Internship Update – Emily Turpen
June 23, 2020

Hi everyone! My internship has been going great so far! Repairs to a couple of displays in the Playa Classroom have been completed, and I have been working on updating educational presentations about playa ecosystems that will be sent out later this year to schoolteachers and other education connections. Today was also our first Playa Field Day, which was held in Hereford, Texas. We had about fifty people in attendance and our awesome guest speakers presented great information about playa history and impact on the environment. Afterward we all drove out to Garcia Lake near Bootleg, Texas for some first-person experience, and our day ended with lunch at the Bootleg Fire Station! I had a wonderful time listening to experts present and ask intuitive questions and hold discussions while meeting new people and reconnecting with others!

As part of our internships we are challenged to create and accomplish three goals, one in communication, in in leadership, and another in professional networking. My goal for communication is to reach a point where I am more comfortable and confident in front of large groups. This has been a long-term goal that I have been working on for several years. I have gradually gotten better with the more challenges I face, especially through 4-H and college presentations. However, I still often struggle with getting out of my own head and coming up with concise, sensible answers without horrible stuttering or mixing up my words. I intend to interact with people more during Playa Field Days and other events and continuing to work on this goal.

My leadership goal plays off of my communication goal in terms of confidence. For me, a leader is someone who is able to point the way for others, offer advice, and provide backup as needed. I want to be the kind of leader others see as dependable and trustworthy, with the confidence to make decisions.

Finally, my goal for professional networking is to make connections within my career field. Wildlife biology encompasses many aspects of the natural environment, therefore making connections with professionals from other agencies in a variety of fields is incredibly important. I would like to gain professional resources and career opportunities through the people I meet during this internship and continue to gain new knowledge and skill sets wherever my career takes me.