Youth Employment
Northeast Region
Kizette OrtizVanger working with children. Credit: USFWS
Kizette OrtizVanger working with children. Credit: USFWS

Kizette OrtizVanger

The Start of My Journey with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It all began one afternoon in 2008 when I received a phone call from SCA asking me if I applied to the CDIP program in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I replied I hadn’t but that I would because it sounded right up my alley. However, what really perked my ears was that it could terminate in a permanent position after graduation. I remember the application process being very simple; it was the interviews that made me anxious. Once I was interviewed by SCA I waited to see if I had made it to the next “level” to be interviewed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

In the end I was offered a biological technician position at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, Massachusetts. As a biological technician I worked mostly with the common tern colony on the island, recording their productivity and doing stints on their behavior. During my evaluation at the end of the summer my supervisor told me about the SCEP program and asked me if I was interested in becoming a SCEP for the following summer.

I loved my job at Monomoy and decided I would like to see what another job with FWS would be like. That following summer of 2009, I was placed at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Smyrna, Delaware as a biological SCEP.It was similar to my previous summer in that I was still working with birds, however, the habitat was different; I was looking for marsh sparrow nests.I had changed my major the previous semester from wildlife biology to environmental studies so I asked to do some visitor services events while I was there to see how that was like.

After my summer at Bombay Hook, it was to be determined if I would become a permanent employee after graduation.I was interviewed by people I had met at the SCEP workshop and at the SCA/CDIP conference to see if I wanted to do biology or visitor services.I decided I would like to try visitor services as that was the new path my life seemed to be taking. I have been placed at Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, working at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge once the visitor center is completed. I will be working under the direction of Susan J. Russo, Visitor Services Manager of the Eastern Mass complex to help get the new visitor on its way, as well as working with the Friends of Assabet. Since I have started here I have been able to work with Boy Scouts, YCC, and special needs kids; I also work a 3-day camp with 8 to 12-year olds. This is how I began my journey with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Last updated: April 1, 2011
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