CEDAR CITY, Utah – The National Park Service (NPS) recognized Southern Utah University’s Director of Outdoor Engagement, Dr. Briget Eastep, as a recipient of the 2016 Director’s Partnership Award. The Director’s Partnership Award is a distinguished honor from Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the NPS.
According to the NPS website, the award is given to partners who demonstrate “innovation, leadership, and expertise… and the many lives they touch through their initiatives, programs, and activities.” These achievements have led to “an ever growing community of National Park Service supporters and advocates.”
As the Director of Outdoor Engagement, Eastep received this recognition because of her work for SUU’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC), which develops tomorrows public land leaders today.
“When I received the award I was completely surprised,” said Eastep. “After the surprise wore off, I looked around the room at the Outdoor Recreation Summit and saw students, colleagues, and friends who have all helped build the IIC. I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the learning community we’ve created.”
Eastep was a founding member of the IIC in 2007 and helped place 15 students in internships during the first year. Now the IIC has grown to offering roughly 300 internships in regional and public lands with more than $6 million in cooperative agreement funding. The IIC partners with 19 federal and state land agencies, the Paiute Tribe, and SUU to place students into employment, internship, and volunteer positions. These opportunities provide ‘real world’ work experience that can complement a student’s academic pursuits and help prepare them for a successful career in public lands.
“Right now I am researching how the IIC can adapt and grow so we can develop the next generation of conservation professionals,” said Eastep. “If our students are successful, we are successful.”
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