Kyra Seigla interned with the University of Arizona's Bio/Diversity Program and contributed to sixth grade environmental science education.
Why did you choose your internship?
When I first started the process of finding an internship, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college, career wise. At the time, I was working at an early education center, with children 1-5 years old, and the experince had me contemplating the education field. I started my search for my internship by talking to Stephanie Springer (the Internship Director) and looking on the PAH Opportunity Hub (a resource full of internship descriptions). I saw the Bio/Diversity Project and after researching the program, I found it very interesting and relevant given my possible career interest in education. I also knew I wanted an internship that focused on helping people and allowed me to be a positive influence in my community, and this internship was that and more.
What new skills did you develop in your internship?
I developed many transferable skills through my internship experience. For example, I gained skills in lesson planning and understanding what goes into developing an education plan and guide for students. Before each lesson, I made sure I knew the topics for that teaching day. Through my delivery of the lessons, I gained experience and confidence in public speaking. Also, another new skill that I acquired during this internship was being flexible and going with the flow because sometimes there was a lesson or topic that was uninteresting to the students or not piquing their interest like I thought it would, and I needed to adapt and change my approach or the lesson right away.
What was the most significant contribution you made?
The most significant contribution I made was being able to create a very relaxed and fun environment for the students, which is an environment that I would want at their age (6th grade). Another meaningful contribution (one that will stick with me forever) was during our lesson on “Culture and the Environment in the Sonoran Desert.'' During this lesson, I highlighted some of Tucson's history, which includes the fact that Tucson had a college built before ever having a high school in town. This amazed students and it was really rewarding to help them better understand and even question the history of Tucson. I talk more about my internship contributions in this short video.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
This internship experience influenced my plans for the future by giving me a better understanding of the education field. I discovered it might not be the path I want for my career. Although I do enjoy being around children and I do have the skills to be an efficient educator, right now in Arizona, our education system is very broken and the teacher retention rate and happiness amongst educators is low, which is challenging. I do really love being around young students and I very much enjoyed being a part of an organization that really strives to better the community of Tucson. This aspect of creating a positive environment and program for young students is something that I plan to have a place in my life, and I’d like to be a volunteer and stay involved with my community even if I don’t pursue education as a career.