Extension Internships Help UNH Students Acquire Professional Jobs

UNH alumni pursue careers that strengthen communities and economies
Stacks of coins with plants appearing to grow from them, next to a wooden model house

Internships with UNH Extension provide valuable work experience and networking opportunities to students while serving the needs of New Hampshire people and communities. Two recent UNH alumni who benefited from internships with the community and economic development program provide insight into their respective paths.

Mason TwomblyMason Twombly ’17

Mason Twombly ’17 graduated from UNH with a Bachelor of Science in community and environmental planning. He now works as a regional environmental planner for the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, which serves 13 municipalities including Nashua, Hudson, Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Litchfield, Lyndeborough, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Pelham and Wilton. 

What was your internship experience like with UNH Extension? What kinds of projects did you work on?

I interned for the community and economic development program starting in summer of 2015 and ending in early 2016. While working there I researched economic development project case studies, performed data entry of business retention surveys, digitized meeting notes and responses, performed data collection for the First Impressions Program and scribed for charettes.

How did your internship experience help you with your current position with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC)?

I developed a lot of skills with Extension that I now need working in the public sector. I was able to do data collection and analysis, which is present in almost every aspect of my job at NRPC. I attended and scribed for charrettes and community meetings, which helped me understand the application of planning principles in the real world.

 

Tyler Quinn-SmithTyler Quinn-Smith ’18

Tyler Quinn-Smith ’18 graduated from UNH with a Bachelor of Science in community and environmental planning and EcoGastronomy. He now serves as a program associate for Smart Growth America on the Land Use and Development team. Smart Growth America is a nonprofit based out of Washington, DC that aims to help build cities, towns and neighborhoods that are economically prosperous, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.

What was your internship experience like with UNH Extension? What kinds of projects did you work on?

I had an excellent internship experience my senior spring (January-May 2018). I worked closely with Molly Donovan and Casey Porter on program evaluations of First Impressions and Business Expansion/Retention.

I interviewed community and economic development staff from several New Hampshire municipalities that had participated in Extension programs over the previous 1-4 years. I also reviewed minutes from planning board meetings and economic development commission meetings for any mention of the programs. I gathered feedback on the programs' effectiveness and assessed outcomes. This information was used to improve Extension’s work in the future.

Part of my internship hours were spent on the First Impressions project for Dover. This was completed by the Planning Student Organization, of which I was president at the time, in partnership with Extension. We presented the key findings of the assessment to the Dover City Council and planning staff and as a poster presentation during the undergraduate research conference.

How did your internship experience help you with your current position at Smart Growth America?

It gave me confidence to interview and present to planning and community development professionals. I also developed an understanding of some of the factors limiting a community's success and challenges when turning recommendations and assessment reports into actions. But more than anything else, I experienced the satisfaction of clear progress in community and economic development.

For example, some of the communities that had received Extension’s reports 2-4 years prior had already acted on some of their recommendations—whether that was pedestrian safety improvements, programming for downtown businesses like an arts/river walk (e.g. Littleton) or an apprenticeship program with local high school or college students—and that was really powerful.

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