Celebrating Students ’17: Oliver Goodman

Last March, Professor Fred Cohan told me that I had to see the glaciers before they melted in five years and that he just wasn’t going to take me telling the National Park Service “no” for an answer.

Mid-July, I was stranded on a dirt road on the wrong side of the Continental Divide while the Reynolds Creek Fire grew from 1/2 and acre to 4,000 acres, jumped Oliver Goodman_Summer 2015and melted the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and blazed towards my home at the Saint Mary Ranger Station in Glacier National Park. What should’ve been an hour drive turned into a 14 hour detour and when I got home just before midnight, my boss told me that we were not only witnessing history, but we were becoming part of it – and then added that we might only be given 10 minutes to pack our belongings when the time comes to evacuate so I better get on that. I soon loaded what I could into my government-issued truck, and headed for West Glacier, as I drove out of the Saint Mary Valley and watched the mountains I had grown to love burn.

While I was on evacuee assignment, I was relocated to the park’s rural Northfork Area, which requires a 40 mile dirt road to access. My campground ranger training meant nearly nothing to my new duties: backcountry patrols, checking boats for invasive clams and muscles, and using a motor boat to access backcountry campsites. Additionally, I spent a good amount of time on my first day in the Northfork within 10 feet of an aggressive, habituated bear and her yearling, as I attempted to keep visitors at a safe distance while I called for backup (on a radio whose signal was lost in the unique shape of the valley I was in).

When the fire was at 20% containment and we were allowed back in our homes, I came out of Glacier’s Northfork more confident in myself and I am looking forward to bringing Glacier back to Wesleyan.

While I still have not fully processed everything from this summer, I am so grateful to my advisor Fred Cohan for pushing me into accepting a terrifying, challenging, and life-changing experience that made me so in touch with Montana, with the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, and with myself.  I hope to return to the wild west as soon as I can and hopefully I’ll spend next summer working as a Backcountry Ranger back at Glacier.

If you’d like to get involved in the National Park Service, check out usajobs.gov or the Student Conservation Association (https://www.thesca.org/), or come find me!

Celebrating Students ’17: Caleb Haddad

This past summer I worked as an intern at the New York Power Authority, and took a night class at Columbia that met twice a week. The class was part of the business department and covered the principles of marketing, and I completed a project on Whole Foods’ marketing campaign. My official position at the Authority was a “developmental intern”, and I worked in the Economic Development and Energy Efficiency (EDEE) department on a full-time basis.

The internship itself was an amazing experience. The first few days were a bit overwhelming, for I was constantly getting introduced to new co-workers, interns, and details about the company and our customers, but I quickly got used to the flow of new information.  I worked for a few different parts of EDEE, including the Business and Governmental divisions, and so I had to be ready to field a variety of assignments. Over the course of the internship, I shadowed EDEE team members, attended key team meetings and took notes/captured action items, assisted in managing contact lists in Microsoft CRM for account executives, ran Business Intelligence reports, updated monthly report for governmental customers, tracked customer communications, and completed a data visualization project that required the use of Business Intelligence, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Powerpoint. However, my internship wasn’t solely about completing a large number of tasks. I also strengthened my networking skills, grew more accustomed to a 9-5 routine, and made a number of friends that I am still in contact with.

Despite the fact that I didn’t have a lot of free time this summer, I had an invaluable experience working and studying. I also learned something about myself, in that despite the packed schedule I could complete the two jobs as an employee and student to the best of my ability. If I could give some advice to anyone considering a similar summer as mine, I would say go for it. It may seem overwhelming at first, but the experience gained is priceless.