Internship Provides Real-world Experience and New Focus on Future

– submitted by Christi Standley

Katlin with fellow interns

The interns at a timber harvest site

Internships offer work experience, networking opportunities, knowledge building, and sometimes are even money-earning!  Katlin Mooneyham, a Senior in the Natural Resources-Ecosystems Assessment major, took advantage of the opportunity to spend her summer working for the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service as a Forestry Technician.  She worked at the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center to collect samples, take measurements, use professional equipment, and participate in current research, specifically focused on soil, forests and water.

Katlin taking DBH of tree

Katlin taking the DBH of a tree in Uwharrie Forest

The NC State Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources believes internships are of great value to students as they are seeking opportunities to learn, network, and discover possible career paths.  This past summer’s experience has opened up a new path for Katlin as she says, “The most interesting thing that I learned about myself this summer is that I am extremely fascinated by the field of forestry.  This helped me out in terms of my future because I am now seriously considering graduate school for forestry to learn more about this field and potentially pursue a career in research.”

Realizing its benefits, Katlin recalls her internship as a “wonderful experience” because she not only made “contacts in a field that I am considering for my career,” says Mooneyham, but she also learned about the “wide array of tasks that go along with this field such as lab work, field work and data entry.”  Katlin gained real-world experience through the many tasks that she completed, including measuring soil respiration, creating and instilling sap flow probes, destructing samples of understory biomass, collecting water samples from streams near harvest sites, and collecting soil samples from an acid rain study in Vermont.

Collecting samples in understory

The interns samples to determine understory biomass in a managed loblolly pine site, Plymouth NC

Having these internships as a foundation for many of our majors continues to be extremely beneficial for our students.  The experiences they are exposed to create a launching pad for reflection, as students explore career opportunities, networking outlets and graduate school education, and just learn more about themselves.

Christi Standley is the Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Learn more at and contact Christi at, or 919.513.2582.

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