EAST LANSING, MI
While other students are spending their summers relaxing in the sun, Hollie Whitmire is busy at work juggling multiple projects as an intern for the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts.
On any given day, Whitmire can be planning for an important MACD conference, publishing newsletters, putting together a high school science program or sitting in on meetings with the House of Representatives.
She is one of 12 students at Michigan State University admitted into the Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars Program. The program is open to graduate and undergraduate students focusing on natural resource management, agriculture, environmental issues and policy making.
The objective of the Glassen Scholars Program is to offer students exposure to policymaking and management concerning Michigan's natural resources, conservation, agriculture and the environment.
As a Glassen scholar, Whitmire was required to take a senior-level natural resources policy class and complete the 12-week summer internship program. Each scholar has been matched with governmental and nongovernmental organizations or businesses that are integrally involved with or have an impact on Michigan's natural resources.
"I have gained a lot of hands-on experience" Whitmire said. "I have sat in on both the House of Representatives and the Senate. I don't walk out of my job at the end of day without learning at least three new things. I thought just finishing my junior year would lend me enough knowledge; however, I have gotten firsthand experience in so many different areas already that I realize there's a huge difference between reading a textbook and getting out there.
"Being a Glassen Scholar and an intern for MACD has opened my eyes to the endless amount of opportunities available here in Michigan. I've quickly come to realize that all of these issues are a lot more complicated than face value. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into protecting and saving our environment and natural resources."
The Hal and Jean Glassen Memorial Foundation funds the internships, which end Aug. 16. The program is housed in the MSU Executive in Residence Program. By combining classroom knowledge with career-building skills, students are not only working as full-time interns with these organizations, but they are also enrolled in a course that includes field trips and other activities to augment their practical experiences.
"The Glassen board members and I consider this program a valuable adjunct to the students' scholarly learning at MSU," said Tom Huggler, foundation president. "We are thrilled to be in on the ground floor of such an exciting venture."
In addition to the support from the Glassen Foundation, this year's internship sponsors include the Boone and Crockett Club, MSU Extension, Ducks Unlimited, the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.
After Whitmire graduates next spring, she hopes to apply the knowledge she has acquired through the Glassen scholars program to work with governmental renewable energy.
"I see the inside of politics and really enjoy it," Whitmire said. "I can't wait to live out my passion like I see so many people do and hopefully make a difference for Michigan."
MSU's Glassen scholars are listed below followed by their major and the organization they are interning with.
·Jordan Altobelli, a senior fisheries and wildlife major, is completing his internship with Trout Unlimited.
·David Barkley,a senior forestry major from Jackson, is completing his internship with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
·Gage Bowman,a senior political theory and constitutional democracy major, is completing his internship with the DNR Legislative Division.
·Emily Caretti,a sophomore fisheries and wildlife major, is completing her internship with the DNR Wildlife Division.
·Krista Hubbard has a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and agriscience. Hubbard is completing her internship with the DNR Wildlife Division.
·Kyle Johnson has a bachelor's degree in international relations. Johnson is completing his internship with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
·Aaron Morehead,a senior criminal justice major, is completing his internship with Ducks Unlimited.
·Jacob Nave, a junior fisheries and wildlife major, is completing his internship with the USDA Wildlife Services.
·Joseph Presgrove,a senior fisheries and wildlife major, is completing his internship with the National Wild Turkey Federation.
·Brooke Ritter,a senior Lyman Briggs zoology major, is completing her internship with the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.
·Michael VandeGuchte, a sophomore fisheries and wildlife major, is completing his internship with the Boone and Crockett Club.
·Hollie Whitmire,a senior environmental studies and agriscience major, is completing her internship with the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts.