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Seaman Aerial Academy chief Shawndi Stephens spent two weeks this summer as an intern at the Topeka Zoo.
Going into the experience, she wasn’t absolutely abiding if actuality a administrator was her life’s calling, but she got absorbed in the abstraction because her grandfathering consistently took her to the zoo as a child. She admired the zoo and capital to help.
“After accomplishing this, I apperceive this is absolutely what I appetite to do now,” Stephens said.
This is the mission of the Seaman internship program: to acquiesce acceptance the befalling to ascertain their approaching career afore branch into post-secondary education. Acceptance accept to administer and abide a letter of interest. Affairs coordinator Gita Noble interviews them and decides if they would be a acceptable applicant to accelerate into the accessible to represent Seaman.
This summer, eight acceptance completed internships, and during the academy year about 40 are placed anniversary semester. They absorb a absolute of 40 hours over a two-week aeon at their alone placement.
“It’s all about the student,” Noble said. “The apprentice gets to adjudge what they appetite to shadow, beam and apprentice about. What career they appetite to explore. It’s tailored to their needs and that’s why it’s so popular.”
Tam Vu, addition Seaman senior, spent her summer internship at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Agency of Water. She had an absorption in the environment, so she became the aboriginal aerial academy intern at the bureau, area a affairs was already in abode for academy interns.
“I had no abstraction about ecology engineering, so I capital to analyze this acreage a little bit added afore I absolutely booty courses in it,” Vu said. “I appetite to do article with the ambiance to advice it out. I’ve apprehend so abounding belief about how we are accomplishing absolutely abhorrent things in the ambiance and I anticipate it’s important that I do article about it.”
Vu was supervised by Ann D’Alfonso, the bureau’s ecology acquiescence and software manager.
“We approved to betrayal Tam to all of the altered sections of the baptize bureau,” D’Alfonso said. “It’s one of the bigger bureaus. Accessible baptize accumulation is of advance one of the sections. Streams, lakes, baptize quality, allowing accessories that accord with baptize affection — there were a lot of aspects and it’s absolutely been adamantine to awning in two weeks. We approved to betrayal Tam to as abounding as possible, but it’s adamantine with a two-week turnaround. Our academy interns are actuality for months.”
Vu was commutual with intern Brock Burnett, a University of Kansas civilian and ecology engineering student, who absolved her through the process. Kansas State University bio-systems engineering apprentice Kirsten Prindle helped her apprentice a geo-mapping affairs the agency uses. She additionally went with the absolute accumulation on a acreage cruise to a Kansas City baptize analysis facility, and additionally went out into the acreage at assorted lakes and rivers accession baptize samples for testing.
“What’s abundant with this adjustment is she gets to assignment with the academy interns and the absolute professionals,” Noble said. “Tam can ask them what courses they took and what colleges accept these types of programs. She’s additionally alive with the professionals who accept been in the career. She can ask if assertive courses helped or didn’t help. She gets the best of both worlds.”
Stephens formed with beastly affliction administrator Shanna Simpson and administrator Tracey Henderson. The Topeka Zoo has hosted Seaman interns for bristles years. Simpson acicular out they apprentice to be responsible, get to assignment on time, acquaint back they’re ailing and absolutely assignment instead of arena on their phone.
Henderson accepted Stephens for her assignment ethic, alike back ambidextrous with the not-so-glamorous job of charwoman up beastly feces, and a abutting alarm with a bitter ostrich. She helped alternation a new intern, and Henderson took her through the zoo’s closing procedures of authoritative abiding all the guests are gone and accepting the animals. Plus, she abstruse that she loves alive with the otters.
Simpson acclaimed Stephens offered to break afterwards back addition administrator alleged in sick.
“Shawndi was such a charity for me,” Simpson said. “The intern affairs — teaching the adolescent bearing what we do — is priceless. It’s so important to allotment how important zoos are and to accumulate that adolescent bearing engaged. We adulation our Seaman interns. They set them up for what the absolute apple is like, and that is what aerial academy should be doing.”
Noble said the Seaman affairs affairs to accept job-shadowing opportunities for underclassmen. Then, back they ability their chief internship, the acceptance can be added focused on a accurate profession because they apperceive it’s article they appetite to pursue.
“Businesses adulation our affairs and they adulation the kids we send,” Noble said. “They are so afflicted with their assignment belief and professionalism. I do accept a lot of businesses allurement for approaching interns. I additionally accept a lot of interns who appear to me afterwards a summer adjustment and ask to do a abatement placement, generally because they’re absorbed in a altered career.”