A group shot of the 2023 NC Division of Parks and Recreation Summer Interns

Nature's Trailblazers: The Powerful Impact of the North Carolina State Parks Internship Program

Interns are making the most of their internship experience at the NC Division of Parks and Recreation.

Author: Shelby Perry, Communications Intern

This summer, 15 students were selected for an internship placement with the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. The DPR Internship Program offers a wide range of opportunities, allowing interns to explore different aspects of the organization, from administrative positions to outdoor roles. The program aims to provide valuable learning experiences and mentorship opportunities, preparing young adults for the competitive workforce.

This year's intern group decided to call themselves the "2023 Trailblazers." The name — fitting as North Carolina celebrates the Year of the Trail — represents their bold ambitions and passions for their respective intern roles. Over the past few weeks, the interns have worked on various projects, such as writing public relations content, conducting research on state parks history, developing data applications, assisting human resources staff, managing databases, and performing various park ranger duties. The internship program encourages them to not only learn new skills but to also develop new ideas to contribute to their teams.

Alasia Duncan, an intern with the HR and budget teams, expressed how much she appreciated learning the complexities of hiring processes and employee management.

"I one day hope to pursue a career in human resources, and I am grateful to receive a 'hands-on' experience with the HR team," Alasia said.

In addition to the educational opportunity, these internships have the potential to be life-changing experiences, allowing the participants to determine their future career paths and immerse themselves in organizational culture.

"Working for State Parks has been transformative and has positively impacted my professional development," said Natia Jones, a data analyst intern. "The internship has not only provided valuable skills and knowledge but also fostered confidence and cultural competence among the interns."

Isaiah Walker, an intern working with geographic information mapping systems, praised the efforts of division staff to welcome them and provide career and life guidance.

"Much of the interns' successes can be attributed to the supportive work atmosphere," he said.

The 2023 intern cohort has set a high standard for their goals and accomplishments at the end of the program. They are working to not only excel in their professional roles but also form lasting memories and relationships with mentors and with each other. As "trailblazers," they want to redefine the traditional internship perceptions by becoming pioneers and catalysts for innovation in the division.

In turn, the internship program will provide these young professionals with an impactful experience that will shape their future careers and advance their personal and professional growth.

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