College of Health, Education and Human Development

PRTM grad student gains real world experience

Carla Mora-Trejos in the Sawtooths, looking at the White Clouds Mountain Chain, both in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Sawtooth Wilderness, Southern Idaho.To enrich her student experience, Carla Mora-Trejos moved out of the books and immersed herself in a “Real World” application of what she learns in school by taking an internship with the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho and another one with the Park Service in Tennessee.

She spent the summer as a Wilderness Ranger in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Sawtooth Wilderness, in Southern Idaho. Part of the extensive training includes a week long Wilderness Ranger Academy in Rocky Mountains National Park, CO, another week in the Forest Protection Officer Academy in Pocatello, ID, and several shorter trainings in the Wilderness area per se. Spending 5 days a week by herself on Backcountry Patrols, gave her a good image of what is really going on, on the ground. The Wilderness Program Director of the SNRA, Liese Dean-Clebsh, with her support and time, gave her a perspective of how this area is managed, and how the Forest Service works as an organization.

After coming back from Idaho, she spent a month in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, adapting informational and educational materials for Hispanic-American visitors to the Smokies. This project was possible thanks to the support of the educational division of the park. Along with Susan Simpson, Science Communication Biological Technician,  together developed new informational and educational materials that will help the Interpretive Rangers with their work when receiving participants that don’t speak English; and inform the Hispanic- Latin American visitor how to get the best experience in the park as well as the Smokies’ safety and regulations.

“Living these experiences developed a contextual foundation of knowledge that enhances my understanding of what we learn theoretically in our academic courses. They made me a stronger and more grounded professional and individual.” Said Trejos.