Student Field Technicians in the Natural Resource Management Program
The Timberline Field Institute at Colorado Mountain College Leadville offers students the opportunity to work as a field technician during the summer field season.
Students will gain experiential learning through hands-on, real-life projects. These projects allow the students to directly interact with environmental professionals while obtaining relevant field and laboratory experience.
Brooke Sullivan || Colorado
I was born and raised in Leadville, so the term small town girl very accurately describes my life. Fishing, hunting, four wheeling, camping, campfires, country music, big trucks and pretty much anything to do with the outdoors is what I’m all about. I am so thankful to have grown up surrounded by beautiful mountains and wildlife. I decided to go back to school and pursue a degree that would allow me to turn my passion into a career and the NRM program at CMC has been everything I’d hoped for! The experience I have gained, the memories along the way, and the lifelong bond with everyone in the program has made it that much more rewarding! I hope to take this degree and work locally with a focus in wildlife or mine reclamation.
Maddalena Blondell || Maryland
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating high school, I took a year off to work for an environmental non-profit, doing restoration work within the city. After a year, I realized that I needed a change, and I stumbled upon CMC. Being an outdoor enthusiast, and having my environmental background, I knew I wanted to join the Natural Resource Management program in Leadville. I moved to Leadville a few days before the start of the semester- having never been to Colorado before. It was a great leap of faith. The mountainous landscape, like-minded people, and hands-on education had me quickly convinced that I had made the right decision. I have loved every experience and opportunity given to me since becoming a student and field technician!
JimBob Romero || North Dakota
I grew up enjoying the outdoors in North Dakota; hunting, fishing, camping, you name it. I then joined the Navy as an equipment operator for the SeaBees, but my military career ended due to an off-roading accident. This wreck helped push me back into education, where I found the NRM department at Leadville, and fell in love! Fishing is my passion in life, and studying Natural Resource Management at CMC was the best way for me to get my foot in the door. My goal is a career where I can help our streams, rivers, and lakes, and promote healthy habitats for fish to thrive in.
Tyler Mainz || Texas
Original from Texas I’ve been wandering around trying any new thing I can. Cursed with the millennial attention span I was wary to start school. The CMC NRM program was a great option for me. After two years, I will have transferable credits if I wish to continue school, or an Associate’s if I want to join the work force. As an NRM field technician, and through the work-study program, I’ve had opportunities to learn and try many new things, such as working with kids on STEM education projects, and fish shocking with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Maria Skarzynski || New Jersey
I grew up in Edison, NJ; a suburban town that is about a half hour outside of New York City. At a young age, I had a very strong interest in environmental issues, which only got stronger with time. I constantly wanted to restore habitats and know more about the different ecosystems that I encountered. I decided there was no better way to answer my questions than to come to school for them. So, I packed my bags and came to school at Colorado Mountain College to study Natural Resource Management; and I could not be happier with my decision! The NRM program has allowed me to connect with nature on a deeper level; with classes that provide hands on experience in the outdoors, an amazing faculty, and an inspiring and spectacular summer field technician program. I’ve had so much fun since I have moved out here and cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!
Taylor Parman || Colorado
I grew up in a small town south of Denver, Colorado. Began enjoying the outdoors as I worked the farm and agriculture life. My background is in diesel mechanics, and worked in that industry for 3-4 years. Hunting, fishing, backpacking, and hiking are some of the things I truly enjoy doing, and being at CMC has provided a way of doing both and experiencing field work Natural Resource Management. The summer field technician program at CMC is a great opportunity, and has widened my understanding of the spectrum of jobs available in the future.
Adrienne Stanley || Colorado
I was born in Australia, but moved to the states when I was two. Since then I’ve lived almost my whole life in Colorado. Being in such a beautiful setting it’s no wonder I grew to love the outdoors. I want to learn everything about what shapes the landscape around me, from the water, and rocks to the plants and wildlife. I received a Bachelor’s degree from CU Boulder but decided to return to school for a more hands experience with emphasis on my passion, field work. CMC has allowed me to work outdoors and take classes in subjects which fascinate me. After my time here I hope to get into a Master’s program in wildlife management.
