On June 5th, Defenders of Wildlife welcomed 12 students from colleges across the country to its 2023 summer internship program which is funded by The Pritchard Foundation. The intern program is led by DEIJ VP Anthony Pegues and matches students with a passion for conservation alongside experts at Defenders in the Center for Conservation Innovation, field conservation and the communications departments.  

Anthony Pegues Headshot

Regarding the internship, Anthony Pegues says, “I have had a wonderful time leading Defenders’ Summer Internship Program. I have led two dynamic cohorts and each time, I have learned just as much as the interns.  I am happy that Defenders is doing its part in helping to close the diversity gap in conservation, by supporting an equitable and inclusive internship program. Each year we make it possible for students who otherwise may not have equitable access to a robust internship to be afforded that opportunity. The staff at Defenders has stepped up in so many ways to create an indelible experience for the interns, and in return they are rewarded with knowing that they are influencing the next generation and passing the torch.” 


Meet the 2023 interns and listen to what they have to say about their time at Defenders. 
Intern 2023 Graphic

For National Intern Day, we asked our interns one question that might help current and future interns across the nation - what’s the most helpful tip or trick you’ve learned so far in the internship? 

  • Networking: Madelyn, Andre, Jess, and Tory all emphasize the importance of networking during an internship. Jess suggests conducting informational interviews to gather valuable insights, while Madelyn advises regular communication with supervisors. Tory highlights the significance of people skills, even in conservation-related roles. 

  • Organization and Time Management: Isabella, Holly, and Juli all advocate for effective time management and staying organized. Juli recommends creating a to-do list to break down big projects, while Holly suggests compiling lists to keep work in one accessible place. Kaylin adds that listening to Audiobooks can aid in staying focused. Isabella emphasizes the importance of time management for maintaining a routine and completing tasks promptly. Sydney recommends utilizing a planner or dedicated space to organize thoughts, enhancing time management and organization. 

  • Basic Skills: Many interns recommend mastering basic skills applicable to any job. Lauren stresses the importance of Excel and Google Sheets, essential for conservation work involving data. Sydney adds that familiarity with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other workplace applications can facilitate a smoother transition into a new job. 

  • Asking Questions: The interns agree: don't hesitate to ask questions! Lauren and Holly both emphasize the significance of asking questions during an internship - it's an essential aspect of the learning process. Maya encourages interns that are anxious about their questions to go ahead and ask since others likely have the same feelings. Ava also emphasizes communicating with your team leader about what specific skills and experience you hope to gain - they will be more than happy to accommodate you! 

Thanks for celebrating Defender’s interns, and happy National Intern Day! To see more about our intern’s work, check out Defenders Intern Diaries where we’ve highlighted the work of the communications and CCI interns. Check back next week as we highlight our field conservation interns! 


This blog was written by Ava Benton and Sydney St. Rose-Finear, Communications 2023 summer interns.


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