Major: Creative Writing
Ecological Research Intern
Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
Soil Ecology Technician
Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
United States Department of Agriculture
My first internship was in East Bethel, Minnesota, in 2009. We worked on experiments studying biodiversity, climate, production, and soil health. I was part of two experiments: Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) and Biodiversity, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, and Nitrogen (BioCON). Both of these experiments were headed by Dr. David G. Tilman, awarded the International Prize for Biology in 2008.
In 2010, I had my second internship in Miles City, Montana, where I worked at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory for the United States Department of Agriculture. I was a soil ecology technician there working on an independent project. I only worked there for a short time, however I studied infiltration and the Cornell Sprinkle Infiltrometer.
In Minnesota, a graduate student told us at a symposium that "internships are useful for networking and job experience, but they're just as useful for finding out what you don't want to do with your life." While I enjoyed both of my internships, it wasn't until the second year working at Fort Keogh that I realized I didn't want to do ecological research for a career. It took having work experience away from the classroom environment to come to that conclusion.
Since then I've changed my major to Creative Writing, and I couldn't be happier. I'm engaged in my learning in a passionate way I never imagined was possible. I also serve as the Editor in Chief for the Reinhardt University literary magazine, Sanctuary. Three years ago I would have scoffed if someone told me I would be doing English and not biology.
Internships are good for connections, job experience, and a stunning resume, but I would urge anyone to make sure the degree and the work experience they've acquired are worth it. After all, college is a safer trial-and-error zone than the career itself.