Fisheries and Wildlife Success Stories
Through an internship with the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Southwest Regional Office in Ligonier, Pa., California University sophomore Tim Kimmel is rapidly building many career opportunities.
The internship was arranged through Cal U biological and environmental sciences faculty member Dr. David Argent, who has had six of his students serve internships with the Game Commission since arriving at Cal U in 2000. Kimmel's internship is under the auspices of Joe Stefko, Wildlife Education Supervisor of the PGC's Southwest Region.
This past summer, Kimmel trapped five different bears himself, ranging from a number of different weights. Besides bears, Kimmel has done deer fetus studies where he took road kill deer and opened them up to remove the fawns. He and other interns then weigh and measure the fawns to gage the mating season. Kimmel has also participated in controlled burns, where parts of a forest are burned to bring up undergrowth. A considerable amount of Kimmel's efforts this summer were spent performing and teaching others about radio telemetry.
"This is how we track the bears during the winter months while they're hibernating," Kimmel said. "Radio telemetry is pretty much giving the bears their own radio station is how we explain it. They each have their own radio frequency, so when we dial in, and we're in their area, that particular signal will beep, because the bears have collars with transmitters around their necks. That signal will beep, and then we can go find that bear and see if she is doing okay. We only collar the females."
While the fieldwork provides invaluable hands-on experience unattainable in a classroom setting, Argent believes the internship strengthens other attributes essential for a successful career. "Certainly there is no better training for life than life, but this is a very public field," Argent said. "Having the ability to interact with the public one-on-one is tremendous, and I believe it is a very valuable skill to learn.
Kimmel is already arranging an internship for next summer with a corporation called Delta Water Fowl in North Dakota and is also a committee member with Whistling Wings of Western Pennsylvania, a branch chapter of Delta Water Fowl, located in Greensburg.
"This internship is already the best thing I have ever done, and I cannot tell you how many different people I have met and have contacts with now," said Kimmel. "I believe in my field it is going to come down to who I know to get into these different places. I don't want to wait and do things my junior and senior year.
Oftentimes it is said that it's never too late to change or start a new career. Cal U's Tim Kimmel is proving that it's never too early either."
Ashley Isiminger - Pennsylvania Game Commission
INTERNSHIP TITLE: Wildlife Education Intern
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES/DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
Teach and inform the public and children about PA wildlife and the environment.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR INTERNSHIP?
My advisor recommended the position.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR INTERNSHIP?
We participate in black bear research.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS INTERNSHIP TO SOMEONE ELSE?
A QUOTE FROM YOU REGARDING YOUR INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE?
"Interning with the PA Game Commission has been a rewarding and memorable experience. It has given me a realistic view of the environment studies field of work."
Tyler Brown - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Internship Title: Engineering, Scientific and Technical Intern
How did you find your internship?
I was informed of the position by a friend who in an employee at the California DEP Office.
What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
I assist Mining Specialists with multiple projects using ESRI ArcInfo and ArcGIS 10. We work for Mine Subsidence Insurance, a nonprofit organization which provides subsidence insurance. We also aid engineers in determining if structures are undermined and if so what mine it was, how long ago it was mined and how much cover is currently present. I also have the opportunity to go into the field and assist Surface Mine Conservation Inspectors with stream monitoring and other restoration and mitigation project monitoring.
What is the best part of your internship?
My co-workers are one of the best parts of this position. All of the employees within MSI are very friendly and patient with me if I have any questions about anything. It makes for a great, productive work environment. Also, the amount of opportunities available to gain experience in multiple fields within the DEP are is another great aspect of this position.
What are the top two things you have learned?
I have gained a significant amount of experience with ESRI ArgGIS by completing multiple projects using this software. Also, I have been exposed to a significant amount of information dealing with the mining and gas industry.
Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
Absolutely, this is a great experience and opportunity to work with professionals and gain a significant amount of knowledge.
A quote from you regarding your internship experience?
“I am incredibly grateful for the significant amount of experience I have gained while interning with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. I feel it would be hard to gain the diverse amount of experience I did during my time with the Department.”