As a Resource Assistant (RA), this has been an opportunity to learn as much about the Forest Service and network with other staff before taking on a permanent position. However, as a remote worker, I miss out on building more personable connections and face-to-face interactions. Virtual meetings have made collaboration more accessible, but I would only see certain staff once a week rather than working in the same office space every day.
This obstacle drove me to become more creative when it came to networking. During the initial meetings we had introductions of staff and their respective positions. If I found their job title intriguing or liked their energy in the meeting, I would write their name down on a list of possible networking opportunities. Aside from other staff, I also wanted to learn from previous RA’s journey between being an intern and being hired on as a permanent staff. Other interns and I, within the Washington Office, reached out to 6 different previous interns and asked them a series of questions about their personal experience within the Forest Service. These networking meetings, although virtual, helped boost my confidence to reach out to other staff and tailor my questions better. Each intern had a unique experience and showed me the vast opportunities provided by the agency.
After meeting with all the different interns, I was able to determine where I see myself fit within the agency. This insight has allowed me to be strategic about my networking approach and reach out to employees who are in similar positions I hope to be as well. Although COVID has provided many setbacks and barriers, working remotely has allowed me the flexibility to meet with employees throughout the U.S. These opportunities have solidified my interest in working for the Forest Service after my internship ends and continuing to learn about the vast opportunities the agency has to offer.
Agency: U.S Forest Service
Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)
Location: USFS Headquarters, Washington Office