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Earth Team Volunteer Program Provides Working Experience for College Student

story by Quenna Terry and Trisha Williams

Trisha Williams, an agricultural communications student at Texas Tech University (TTU) started a semester internship working as an Earth Team student volunteer for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in January. Currently a senior at TTU, she will be assisting in the communications discipline through May 15 in Lubbock.

Williams is only one of over 595,000 Earth Team Volunteers in the nation who are gaining experience and working alongside NRCS personnel to help people learn to better manage natural resources.

Williams was raised primarily in Seagraves, west of Lubbock, and graduated from Seagraves High School in 2008. Following graduation, she attended South Plains College where she received an Associate's of Science before she transferred to TTU. She will complete her Bachelor's of Science in Agricultural Communications in May. She is working under the supervision of Quenna Terry, the NRCS public affairs specialist in the Lubbock zone office.

Williams has been nominated to serve in the Peace Corps in Sub Saharan Africa for 27 months. During her service, she will be working in the field of applied agriculture to improve conservation methods and agricultural safety in the community.

Williams said she hopes that her experience working with NRCS will better prepare her to complete her duties as a Peace Corps volunteer and provide the beginning of a strong foundation for career possibilities once she returns to the U.S. in 2014.

"I am very excited to be working alongside the men and women at NRCS," Williams said. "The experience is something that I could not get in the classroom and it aligns perfectly with my goals."

Although Williams works mostly with outreach and communication efforts for NRCS, other Earth Team Volunteers are involved in areas such as clerical work, information technology, conservation education, and field work.

Every Earth Team Volunteer's experience is different and, as in Williams' case, is crafted towards the desires and talents of the volunteer. Assignments can range from a simple one-time experience, to a complex long-term duty.

Williams said she strongly encourages others to seek out internship and volunteer opportunities, especially while they are in school.

"While you're in school, it is easy to become overwhelmed," Williams said, "but, being an Earth Team Volunteer is something that looks great on your resume and is exciting and fun."

Tammy McCain, NRCS Zone 1 Earth Team Volunteer Coordinator in Lubbock, also encourages volunteer involvement. McCain said she is always looking for new volunteers, and reminds everyone that the experience is for anyone 14 years of age and older, not just for students.

"Being an Earth Team Volunteer is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in conserving and protecting our natural resources," McCain said. "It is a place to put their skills to good use or learn new skills."


Trisha Williams, Earth Team Volunteer, shakes prospective volunteer's hand at Texas Tech Career Fair. Earth Team Volunteer sets up the NRCS booth at a local career fair.

Trisha Williams, Earth Team Volunteer, shakes prospective volunteer's hand at Texas Tech Career Fair.

Earth Team Volunteer sets up the NRCS booth at a local career fair.

NRCS Earth Team Volunteer, Trisha Williams will be assisting the communications discipline through May 15.

NRCS Earth Team Volunteer, Trisha Williams will be assisting the communications discipline through May 15.