Sara Burch || Colorado
I grew up down the hill in Denver, Colorado. I spent a lot of my time growing up in the outdoors, from camping to hiking and hunting. This is what sparked my passion for the outdoors at an early age. When I was doing research on schools and programs, I knew that I wanted to do something I cared about and that was important to the future of coexistence with mankind and nature. My research led me to the NRM Program. The NRM coursework has taught me skills necessary for nature restoration and conservation, as well as how to manage natural resources properly and sustainably. I am very excited for the summer internship and eager to learn more about this incredible field. Aside from NRM, my hobbies include whitewater rafting, backpacking, snowboarding, and cross country skiing.
Jon Gholson || Indiana
I grew up in North Vernon, Indiana, spending most of my time in the woods hunting and fishing with my dad and brother. After I graduated high school, I immediately joined the Army, which took me to some amazing places. After ten years in the Army I got out and decided to further my education and found the NRM Program. This is a good fit for me because it puts me back out in the woods and gives me a completely new outlook on where I can take my interests.
Kelly Jensen || Pennsylvania
I was born and raised in the fast-paced lifestyle of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Growing up, I spent most of my time exploring the outdoors, but was always limited by pavement. I knew from a young age I wanted a job that would allow me to travel to beautiful, isolated places and preserve the natural landscapes I cherish. After searching for degrees to pursue, the NRM Program at CMC in Leadville seemed like the perfect place and I couldn't have picked a better fit! I am thankful every day for the awesome opportunities NRM has and can’t wait to see where the future leads me!
Jesse Peros || Colorado
I was born and raised here in beautiful Leadville, CO. After working for a few years in Virginia, the mountains called me back. The NRM program was a natural fit and easy decision. I have a strong passion to preserve the landscape I grew up in for future generations. Being outdoors and doing what I truly want to do is something very few people can say they have accomplished. The program here at CMC gives me all the tools I need to pursue and excel at this.
Neil Westendorf || Indiana
I grew up in the small, agricultural town of North Manchester, Indiana. Although the terrain and climate couldn't vary more from Leadville, I feel at home at 10,000 feet. Growing up outside fostered my love and appreciation for the natural world. This respect and intrigue for the outdoors is what compelled me to move to Colorado in 2013 and what inspired my interest in the NRM Program at CMC. I enjoy skiing, hiking, hunting, and fishing, especially with my wife and four-year-old son.
Taylor Applewhite || Texas
Originally from Texas, I found myself in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at CMC. I had a strong interest in science as a child and knew it was my only route in life. After much research, I found the NRM Program in Leadville and immediately knew it was the perfect fit for me. Not only would I be in a new land where I could fully explore the outdoors and my adventurous side, but I would also be in the perfect place to facilitate my learning. The abandoned mining lands and vast abundance of natural resources allow for hands-on exploration and learning. The opportunity to work for the Timberline Field Institute was the most beneficial experience I have gained in my pursuit of a professional career in the environmental sciences. After I graduate in May, 2015, I will be working as a Watershed Technician for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Gunnison, CO, throughout the summer. I was able to make the initial connection with the BLM while working on a joint project with the Timberline Field Institute. My experience with the NRM Program has been a priceless stepping stone as I continue my education toward a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology and Ecology at Western State Colorado University this Fall. Learning is better outdoors!
Traci Hall || Washington
I learn best from experiential learning and I’ve always had a passion for the environment. Prior to working at the Timberline Field Institute, I worked as a forestry technician on a trail crew for the USFS. The TFI internship gave me the hands on experience to help me find a career path. The internship experience gave me confidence to pursue an education in the natural resource management field. I enjoyed working on the variety of projects from wetlands to water quality to bird habitat monitoring to invasive algae. After partaking in such a diverse summer, working beside personnel from many different government agencies, I was able to find what specific field sparked my interest the most and adjust my academic coursework in that direction!
