Pikas in Grand Teton

NPS Academy – Summer Experiences in the Field

The NPS Academy introduces diverse college students to a range of career paths within the National Park Service through seminars, workshops, field trips, and recreational activities. A spring break orientation in Grand Teton and 12-week summer internships in national parks across the country give these career-minded participants valuable on-the-job training. Program mentors help students explore potential NPS jobs and provide guidance as they pursue careers in conservation.


The NPS Academy participants listening intently to Vicky Mates, chief of interpretation and partnerships for GTNP, during their spring break orientation in Grand Teton.

Our current NPS Academy students are now in the internship phase of the program! We continue to receive updates from participants about the valuable and unique experiences that they are having in the field. These young people are not only spending each day outside in some of the most beautiful parks in the country; they are also gaining critical life skills that will help them prepare for their futures.

Daniel Agudero is working at Colter Bay in Grand Teton for the season. Here is Daniel in his own words reflecting on his internship thus far:

I am really loving my stint here at GTNP for the summer. I’m working as a ranger intern at Colter Bay. My duties are many which I enjoy. Apart from working in the visitor center and interacting with visitors, I also do ranger led programs. The ranger programs that I teach are Teton Topics, the Swan Lake hike, a presentation about Celebrating Wilderness and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and lastly I do the ranger campfire programs.

Daniel Agudelo dinosaur fossil photo

Daniel’s model skeleton of the Wyoming state dinosaur that he uses as a teaching tool during his Teton Topics ranger program.

What is cool about this is that we aren’t treated as interns, but rather as rangers. We have a lot of trust being bestowed on us. This is vital for a successful and enjoyable work experience. I’m currently a student majoring in Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan, so one of my favorite programs is Teton Topics because we get to talk about whatever we want. And for me, my program is about the State Dinosaur. The campfire program I do is also one of my favorites because I talk about the creation of the North Star as a myth from the Blackfoot Indian tribes.

Grecia Nunez has taken her experience in Grand Teton from this spring and is now interning for the summer in Yellowstone National Park. Here Grecia is in her own words on working in Yellowstone this summer:

My name is Grecia Nuñez I am from Las Cruces, NM. I am currently a Student Conservation Association (NPS Academy) intern with the Yellowstone National Park’s Youth Conservation Corps. This internship is full of new experiences and challenges. I have been trained on trail work, pika and dragonfly surveys, and leadership skills to name a few. I am passionate about working with youth and this internship allows me to be exposed to how a youth program is managed.

Grecia Nunez Pika research

Grecia and her pika research team!

Thanks to Daniel, Grecia, and all NPS Academy participants for their hard work this summer! To stay up to date on all of the NPS Academy updates follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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