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June 7, 2012

The New Girl

I'm Steph, the new girl at USEE. (I'm the one on the left, with my husband on New Year's Day in Capitol Reef National Park.) Today, I'm embarking on my first internship ever and I'm probably the oldest intern USEE has ever had. I graduated from Weber State University in 2004 with a BS in English and photography, and have spent the last eight years traveling, playing, and ultimately trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

Four years ago, I somehow stumbled upon the coolest job ever: contracting with the US Forest Service as a photographer/writer/editor of content on Recreation.gov. Just this week, I started what will be my fourth and final summer wandering through the forests of Utah, southern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, Nevada, and a tiny portion of California, taking photos of campgrounds, cabins, and guard stations that are available for the public to reserve through Recreation.gov.

It is from all the time I've spent on public lands over the last few summers that I was able to finally decide what I want to do with my life. Last May, after enjoying total freedom from school for seven years, I woke up one morning and decided to get a master's degree. Shortly thereafter, I was accepted into the Master of Natural Resources and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Certificate programs at Utah State University, and am expecting to graduate next summer.

So why am I at USEE? Well, I've always enjoyed the recreational aspects of our environment (I kayak, hike, camp, backpack, garden, etc), but I'm a newbie to the vast administrative/educational aspects, and I'm thirsty for knowledge, so I thought an internship at USEE would be a challenging, informative, fun, and different adventure for the girl who's mostly just had a camera in her hands for the last several years. I'm looking forward to helping this great organization benefit and educate our community on the importance of maintaining and improving our environment. And if I can get some tips on improving my own compost bins while I'm here, all the better.

Looking forward to an educational summer!

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