Internships – Developing a New Generation of Park and Community Leaders


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  • Interns provide critical feedback and connect California State Parks to next generation.
  • A partnership with U.C. Riverside resulted in the revitalization of the department’s internship program.
  • Department seeking your feedback on how to improve internships and the methods of advertising them.


California State Parks not only helps protect the state’s natural and cultural resources for today and tomorrow’s generations; the department also offers the next generation of park stewards opportunities to explore career opportunities and apply their education in real-world contexts. University of California, Riverside student Sergio Robles recently completed his internship with California State Parks, gaining invaluable experience from the ability to contribute beyond helping with office tasks.

Partnering with the university through the U.C. Riverside Ron Loveridge Summer Fellowship Program, Sergio’s initial interest in the department stemmed from his work as a volunteer at California Citrus State Historic Park. His internship goals included understanding the department’s organizational dynamics and state-level change management. The department’s Transformation effort gave him the opportunity to complete his goals. Sergio’s work during his 10-week period with the Transformation Team included:

  • Created a central repository for the various transformations that have occurred since the department’s creation.
  • Gathered background information to inform the “Improve Performance Management Initiative”.
  • Identified and documented labor issues related to the citrus industry to inform the “History and Relevancy Project”.

During the course of Sergio’s internship, he also identified room for improvement in how the department identifies internship pools and leverages interns’ abilities. One of his suggestions is to create a formal internship program that provides a framework for various internship opportunities available through the department. Similar to the National Park Service, Sergio also recommended creating a department’s internship webpage as well as providing additional resources to help an intern transition into his or her temporary role as well as a permanent role once the internship is completed.


Sergio’s feedback sparked the interest of the Transformation Team. So we are now asking you to help us improve the internship experience at California State Parks. Let us know if you have any ideas of how we can revitalize not only the internship program, but the relationships with partners and academic institutions to promote internship pipelines for the variety of career opportunities available within the department.

Please provide us with your feedback via e-mail at

California State Parks and the Transformation Team would like to thank Sergio and U.C. Riverside for the opportunity to work together to strengthen the state park system and improve its relevancy as a viable internship and career opportunity for college graduates and other aspiring professionals.


  • Stay abreast of the Transformation Team’s progress on their website.
  • The Transformation Team is interested to know your ideas, thoughts and comments. Let us know what you think.
  • Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or our blog and stay updated on #TransformationTuesdays!





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