Southern Utah University’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Collaborating with agency partners including the U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Paiute tribe, the co-op has placed more than 1,300 interns in addition to facilitating employment and volunteer opportunities.
Established in 2007 when it placed its first 12 students in paid internships, the IIC has evolved to reach into a variety of disciplines. More than 200 internships are now offered each year in subjects ranging from accounting to communication to zoology.
When asked about the benefits of the program Brian Raper, IIC partnership director, said, “No matter what a student’s major is, we can offer an opportunity that is a stepping stone to a future career.”
Internships provide students with opportunities to explore career paths, boost resumes, gain connections, find mentors and build leadership skills. When applying for career positions, internships often help students stand out from their competition.
Phenix Johnson, a junior outdoor recreation major from Las Vegas, Nevada, experienced an internship with Cedar Breaks National Monument last summer and discovered a new perspective on the National Park System.
“I loved working 8-hours a day outside interacting with park visitors at Cedar Breaks,” said Johnson. “I was able to see first-hand what it’s like to be a park ranger and it’s exactly the career I want to pursue. With the internship, I now have great connections within the NPS system making it easier when I apply for jobs after graduation. I would recommend working with the IIC to anyone.”
“Our goal is to offer educational opportunities that connect students to their communities, the natural world, and to their future careers,” said Bridge Eastep, SUU director of outdoor engagement and IIC co-founder. “If my students are successful, I feel successful.”
Today, the IIC is expanding to support youth camps reaching more than 400 pre-collegiate students annually. Youth ages 16 and over can now qualify for opportunities with agency partners.
“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished for our community and for the students,” Raper said. “Over the next 10 years, I would like to see us gain a larger presence on campus, in the community, and in the region.”
Public Lands Employment Day is February 15. SUU students are invited to meet IIC agency partners and learn about internship opportunities for the coming year. Information tables and representatives will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sharwan Smith Student Center ballroom.
For more information about IIC, contact (435) 586-1983, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.