The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) turned 10 years old with a celebration of the outdoors. Founders and new interns alike attended a celebration at the end of January and a larger celebration is in the works for the end of the summer.
The organization began in 2007 when Paul Roelandt, the Cedar Breaks National Monument superintendent, needed to fill seasonal positions. SUU had just recently created the outdoor recreation in parks and tourism major; seeing the opportunity for collaboration, Roelandt reached out to Briget Eastep, director and associate professor of outdoor recreation.
“When it started, we had 12 interns that first year and it’s grown,” Eastep said. “The last few years we’ve had 250-300 interns.”
The organization is looking forward to their 10th year as they begin to fill new internships. These internships are not just for outdoor recreation or biology majors. Miranda Gubler, the internship coordinator, said the IIC also offers internships for students seeking experience in arts, information technology, accounting, education, business and more.
“People forget that all of these different agencies that we work with, even though they’re outside and generally associated with being outside and being a park ranger, they’re businesses first,” Gubler said. “So they do a lot of other things, too. They have to establish a lot of interior things, they all have offices, they all have an administrator that has to be there.”
This organization is unique to SUU, but now recruits students from colleges and high schools all over Utah and even parts of Nevada and Arizona. According to Brian Raper, IIC partnership director, some students have changed their major based on their experiences with IIC.
“It’s not uncommon to have people start as a freshman and enjoy the experience and come do two, three, four years sometimes in the same internships, sometimes in four different internships in different locations,” Raper said. “ ... People have changed their majors based on IIC internships when they’ve really enjoyed what they’re doing, so they went and made that their major.”
The IIC recently held a career fair and will continue to recruit through March. All the internships are paid and some of them include housing. All internships also receive college credit, but there are opportunities for students who will be graduating, too.
“Right now we have over 80 positions open and available for application,” Gubler said. “The key to our program is it’s an education-based program, so it’s not like a summer job. ... They’re also all paid. It’s not minimum wage paid; the majority of our interns make between $12 and $14 per hour. You work with an agency mentor, who’s an actual employee for those locations. They get to mentor you on what you get to do, so it’s a very hands-on experience.”
To view available positions, visit visitiicinternships.com. Eastep encourages anyone with questions to contact the IIC office in the Leadership Engagement Center or contact the hiring organization directly.
“Look at the contacts at the bottom of the sheets and use it as an opportunity to practice networking,” Eastep said. “You can call them up. You can practice reaching out to people and learning those things. Again, follow up with a good resume, follow up with phone calls.”