Kelly Beckman, Amanda Macallister, and Jessica Macallister (College Park High School – The Woodlands) and Prianna Pathak (The John Cooper School -The Woodlands)
Possible future careers in science, environmental education, ecology, natural resources, and forestry attracted these four soon-to-be 12th graders to work as interns through the Education for Tomorrow Alliance (EfTA) at the William Goodrich Jones State Forest this summer.
Both Amanda and Jessica Macallister’s interest in forestry was peaked from their involvement at the Science and Technology Academy which conducted research and data collection at the William Goodrich Jones State Forest.
Prianna Pathak’s curiosity in natural science grew from her being part of the winning EnviroThon team at her high school while Kelly Beckman’s inquisitiveness led her to desire a better understanding of how humans relate to nature and the environment.
The Student Internship Program is designed to give students real-world experiences while they are still in high school. During the summer preceding their senior year, students work 80 hours alongside mentors at local businesses to better understand their profession of interest. Each year approximately 100 students are placed in a variety of positions at some 75 businesses and organizations in Montgomery county. The program concludes at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in a half-day development conference for students, after which they are escorted by their business host to the June South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber Monthly Business Luncheon. Participants may use their experience for academic credit or as part of a project for the Texas Distinguished Achievement Program Designation.
John Warner, urban district forester and Dawn Vollmer, forester, will be mentoring these students. Interns will be exposed to a diversity of program areas, partnerships and valuable networking skills that is unique to the Conroe District. Working alongside Texas Forest Service in this distinctive program are partners and mentors Tamberly Conway with Amigos del Bosque/Urban Connections at Stephen F. Austin State University and US Forest Service; Diana Foss, Texas Parks &Wildlife; and Teri McArthur and Anita Ashford with Texas Master Naturalists.
According to John Warner, “The goal of our partnership with EfTA is to expose these interns to as much these professions have to offer during their limited time with us. They will be working alongside some of the best urban and wildlife biologists, urban and community foresters, and environmental educators in the state and assisting in community outreach programming to minority and underserved populations.” For more information about Education for Tomorrow Alliance visit www.efta-us.org.