Reclamation’s Pathways Internship Program provides aspiring students with opportunity to address real-life career challenges

Written by: Doug Hendrix

Following the end-cap ceremony, the Pathways Student interns gathered for a group picture with Regional Director Terry Fulp (center) to celebrate their summer work activities.  Photograph provided by Patti Aaron, Lower Colorado Region.
Following the end-cap ceremony, the Pathways Student interns gathered for a group picture with Regional Director Terry Fulp (center) to celebrate their summer work activities. Photograph provided by Patti Aaron, Lower Colorado Region.
Collegiate students who aspire to operate a hydroelectric powerplant or assist with native species recovery don’t have to wait long to start realizing their career dreams, if they line-up a summer internship opportunity through Reclamation’s Pathways Internship Program. This summer, 11 students from local and distant university locations, such as University of Las Vegas, Utah State University and Ohio State University, got a first-hand opportunity to test their skills and acumen in water management, hydropower generation, species recovery and a myriad of other professional fields as part of the Lower Colorado Region’s (LCR) Pathway Summer Internship program – hosted annually each summer at the Lower Colorado Regional Office and Hoover Dam.

To celebrate the conclusion of this year’s internship program, on Tuesday, July 31, staff from the LCR’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office hosted an end-cap ceremony and tasked each student to deliver a brief presentation profiling the highlights of their summer experience. In delivering their concluding remarks, the students were divided into three core groups, and were encouraged to share their perspectives on how their career aspirations and educational training meshed with the LCR’s core divisions and functional work unit needs. “The beauty of the Pathways Program is that it provides a roadmap for aligning a promising student’s academic preparation to career paths at Reclamation or other federal government employers,” said Human Resource Specialist Anh Rhodes, lead recruiter for the Region. “College students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service following completion of their degree.”

In regaling the highlights of their summer internship, each student emphasized how beneficial it was for them to get real life, hands-on experience while serving in one of Reclamation’s multiple work units or field settings. Virtually every student participating in this year’s program noted that their collegiate courses and instruction provided them with the fundamental skill set to accomplish a task in a virtual environment; while the Reclamation internship program provided them with the opportunity to solve real-life water management, power generation, software modeling and development, species recovery, data management, and related challenges firsthand. During the students’ eight-week internship, the future professionals were taken on an extensive tour of Hoover Dam and got to see first-hand how the dam’s gates, penstocks, generators, control rooms, and other related features operate in unison to produce hydropower and release water downstream. Likewise, students pursuing careers in the IT management or species recovery fields were placed in work units such as the Engineering Services Office, Boulder Canyon Operations Office or in the field with the Multi-Species Conservation Program to take advantage of their educational prowess and training.

Bridging the Generational Gap

As part of each student’s end-cap presentation, the interns were instructed to look around the Regional Office and assess how the workplace environment might be improved if everyone embraced age diversity and celebrated the strengths and life experiences of all of the Regional Office’s multigenerational workers.

Interestingly, most of the students noted that the key for improving or bridging differences amongst the various generations of workers is keeping an open mind. As there has always been tension between the generations, especially in the workplace, the student interns agreed that there is extensive synergy when all workplace generations – seasoned and young alike – work together coherently and collectively to solve everyday problems.

In providing their end-cap presentations, each student intern shared real-life examples and recommended solutions to minimize conflict, miscommunication and wasted energy between the workplace generations. They also explored and provided their personal perspective on what members of each different generation think about their group, how they want other generational workers to view them and what they think about other age groups.

Enrolling in the Pathways Program

Reclamation’s Pathways Program offers promising students a roadmap and network that will help them attain the knowledge, skills and experience required for productive, sustainable careers.

To be eligible to participate in the Program, students must remain in good academic standing (typically maintaining at least a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and above as specified by their educational institution); be at least 16 years of age; a U.S. citizen or U.S. National; and meet the qualification requirements of the position. Following completion of the internship, the students may be converted to a permanent or term position within 120 days of successful completion of the program. Participating in this year’s Pathways Student Internship program with the Lower Colorado Region, were: Austin Donnelly – Brigham Young University, Austin Myers – College Southern Nevada, Emily Swett – University Nevada Reno, Haley Imlay – Utah State University, Tanner Imlay – Utah State University, Borna Majilesi – University Nevada Las Vegas, Jonathon Stauffer – University of Nevada Reno, Kaylee Hall – Southern Utah University, Michael Miranda – University Nevada Las Vegas, Haley Jenkins – Ohio State University, and Megan Morton – University of the Cumberlands, Kentucky.

Published on August 10, 2018