SF State students can get cash, academic credit with Golden Gate National Park Conservancy internship


Rafael Vazquez, National Park Service education and outreach ranger, answers a question out of the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy information truck on Sept. 26, 2018 in front of the Student Services Building. (Lorenzo Morotti/Golden Gate Xpress)

The Golden Gate National Park Conservancy is offering paid, academic internships to underrepresented students through an ongoing partnership with SF State.

Mariajose Alcantara, community outreach and park ranger for the National Park Service, said students who apply before the Oct. 14 deadline could be accepted into one of 40 different internships pertaining to different majors come spring 2019.

“My job is to find underserved communities and minority groups throughout the city, the Bay Area, and connect them with outdoors,” Alcantara said.

Alcantara was providing information to students on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from the inside of the Golden Gate National Park information truck parked in front of the Student Services Building.

As someone from a Latinx community, Alcantara grew up with a shared perception that many of the parks were not made for her, she said.

“The outdoors has been stereotyped as a space for white, retired, middle-class people,” she said.

“So, we like to focus outreach on [minority] youth and newcomer communities, refugees and provide space for them. Because they belong in the parks and the parks belong to them.”

The National Park Service offers internship opportunities at Alcatraz, Crissy Field, Marin Headlands, Muir Woods and Fort Funston.

Students interns can make $50 per day and up to $150 per week. The program was created in partnership with SF State’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) five years ago, said Alcantara.

She and Rafael Vazquez, education and outreach park ranger, visit SF State every first or second Wednesday of the month.

Because internships are offered to students at the College of Marin and City College of San Francisco as well, the positions fill up quick, Alcantara said, but sometimes exceptions are made.

“Sometimes we may hire two or three interns for one department depending on its need.”