My name is Alvi Seda and I am a recruiter for the Student Conservation Agency, a program that hosts students for internship opportunities domestically and abroad.
What is the Student Conservation Agency?
It is largely an all expense paid internship program, the largest of which are with federal agencies. There are also partnerships with organizations like the army corps of engineers, state agencies, and state parks, and things like nature conservatories.
What age range would you say the people who participate in this program are?
It is for for everyone, we have a lot of graduated students, even graduate students do our programs. Anyone in eighteen and up can participate.
Do you have any recommendations of things people can do in college to prepare?
We work with all majors and encompass a pretty really wide variety of them. We have positions related to sustainability, energy, public health, communication, facebook and instagram management, Congressional internships, environmental law and policy, and business. Besides internships, we do conservation corps where you can work with members in organizations.
Where can you find such opportunities? How did you get involved?
My region is in the Southeast, we cover every state in the United States. I studied environmental studies and adventure. I worked at the SCA through the forestry service doing surveys on endangered species. I reached out asking to see if they could do any work anywhere else and later helped lead their youth and adult programs out in the field. And I did that and it became a full time role.
What motivates you to do this type of work?
I grew up in an inner city setting. When I was in the early twenties, I met someone who went out on the appalachian trial. I did that and hiked for about three months as well. I started in Georgia and hiked all along the way. It is a different way to participate in nature and rekindled my connection with it. It gave me the clarity of mind to look through a different type of mindset.
I think it is important to continue to get people involved in environmental organization education organizations, educational organizations, and that pursue these type of things.
It is easy to get into the capitalistic goals, but you should pursue the are where you can make the greatest difference. There is no shortage of areas that you can volunteer, can get out the outdoors, get really to the center and focus on people. I think it is important to be connected with nature and for people to be connected with nature.
How can students get involved?
We can send volunteers to any federal organizations or nonprofit organizations. The internet is probably the easier way to connect with people. There are a lot of groups and communities that do these types of things, There are many different ways to get involved, whether it be with your core network of people, things like the Conservation Corps, or through even just searching through the internet.
What did you do that you felt prepared you for these types of these environmental roles?
Campus organizations are always valuable they are great place to start, specifically campus groups that looks at sustainability issues or a wildlife or ecology club. If you have a passion, start in your local community first.I also always spent a lot of time outdoors when compared with my family, it can be unstructured as well, not necessarily structured time.
Tell us a little bit about your role and what it was like leading environmental groups through the SCA.
They trained me to lead groups outdoors, when I first transitioned, leading people on environmental type missions, which is what directly got me hired into those positions where I am today. We had best practices and guides to help us get into these leadership roles in an outdoors setting.
What is the most rewarding thing about working for the Student Conservation Agency?
I think to me the most rewarding thing is being able to work with youth to try and get them into the outdoors. I like seeing people change. It tends to change their mentality a little bit. I tend see a lot of transformative experiences, suddenly they are considering a whole host of different issues that we haven't thought about it before. It was keeps me passionate about the job and so many of those other people passionate about it, seeing the change that are made in the community.