration, and tree trimming. Additionally I began my training to get certified in wildland firefighting, and conducted research and compared data to develop a land stewardship plan.

What were the highlights from your internship?

The highlights of my internship were the physical work, volunteer connections, and seeing projects fulfilled. Being in the field gave me an appreciation of what labor goes into harvesting resources. Working with volunteers was great to have conversation around the work being done and to learn about and connect with other people interested in the same work as me. Finally, seeing the results and understanding the benefits of the work I was doing made it much more motivating to go to work each week.

How did your internship connect (or not) to your coursework?

My internship responsibilities were directly related to lessons and skills discussed in many of my courses. Specifically they connected to my natural science classes that covered information on ecosystem restoration, firefighting basics, and tree identification. While most of the work was focused on the state of natural resources in the Arboretum, I learned how they are utilized by the university and the importance of proper resource management for human use.

How did your internship connect (or not) to your planned career?

My internship connects directly to a career that I am interested in pursuing. I am considering work as a land laborer for the federal government or with ConservationCorps, and the skills I learned as a student land manager are the same skills I would use in many of the potential positions I could have.

What advice do you have for other students seeking internships?

If there is any position or career you think you might be interested in but aren't sure, apply for an internship in that field if you can find one! The only way to know what you do or don't like to do is doing it, and using your internship to try new opportunities helps with the job search after graduation.

Do you have other thoughts about your internship experience that were not addressed above?

Regardless of the challenges of doing an on-site internship during COVID-19, my experience working as a student land manager at St. John's was a very successful and exciting experience!