Brenna Hjelle || Colorado
I grew up in the suburbs of Denver. Unlike many of my colleagues, I had never been hunting, I had been fishing a few times, and I had been “camping” in our pop-up camper, but always with a shower and laundry nearby. When I took an environmental science course as a freshman at Colorado Mesa University, I was surprised by the multitude of problems on our earth and learning about the detrimental effects to humanity. I developed a deep respect for nature and its value and I cultivated a desire to protect it. I have come to realize the importance of connecting our community with nature. I soon understood that people I grew up with in the city might be care more about conservation if they spent more time in nature and experienced it firsthand. In Leadville, during my CMC NRM field technician experience, I got to experience the magnificent outdoors and gained a variety of field experiences that have helped me to find my specific interest within environmental science. Throughout the summer I learned more about myself as a scientist, my strengths, weaknesses and passions. Not only did I grow as a student, but I learned about the importance of teamwork and what makes a person valuable in the workplace. The summer field season in Leadville was beautiful and all of my free time was spent exploring and having the best summer of my college career.
Parker Simpson || Colorado
I am pursuing an Associate's of Applied Science of Natural Resource Management at CMC Leadville. I have always believed that sustainable energy and environmental consciousness were of higher value than sales commissions or stock portfolios. I hope to use my education to make permanent changes in the quality of life in my community and its ecosystems. The diversity of my peers and the wonderful faculty here have taught me, no matter the age or walk of life, we can always learn something new. I will soon be proud to say, "I got a degree at Colorado Mountain College, in Leadville, Colorado."
Sarah Snarski || Michigan
I grew up in a small town in western Michigan. It was here where my passion for the environment began. I spent as much time as possible in the outdoors, whether it was camping, fishing, or hunting. It is through these activities that I gained a great deal of respect for life around us. After I graduated high school, I spent my first couple years of college studying veterinary science. One day, I realized the path I was taking wasn’t right for me. I took a semester off of school to take time to find the path I wanted to pursue. I packed up my belongings and moved to Colorado, with no intentions of going to school. I like to think that CMC found me, but then I stumbled upon the NRM Program. The NRM Program allowed me to pursue my passion for our environment and gain a great deal of hands-on experience. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Malcolm Boyack || Colorado
Growing up in Colorado, I learned to love the outdoors; both being out in it, and the importance of preserving it. The NRM Program at CMC has been a fantastic way for me to act on both of these passions. Through the program coursework and the summer internship, I have gained a deeper understanding of the processes that drive the physical world around me—from soils to streams to forests and everything in between. Working as a student field technician gave me hands-on experience with sampling processes and techniques, as well as providing the opportunity to work closely with a number of different agencies, including the EPA, USFS, USGS, and CPW. The appreciation I have gained for the delicacy and complexity of the natural world will stay with me through my life, and I look forward to carrying it with me to wherever I go next.
Christina Briseno || Alabama
I came to the NRM Program at CMC after working over 20 years for the government in Washington, DC as a statistical accountant. I loved my job but I wasn’t satisfied. I am a nature-lover and conservationist and at the end of the day I would ask myself what I had contributed to the things in life that matter to me. I decided it was time for a change and enrolled in the NRM Program. The NRM Program appealed to me because it emphasizes getting students out in the field. Having the opportunity to work as a student field technician is priceless as it provided me with the tools necessary to complete a mid-(to late) career change. I was able to work on projects covering everything from water quality to bighorn sheep and lamb survival rates. One of my favorite projects was the Sugarloaf Mountain Mining District BMP Project working alongside personnel from the US Geological Survey. In fact, I was recently offered a job as a Hydrologic Technician with the USGS and I owe this success to the field work experience provided by the internship as well as to the excellent NRM program managers and instructors.
