Mentoring Youth Interns at Minnesota Valley NWR Mentoring Youth Interns at Minnesota Valley NWR
14 June 2022

Mentoring Youth Interns at Minnesota Valley NWR

Hello everyone, my name is Vincent, and I am the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) intern for the summer of 2021 at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (MVNWR). I began my internship on June 2nd, but my situation is unique in that I previously worked an eight-month internship with MVNWR through the end of May 2021. I was excited to be brought on for the summer and for the chance to build upon work I began in my previous internship. 

I collaborated with the refuge’s Internship Coordinator Christopher Dunham in the final weeks of May to help him prepare to incorporate an anti-bias guide, which I developed as a capstone project, into the schedule for the high school interns he is supervising through the summer. The anti-bias guide is a compilation of resources intended to introduce youth interns to concepts related to bias and racism. My personal goal in creating the guide was to help develop a culturally competent and bias cognizant generation of young professionals who will transform workplace culture within the FWS and across other fields. 

The summer internship program Christopher is involved in is the result of a partnership between MVNWR and Students Eagerly Acquiring Knowledge (SEAK), an academic credit program that offers high school students the opportunity to explore the outdoors and learn about careers in the ​natural resources and environmental sciences. Through this program, urban high school youth can expand their networks, conduct informational interviews, and get hands-on public interaction and habitat restoration experiences. 

While the anti-bias guide is not a fundamental pillar of the SEAK youths’ internship at Minnesota Valley NWR, I am excited for them to explore topics that I was not taught about at their age, and I hope to receive feedback that I can use to further improve the guide. In the context of the culturally diverse cohort of interns we are working with, I am hopeful that the anti-bias training will diminish any hesitation they have at pursuing a career with the Fish and Wildlife Service brought on by the fact that its workforce and leadership is overwhelmingly white, cisgender and straight.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Minnesota Valley NWR

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

P: (202) 640-4342