From their perspective: MN DNR summer interns share their experiences

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The Minnesota DNR is currently accepting applications for their summer internship program. Each intern will get paid $15 an hour and obtain college credit as part of their internship.

“For an intern, it really is a way for them to expand on what they’re learning in the classroom and to really put their education into practice,” said Hiring Coordinator Becky Keller. “We’re really hoping to give them a valuable experience that will help them to really kind of take their education and apply it to the working world and in an opportunity to build their professional networking within the DNR.”

There are positions in a variety of different fields, such as communications, forestry, and fisheries. 

“I’ve had the privilege of having two internships with the Minnesota DNR. The first one was in 2016, out of Hutchinson, where I worked on pretty much the majority of my time on the Minnesota River,” said former intern Brian Glasow. “Prior to that experience, I only really knew about fishing lakes. I didn’t know anything about rivers or the species within the river. So that really broadened my horizons and exposed me to a lot of diverse fish species which I had never known existed. So that was really awesome because it just kind of fueled the passion even more.”

Glasow’s second internship was in 2018. 

“That was out of the Saint Paul office, and again it was on the river,” said Glasow. “And that was monitoring for invasive species, primarily invasive bighead, silver and grass carp. And again, I just got to see more and more cool, diverse fish and just spend time on the water, it just was incredible.”

Charles Vaughan has also interned for two summers in fisheries, once in 2021 and again last summer. 

“The first internship one was mostly made up of survey and the catfish populations in the Minnesota River. The Minnesota River has some pretty prolific fishing opportunities and catfish populations,” said Vaughan. “That was really cool. A lot of it is good internship material to get someone started. It’s really fun because you get to go out every day and you know, wrestle with giant flathead catfish, and you get to learn how to use different field techniques, handling boats, trailer maintenance, and spending every day on the river is quite nice.”

After his first summer, Vaughan decided to apply for another MN DNR internship in 2022.

“I wanted to learn about invasive carp and invasion ecology, which is fisheries related. I just feel that I’m interested in just the overall science of invasive species,” said Vaughan. “And I, for the second internship, I wanted to spend time on my own waters, the central Mississippi River, that I spent all my life fishing and lived right by. It was really cool learning more in depth about the fisheries, the very unique, might I add, fisheries that those rivers are.”

The  internship can also help determine if working in the DNR is right for you.

“Maybe it will change your mind, reaffirm your career aspirations,” explained Vaughan. “My first internship kind of did cement that I wanted to go into the general field of fisheries management.”

Glasow recommends the internship to anyone interested in being outdoors. 

“I’d say give it your best shot, no one’s judging you as long as you’re there with a good attitude,” said Glasow. “That’s all anyone can ask for, and I think if you just have an open mind and take what you can get out of it, I think that’s huge.”

More details on the internship requirements and how to apply can be found here.