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The Benefits of Hosting a High School Intern, by Dave Theobald

Thu, Aug 11, 2016 Community voices

Carlos M. is a junior in high school, and has worked as an intern at Conservation Science Partners, a non-profit science organization in Fort Collins. He has been assisting in a variety of tasks, but predominantly has helped us to build a database of wildlife crossing structures (e.g., wildlife overpass and underpasses). Carlos has excelled beyond my expectations — generating 2/3 of the records in the database as well as making maps of them, which I featured in my presentation at a professional society conference last week. Beyond the products of his efforts, his quiet but strong presence in our small office (we have ~6 employees) has been powerful. His basic and appropriate questions have forced me to consider a broader context for our work, to think more inclusively, and to be grounded in a clear articulation of why we want to do a particular task. The other day Carlos asked me how to change the colors of icons on a map — I honestly didn’t know how and told him gently: “I really don’t know — figure it out”. An hour later he had tapped a variety of resources, answered his question, and had already moved on to 3 other changes on the map when I caught up with him again. His curiosity and ease in learning new things are infectious.