Misty Johnson || Ohio
Growing up I never dreamed I would find myself in Leadville, Colorado, pursuing a degree in Natural Resource Management. I entered the work field and started a family early in life, but I have always been an adventurer at heart and felt that I was enjoying the natural beauty of the great outdoors from afar. During a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, I kept thinking how great working in the park would be. This would allow me to enjoy nature’s beauty while assisting in its preservation for future generations. While at the Park, I spoke with a park ranger to find out the skills and background required for his position. He highly recommended Colorado Mountain Colleges’ Natural Resource Management Program as a great starting point for gaining the necessary skills to work in the National Parks System. He was absolutely right! My course work, combined with skills I gained while working as a field technician with the Timberline Field Institute, prepared me for a career in a field I am passionate about. Upon graduation, I will start a summer job with the US Forest Service in Leadville, and who knows, perhaps a job at a national park to follow!
Tim Kendzia || Virginia
I decided to study NRM because I’m passionate about mountains and nature. I have always been drawn to the beauty of the natural world and wanted to study and conserve it. I especially liked the flexibility of the program and internship to pursue my interests and develop my skills within the natural sciences. From my experience in NRM, I have a real appreciation for the scientific method and community. It also taught me a lot of patience working in the field and in the lab. My favorite internship experience was the fen (rare wetland) characterization trip to the Rio Blanco District of the White River National Forest. We backpacked to dozens of fen sites and camped out for a week in the woods.
Today, I am working as a home energy advisor for EcoSmart Home Services in Connecticut. I follow up Solarcity installation jobs with a brief energy audit to qualify the install for federal rebates and to scientifically analyze the home and recommend other energy improvements. My biggest inspiration is to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, and protect the environment.
Alex McCarty || Colorado
I’m a Colorado native and I decided to come to Leadville specifically to study NRM. After working with two different conservation corps I knew I wanted to pursue a natural resource degree. Before I started the NRM program I thought I was only capable of obtaining a two-year degree. NRM gave me the knowledge and confidence complete my associates and transfer my credits toward the completion of a four-year Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Ecology and Biology. While I am still unsure of what exactly I plan on doing after I finish my degree, I know I am on a track to become a land steward.
The internship provided me with experience working directly with numerous federal, state, and private partners. It was an invaluable experience and I learned many practical applications to complement my coursework.
Ryan Walker || New Hampshire
Looking back at my initial desire to pursue a future in the environmental sciences, I couldn't be more pleased with my decision to start that journey with the NRM program at CMC Leadville. The coursework and internship provided me with a level hands-on field experience that most other programs just can't compete with. NRM at CMC provided me with a highly competitive skill set that has allowed me to go on to work as a U.S. Forest Service GIS/GPS technician in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, as well as a field researcher at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, CO. The coursework at CMC prepared and provided for a seamless transition into the Environmental Biology and Ecology degree program at Western State Colorado University and put me on the path to success.
2012 and Previous
Clayton Bolton (2012) || Iowa
Growing up I had always loved hunting, fishing, camping, and the outdoors in general. The NRM Program looked like a way to turn what I love into a job. While going to school at the Leadville campus, I not only got the opportunity to learn about the natural world but I also got paid to do it. The NRM summer internship was probably the most fun I’ve ever had while at “work.” Other people spend their work days in a cubicle answering emails while I hiked through the Rocky Mountains looking for alpine wetlands and measuring streamflow in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
After completing the program at CMC, I transferred to Colorado State University in order to continue my natural resources education. Because of the NRM program I have more field experience than most graduate students and have had job offers from the Forest Service, National Parks Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management. I graduate at the end of this semester and have a job as a range technician with the BLM waiting for me. If you’re considering a career in a natural resources related field then the NRM Program is definitely the best place to start.
Scott Deprekel (2011) || Michigan
I focused on GIS and survey-grade GPS while in the NRM Program and the Timberline Field Institute. After leaving the program, I went to work for an aerial survey company where I run the aerial sensors on survey flights. The data I collect is used to create National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial photos and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs).
Jackie Kniss (2011) || Ohio
After leaving the NRM Program and spending a summer as a field technician in the Timberline Field Institute, I started working as a field technician for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, researching big horn sheep. When I'm not in the field tracking big horn sheep as part of the “Over-the-river Project”, you can find me taking reservations for Arkansas River rafting trips.