PWSC's Vicki Heisser interviews Kaylee Rodriguez.
Catching up with Kaylee Rodriguez
PWSC: Hey Kaylee, thank you for doing this interview. So, what have you been doing since you completed your intern position with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)?
Kaylee: After my internship with BLM, I continued taking classes at PWSC in the fall of 2017. However, mid-semester, life happened. I found out I was pregnant. The staff at PWSC were so supportive and reassured me everything was going to be okay. The instructors even worked with me to come up with a plan so I would be able to finish all of my classes after I made the decision to go to the lower 48. The PWSC staff went above and beyond for me, and without that support, I am not sure where I would be today. A few short months later, I moved to Montana where my baby girl, Arctic, was born.
PWSC: Now, I know that you took some time off, are you back in school?
Kaylee: Yes, I took one semester of school off to have my baby girl. During the summer of 2018, I started talking to my academic advisor. She sent me an email about different paths I could take for continuing my education. She talked me through scheduling distance classes for the upcoming semester. Now I am back in school, more determined than ever to finish and even further my education!
PWSC: Will you be graduating soon?
Kaylee: Yes. I am very excited to say, I will be graduating next semester, spring 2019. Even though I got pregnant in college, I did not let it define me. This would not be possible without the support the PWSC staff have shown me.
PWSC: What are your plans when you finish school?
Kaylee: My plans after graduating from PWSC are to get a job at one of the local federal agencies (BLM, National Park Service, etc.). After interning at BLM, I decided that I want to work at a federal agency. Once I really figure out what I want my career to be, I plan to go back to school to further my education.
PWSC: How was your internship? What were the skills that you learned from Prince William Sound College, and how did your coursework help you during the internship?
My internship with BLM was amazing, hands down the best summer of my life. Quite often, I found myself using the knowledge learned from the classes at PWSC in the field. For example, I used the skills learned in my Intro to Safety and Risk class before every hike. We would create an assessment of all the potential risks that could happen while we were on the trail. I was able to actively participate in creating the risk assessment form because I was familiar with it from my class. With my Wilderness First Responders class, I felt confident that I could help someone in need if a problem arose.
PWSC: What skills did you walk away with after you completed your internship?
Kaylee: Interning at BLM opened my eyes to the fact that there are many jobs out there perfect for anyone that likes to work outdoors. I left BLM with a wide variety of skills such as, basic aviation skills, teamwork skills, effective listening and communication skills, and it helped improve my leadership skills. I walked away with skills I will use for the rest of my life.
PWSC: Any advice for a new time mom wanting to continue her education?
Kaylee: If I could give advice for mothers wanting to go back to school, it would be that you having a child should not stop, but motivate you. True dedication, proper time management, and effort is all you need! Some days are harder than others are, but no matter what, I make myself do at least one homework assignment around the same time every night. Currently, I am almost 5 weeks into this semester, and I have not missed an assignment yet!