Interning with Defenders of Wildlife: Madelyn Garcia '24

Lance Pauker
December 4, 2023
Pace student Madelyn Garcia in a lavender field

Name: Madelyn Garcia
Pronouns: She/They
Anticipated Year of Graduation: 2024
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Degree/Major: Environmental Science and Conservation, BS + Environmental Science and Policy, MS (Combined Degree)

Internship role and employer: Landscape Conservation Intern with Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Conservation Innovation Team

Tell us a bit about what you did during your internship. Walk us through what an average day looks like for you.

During my internship, I was under the guidance of Aimee Delach, a Senior Policy Analyst with a specialization in Climate Adaptation. Beyond team meetings, my role revolved around extensive research, particularly centered on reviewing documentation related to imperiled species. A significant part of my responsibilities also involved navigating the USFWS Service Catalog to delve into Comprehensive Conservation Plans. These comprehensive plans serve as crucial long-term documents ensuring the effective management of each refuge in alignment with their intended purpose.

The nature of my projects demanded keen attention to detail, and they were presented during a symposium held at the conclusion of the internship period. Additionally, interns had the opportunity to attend virtual and in-person events that engaged and educated wildlife lovers across the nation.

I'm truly thankful to both the Pritchard Foundation and Defenders for such a great opportunity!

What made you gravitate to this role? Was it the organization, the responsibilities, or something else?

I've been incredibly fortunate to work with Defenders of Wildlife, an organization that embraces an intersectional approach to conservation. Beyond its reputation, my attraction to this role was amplified by the presence of The Center for Conservation Innovation, a dynamic team at the forefront of pioneering strategies to create the next generation of wildlife policies and practices.

Moreover, my decision to pursue this position was significantly influenced by my participation in the Animal Advocacy Clinic during the Spring of 2023.

Did you work on any projects or complete any special tasks that brought you a sense of self-satisfaction?

Working alongside the climate team, I helped update and develop reports on species affected by climate change for the Defenders Climate Change guide. Crafting these informative fact sheets allowed me to offer precise and easily understandable insights into the subject. Furthermore, I actively participated in the evaluation of how Comprehensive Conservation Plans for National Wildlife Refuges were integrating climate change considerations into their strategic frameworks.

Have you interned anywhere else prior to this?

Prior to this, I had the privilege of interning in various roles that have greatly contributed to my skill set and research exposure. The opportunities afforded by the ESS Department have been particularly instrumental in honing my abilities. Apart from my current position, I've also held other notable roles, including:

Did you get this internship with assistance from Career Services or did you snag this one independently?

Although my resume has been crafted with the assistance of Career Services, I actually discovered this through both Handshake and the Green Jobs Board. These platforms have proven to be valuable resources in my job search journey.

Do you have any advice for people who are considering taking on their first internship?

Apply! My advice is to take the leap and apply, even if you feel your qualifications or skill-set might be lacking, or if self-confidence is holding you back. Oftentimes, your unique experiences beyond the stated requirements can actually position you as an excellent candidate. Additionally, you might possess strengths in areas that the company hasn't even identified as crucial until they engage with you during the interview process. Embracing a growth-oriented mindset is key to unlocking potential opportunities that you might otherwise miss. Remember, the worst outcome is simply hearing a 'no' at the end of the day.

You can also see these two articles that were posted for National Intern Day/Week:

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