Nate’s Wildlife Biology Internship: 5 Key Lessons
Nate, a rising senior at Milton Hershey School, is getting a glimpse inside the world of wildlife biology this summer. He’s interning for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission where he is learning from a professional biologist who patrols the Susquehanna River, tests and samples water quality, and collects data and analyzes fish populations.
Follow Nate’s internship journey as he gains hands-on experience that will impact his future career and learns five key lessons.
1. He loves hands-on learning.
“I’m a student and I immerse myself in everything I can. I’m taking AP Biology next year, and I’ve taken Honors Biology when I was in 10th grade. I also [participate in] the statewide Envirothon competition … so I feel like I’ve read all these books and I have all this knowledge.
But when I actually get in the field, I learn that I know nothing—it’s all brand new. There’s a whole new world of ideas and thoughts behind everything I didn’t know existed. It has definitely opened my mind.”
2. He grew up in Maine and wants to share his knowledge of the outdoors with others.
“I grew up in Maine, so for me, I’ve always been involved [in the outdoors] since I was a little kid. I would fish with my dad, or he would take me turkey hunting. I loved it. My community was really involved in the environment.
When I came to Pennsylvania and met a lot of kids who had [different backgrounds], I wanted to figure out how I could share my knowledge. I just want to preserve [the environment] because I know some people don’t realize the effects we make when we build new buildings and cause habitat loss. A lot of people just don’t see it, so it doesn’t cross their minds.”
3. He needs to be comfortable with different responsibilities—including public speaking.
“Getting to work with a [fishery biologist] who has made his way up the ladder has really helped me. He talks to me about how there is a lot of public speaking involved, which is good to know because I wouldn’t have figured that out. There’s also a lot of math and hands-on work involved. You need to be a ‘jack of all trades’ as they say. You do a lot of your own welding, maintenance repairs, and vehicle repairs. Learning all of this is helpful.”
4. He’s learning how to set goals.
“This internship gives me a glimpse at what I want in a future career. There’s college, but you need real-life experience, too—this is giving me that.
After high school, I plan to attend a four-year college [to study] wildlife management or wildlife biology. My dream would be to become a wildlife biologist or a fishery biologist. Both of them appeal to me, and both of them carry the same level of pride.”
5. He’s extremely passionate about his future career.
“I had the opportunity to work with the Fish and Boat Commission, and I took it. Every opportunity I get will lead me one step closer to where I want to be. When [employers] look at a resume, they can see that you got a 4.0 GPA, they can see that you were involved in sports, but they also want to see that you were serious about your career. That’s why I get involved in as many environmental things as possible.
“When they look at that, even if I don’t have a 4.0, they’re going to see that I have experience and I know what I’m talking about. [I want them] to know I’m serious, and I’ve shown that with my history.”