11 July 2023

New Opportunity

Written by: AJ Vielma

I recently began a new journey with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the help of the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF). My time with this new experience has been somewhat unconventional compared to a typical office job, but I believe in fully embracing any opportunity that comes to me as it can be beneficial to my personal and professional growth. 


During my first month as a fellow, I’ve had the chance to travel for numerous training opportunities. On my first day I went on a site visit to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and was able to learn in real time the process of how a project happens. The in-person experience was valuable asI was able to watch the team discuss how their plans on paper will come into fruition for the refuge.  


The second training I attended was visitor services training at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I felt nervous attending this training as I was new compared to other people attending the training who have had years of experience under their belt, but I knew that in situations like this, there is much to gain. This training gave me the opportunity to meet many people who work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service across different regions, Hispanic Access staff and fellow HAF interns. I learned about past intern’s experiences throughout their internship which better informed me of  the responsibilities of visitor services  and what their day-to-day entails.


The last training I attended was an infrastructure management training in Fergus Falls at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. Before this training, I have never been to the Midwest nor have I had the opportunity to travel outside of California for work.  I am grateful for the training opportunity and also the opportunity to travel to Minnesota. I had the chance to meet my fellow infrastructure management cohort and staff from other regions. Through the training I gained experience on the systems and databases I will be using in the future during this internship. I was also able to see the natural and urban landscape of Minnesota which was an enriching experience as I had the opportunity to step away from the California bubble 


I have an upcoming trip to San Diego where I will be supporting [ insert team name or name of team members]  with Latino Conservation Week at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I am sure that I will learn plenty on this trip as well. Once that event is over, I look forward to coming back to Sacramento and getting more hands on with working with the trails inventory. In the past month, I have been able to speak to so many people who love what they do and learn about the processes, systems, and people needed to carry out projects. There is going to be more opportunity for growth and experiences to gain from this internship and I am super excited for it. 

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Contact Us