Lexi Smith ’23, Blaine, Minn.
Major: Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Is this your first internship experience?

This is my first internship, but I do have previous experience working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conducting chronic wasting disease sampling, volunteering with a prairie survey near Crookston, and being invited by the biology department to attend the MN DNR Annual Roundtable in 2021.

Where is your internship located?

I am the resource management intern at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park (LVSUMSP) in Soudan, Minn.

Why did you choose this summer internship?

I accepted this position because I have always been interested in working in natural resources and because LVSUM is home to Minnesota’s largest bat hibernaculum.

What are you hoping to gain from the internship?

I am eager to gain a wide variety of experience as I monitor multiple species throughout the park and assist coworkers who are in different roles at the park.

What does an average day look like at your internship?

No day is the same for me, which I love. An average day could consist of collecting data on bat populations using multiple methods, conducting invasive species removal, old-growth forest surveys, species assessments, and more.

What has been the most exciting part of your internship experience so far?

The most exciting part so far was going underground into the mine and conducting a practice bat count; a close second has been all of the different wildlife I’ve seen.

How will you use the knowledge you gain from this internship in the future?

The variety of things I am learning is allowing me to expand my portfolio on paper and in the way that I interact with both the non-human living world and people. To me, natural resource management is one of the greatest and most intimate ways that you can be responsibly engaged in the world because it extends the responsibility and connection beyond humans unto all living things.

What are your plans for after this internship ends?

Once this internship is complete, I will be looking for jobs within the DNR in Minnesota or possibly other states.

Published August 2023