The Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP)
Founded in 2008, the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP) was created in partnership with the Student Conservation Association to help prepare the next generation of wildlife professionals and managers by 1) introducing culturally and ethnically diverse college freshman and sophomores to conservation careers in the USFWS, 2) giving field staff the experience of working with culturally and ethnically diverse employees, and 3) increasing the diversity of the applicant pool for conservation based jobs. These internships provide a diverse group of youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field. Conservation interns are paid a living wage and, in some cases, are also provided with room and board for the duration of their service.
CDIP students are assigned to a national wildlife refuge for a summer of hard work and experiential education. Before beginning their assignment, interns attend a week-long training and orientation period. During this time, students engage in simulations and challenges designed and facilitated by Service staff, including their proctor, a Service employee designated as their mentor for the summer. Refuge scenarios are usually management issues common to daily life on a refuge, with topics considering public relations, invasive species, and resource conservation. At the end of the week, students present mock management plans to an audience composed of their peers and Service employees.
To learn more about the Career Discovery Internship Program contact Lamar Gore, Assistant Refuge Supervisor, at: Lamar_Gore@fws.gov.
Click on any of the CDIP profiles below to learn about the Career Discovery Internship Program from an intern’s perspective.