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Not Your Average Summer: Creating Sustainable Outdoor Experiences

victoria hikes at Yellowstone - Not Your Average Summer: Creating Sustainable Outdoor Experiences - College of Natural Resources News NC State University

Victoria Fuda is a senior majoring in parks, recreation and tourism management at the NC State College of Natural Resources. This summer, Fuda is participating in a sustainable hospitality internship at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is the country’s first national park, and at 3,472 square miles, it extends from Wyoming into parts of Montana and Idaho. We recently spoke with Fuda about her internship experience and what she’s learned so far. Check it out below.

What kinds of things are doing during your internship?

I am currently interning with Xanterra Travel Collection in Yellowstone National Park. I am one of the hospitality interns in the park and am stationed in Canyon Village, which is named after the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, one of the most breathtaking views within the park. I was placed in the “lodging” track of the internship, so I have been mostly working as a porter throughout the lodges and other public areas within the village. In this role, I was promoted to a lead position, so I have the opportunity to work more closely with location and operation managers. 

How did you find out about this internship and why were you interested in it?

I found out about this internship through online searches. Throughout winter break, I started my internship search because I wanted to ensure I had the opportunity to work with a company that I supported, doing work that would further my education outside of the classroom. I chose this specific internship because as a student studying sustainable tourism, I knew that working in the hospitality industry within Yellowstone National Park would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I love seeking out new adventures, so what better way to spend my summer than living in our country’s first national park.

In what ways did the College of Natural Resources prepare you for this internship?

One of the main ways that the College of Natural Resources prepared me for this experience was all of the opportunities for collaboration within my classes. The professors and instructors within the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management have continuously discussed the importance of teamwork within workplaces in our industry and have provided us with the tools necessary to develop those skills.

What are your long-term goals and how does this internship factor in?

Post-graduation, I want to pursue a career where I am able to work with developing communities to improve and develop the tourism presence for the benefit of the local community. The tourism industry has the ability to positively impact locations worldwide if it is organized sustainably. Otherwise, it has the potential to negatively impact these communities environmentally, economically, and socially. This internship has given me the opportunity to see first hand the process of operations within a large lodging department where the company prioritizes the natural environment. With this experience and knowledge, I will be more qualified and able to analyze current tourism destinations and determine where and how changes can be made. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while at NC State?

The most important thing that I have learned at NC State is that with hardwork and determination you can make a career out of your passions. The professors, faculty, and staff of the College of Natural Resources have been so supportive and helpful as I’ve navigated my area of study and career goals. With the enthusiasm and motivation of these individuals, I have been able to change, alter, and grow my dreams. Following our motto of Think and Do, I know that with the skills and knowledge gained from our university, I will be able to be successful in a career doing what I love.