Sylvia Royen

Academic Spotlight
Sylvia Royen in the forest wearing a yellow hard hat, a beige scarf, red coat and an orange vest.


 "I think internships are integral to anyone’s career, and every college student should have at least one internship or service learning experience before they graduate. It gives students a great perspective on what they’re getting into. It also gives students job experience that they can include on their resume, as well as potential professional references.”
- Sylvia Royen, Environmental Science and Management Major

INTERNSHIP: Redwood National and State Parks 

Playing with Fire:

Sylvia worked as an intern under the fire ecologist for Redwood National Park, measuring the effects of a prescribed burn. In order to measure the effects of the burn she had to trek through the burn unit, which included hills with an 85% slope, some times covered in snow. She took standard forest and fire measurements in variable-radius  permanent plots, including recording data on tree damage, percent volume of a tree crown that had been scorched, height of basal (tree trunk) scorch, regeneration (presence of seedlings), diameter at chest height on live trees with significant growth, and presence and depth of fuels. She also took photographs in four cardinal directions and of the canopy.

Getting the Fire Started: 

Sylvia learned about the internship opportunity through    an    email    from  the   Environmental Science and Management Department. She hopes to work with the National or State Park system when she graduates, so the opportunity to work with Redwood National Park as an undergraduate seemed like perfect preparation for her future career.

Benefits and Challenges:

Sylvia had never been out in the field before, and her internship experience taught her a lot of useful little things, like wearing the proper clothing and having good gear for bad weather. She found the demanding hours the most challenging aspect of the experience. She had never before worked 4 days a week, 10 hours a day. When asked about how it helped her, she said, “even though it was the most challenging part of this internship, I learned that I could face the challenge of a long, arduous work day.”

Fanning the Flames:

Sylvia gained valuable professional perspective in  her  internship.  She  said,  “Thanks  to this internship I now know that I want to specialize  in  forest   restoration   in   my   career, and I already  have  exposure to  novel  management  techniques.”