Internship Final Essay

The First of Many

As this semester abroad approaches the final curtain call, I look back and reflect on the 97 hours I spent at my internship with great fondness. It was an honor to have been placed in an internship here at the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park Headquarters. Throughout the duration of the semester, this internship opportunity consistently enabled me to grow in personal, professional, and academic respects.

This internship provided me with the opportunity to practice my ability to serve as a steward for environmental prosperity. In addition to my personal student project, my responsibilities worked towards dedicating my time and energy to upholding the mission of the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park Headquarters office.

My days were spent in a variety of activities, including conducting research on National Parks in Thailand, attending Park Ranger Protections Unit rope rescue trainings, trekking the Monthathan Nature Trail to collect data on maintenance, proofreading tourist information documents, touring the accommodation zone and visiting the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple. During the final month of my internship term, I completed my personal student project, and developed a legacy document for this position. The legacy document was created in order to assist my Supervisor and the future USAC interns with a smooth transition.

With the highest mentioning, it is overwhelmingly humbling that I was the first foreigner to work at the Headquarters office. The trust that was placed in me to be a strong representative was a privilege, and I carried that integrity into the workplace and throughout each task I was assigned. I consider myself the first of many, as I am even more thrilled to learn that next semester there will be two USAC interns to continue the great environmental work this position is capable of achieving.

Thank you to the USAC program Director Chaidarun “Jum” Tippawan, the USAC program assistant Malisa “Mali” Boonruang, and my supervisor Narissara “Kun Noki” Chatwatcharakul for this opportunity.

Advancing Zero-Waste

The Zero-Waste Student project turned out to be successful in terms of adoption, implementation, and utilization. This was the personal student project assigned to me at the beginning of the internship, and the system successfully reduced the environmental impact of the Headquarters office. The zero-waste project was aimed at reducing the amount of food waste being sent to the landfill, and the project quickly achieved this goal.

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park recently adopted policies to advance zero-waste practices, and I worked with the park team to create two compost systems for the natural treatment of wet-food waste. Following the installation of the zero-waste compost systems, I monitored and maintained the systems closely. The ultimate goal of both compost systems are to initiate composting practices that the office can easily utilize.

The compost system that was designed to work below the ground became very successful. This system featured a bin that did not have a bottom, it was a simple cylinder that fed directly into the ground. There were no holes on the sides of the bin. Inside, there was a layer for soil matter, a threshold for wet-food waste, and other materials in order to improve the composting process. This system was able to compost wetfood waste and gained popularity across the office.

Since the moment this compost system was installed below the ground, it was utilized frequently by the Headquarters office staff, and it proved to be an easy transition. The popularity of this design led me to build a second compost system below the ground, and we abandoned the bin for the compost system originally designed to work above the ground (previously described as the “first compost system” with details in the Internship Mid-Term Essay).

This project gave me happiness throughout the duration of the internship. I felt increasingly welcomed, encouraged, and inspired to continue my efforts in helping the Headquarters office advance zero-waste practices. My supervisor tried her best to promote the use of the compost systems as well, and motivated the Headquarters office staff to participate.

A Legacy for Future Interns

In the final weeks of my internship, I closely monitored both compost systems installed for the zero-waste project. In doing so, I realized that the long-term success of this project will be heavily reliant on the availability of a staff member to dedicate attention to the systems. After I am gone, a staff member is needed to identify any needs to balance wet-food waste with soil matter, improve the systems, and create additional components to maintain a healthy and natural compost process within these systems.

The need to maintain long-term success of the zero-waste project led me to create a legacy document for the internship position. Rather than a Headquarters office staff member inheriting project upkeep, these responsibilities will be passed to the next USAC interns. The legacy document I created for the internship position provides details of the compost system in an organized fashion, and instructions on how to identify maintenance needs of the project.

The primary goal of the legacy document is to deliver clear and concise information neatly in one packet for my Supervisor, the USAC office, and the interns next semester. This document is extensively focused on preparing the new student interns for their role. Since I am the first foreigner and USAC student to intern at the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park Headquarters office, I found it necessary to create a legacy document for the position. This document includes a description of responsibilities, a summary of the zero-waste project, a composting guideline for the systems, and helpful tips for the new interns to plan their own student projects. I included my personal contact information on the legacy document incase anyone needs to ask me questions after I return to the United States.

Thank you, again, to the USAC program Director Chaidarun “Jum” Tippawan, the USAC program assistant Malisa “Mali” Boonruang, and my supervisor Narissara “Kun Noki” Chatwatcharakul for this opportunity. Every day, I become increasingly humbled and honored to have had this experience, and I will truly miss working at the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park Headquarters office.