Interview by Vicki Heisser
Chyna Denney is soon to graduate from PWSC with an Outdoor Leadership, Associate of Applied Science. Chyna is spending her summer earning her internship credit with Pangaea Adventures in Valdez, Alaska. She was interviewed by PWSC’s Vicki Heisser on her experience as an intern so far.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from San Diego, CA. I’ve been living in Valdez for the past two years and have become obsessed with exploring the outdoors since. On my days off, I love to wander around Valdez and find places I haven’t been to yet. Surprisingly, after two years I’m still finding new spots to explore.
What got you interested in the PWSC Outdoor Studies Program?
It started when I saw a degree for Adventure Filmmaking. I didn’t realize it was a part of the Outdoor Studies program, so when I was picking classes for the first semester it was a shock to me that I wasn’t taking regular classes like English and Math. Ha! I’m glad I stuck with the program because since my first semester I’ve been exposed to so many wonderful classes such as Mountaineering and Crevasse Rescue.
Tell us about your coursework and in what ways has it been relevant to your internship with Pangaea Adventures?
A lot of my coursework has helped me gain insight on what it means to be a leader in the outdoor industry. I’m fortunate to have opportunities to guide with Pangaea Adventures, which allows me to use the skills I have developed such as public speaking, safety and risk management, Leave No Trace principles, and water safety and rescue techniques.
What skills have you gained from this experience?
I have gained so much from this experience. I have not only learned what it means to be out in the field guiding, but also all the work that goes into it before getting out. Working in the office has shown me scheduling, facilitating the waiver process, payments, and how to pitch the right tour.
Pangaea Adventures on applying for an internship position:
The internship position with Pangaea is ideal for people light on experience with guiding or sea kayaking, but looking for a foothold in the industry. Starting with the Outdoor Leadership program at PWSC is a great start. Sometimes our interns are here earning credit for their college programs, but it is not required. The internship is a well-rounded position, involving lots of office time answering phone calls and emails, making reservations, taking payments, and coordinating our water taxi and guide schedule. Interns also spend their time on gear maintenance, deck handling, shuttling guests, and as a guide assistant.
For students who are interested in learning more about internships at Pangaea can contact them at 835-8442.
For students who are interested in learning more about internship opportunities, contact Program Coordinator Vicki Heisser at 834-1667 or email@example.com.