The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Diversity in Conservation Internship Program provides meaningful, paid experiences for undergraduates interested in careers in natural resource conservation. The goals of this cohort-based program are to introduce students to the field of conservation and its career pathways, and to help strengthen the knowledge and skills of program participants to meet the need for diverse professionals in Wisconsin’s conservation field.

This year we are hosting ten interns, who are paired with Wisconsin conservation organizations for internship experiences. Additionally, interns receive weekly programming and attend field trips to connect them to Wisconsin’s natural resources and future career opportunities in conservation.

Let’s meet the 2024 Diversity in Conservation Internship cohort!

2024 Diversity in Conservation Internship cohort member holding two thumbs up while sitting on a rock during a hike

Alana Fisher is going into her third year at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently studying public health. She was born and raised in Milwaukee and is very active on campus as a commuter student. Next year, Alana will be the president of a student organization called Community of Creative Arts. She also works with the school’s Alumni Association and Women’s Resource Center. Alana is very excited to start her internship work with The Nature Conservancy in Milwaukee. Alana hopes that she will gain more knowledge on how to incorporate conservation into her possible career and lifestyle (and hopefully inspire others). In her free time, she likes to bike and explore different things such as food, art, nature and the city!

2024 Diversity in Conservation Internship cohort member holding up a peace sign while on a hike

Alicia Espino is a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in forest science. She was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and loves to spend time in nature, especially around different bodies of water. She is the vice president of the Madison Japanese Karate Club and currently has a green belt. In her free time, she loves to watch movies (especially if they’re animated), read books, dance, and listen to different kinds of music. She is very passionate about conserving wildlife because she believes that future generations deserve to see the beauty it holds. She’s looking forward to working with Gathering Waters this summer.

2024 Diversity in Conservation Internship cohort member smiling in front of a building with light blue window trimming

Cortnei Taylor is an upcoming Senior from Lawrence University majoring in psychology and minoring in ethnic studies. She is from the south suburbs of Chicago and enjoys cooking, painting, dancing, and nail artwork. Cort is ecstatic about this internship opportunity and is excited to connect with nature and the natural resources that Wisconsin offers! This summer, Cort will be working with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-Natural Heritage Conservation.

2024 Diversity in Conservation Internship cohort member at a brewers baseball game

Fiona Cranley is from Madison, Wisconsin and is an incoming Senior at Lawrence University double majoring in biochemistry and music. Although her major is biochemistry, conservation has been a huge interest of Fiona’s for as long as she can remember. Fiona is on the board of SLUG, the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden club at Lawrence. Through that club, she has learned numerous methods of conservation and sustainability. Fiona is particularly interested in climate change and the effects of it. In her free time, Fiona enjoys singing, playing trumpet, soccer, and gardening. Fiona will be working with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is excited to explore conservation more and potentially do further things with the experience she gains this summer.

2024 Diversity in Conservation Internship cohort member sitting on the steps of a building

Helena Bello is a junior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, double majoring in legal studies and environmental studies with a certificate in criminal justice. Helena was born and raised in Washington, DC where she found a passion for environmental justice and hopes to go to law school after her undergraduate studies to follow this passion. In her free time, she enjoys birdwatching, hiking, sewing, and photography. She is most excited about getting into field work, especially bird banding. Helena will be working with the Southern Wisconsin Bird Alliance this summer.

Isabel Liao is a sophomore at UW-Madison studying animal and veterinary biosciences. She is from the suburbs of Washington D.C., Maryland, and enjoys observing animals in their natural environments, especially birds. Isabel’s hobbies include kayaking, hiking, visiting museums (or aquariums!), and playing the oboe. She hopes to become a veterinarian and incorporate conservation into her career. This summer, she is excited to work with the UW-Madison Arboretum, where she will help care for the land that supports the animals she loves! Isabel looks forward to exploring the interconnectedness between community and environmental conservation.

woman with dark hair, a gray beanie, and black jacket stands smiling in front of a snowy field

Jamie Kollman is currently entering into her senior year at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying environmental ethics, policy, and science. She also is pursuing a minor in film (which started as her major). Jamie grew up in Muskego, Wisconsin. Additionally, she started a music appreciation club at UWM and is in the University Community Band. Music and the environment have always been two of her biggest passions. She also has a small photography business, and loves to travel. She will be working with the Wisconsin DNR as the Wildlife Management Intern, and is excited to try her hand at various areas within conservation and environmental stewardship.

man with dark hair, sunglasses, and a white shirt stands in front of green landscaping

Lauren DeGere is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying conservation biology with a certificate in environmental studies. They grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and love spending time outdoors when the weather is warmer, specifically at their cottage up north. They’re very passionate about protecting the environment and the animals in it, and finding different ways to live sustainably while doing the least harm. They’re excited to get their foot in the door with a career in conservation, and to explore the different opportunities available within the field. This summer, Lauren will be working with the International Crane Foundation as the Crane Conservation Intern.

man with dark hair, sunglasses, and a white shirt stands in front of green landscaping

Nyagam Wal is currently a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Madison, from Owatonna, Minnesota, studying conservation biology with certificates in global health and environmental studies. She is involved in UW-Madison’s Black Student Union and WISPIRG. Nyagam has a strong passion for the intersection of environmental conservation and human rights and hopes to pursue these areas in the future. Nyagam thoroughly enjoys reading, exploring, going on walks, and listening to music. She is extremely excited to gain connections throughout the program and gain more experience with conservation in general! This summer, Nyagam will be working at the Lake Michigan Bird Observatory.

man with dark hair, sunglasses, and a white shirt stands in front of green landscaping

Reece J Charles is a senior studying conservation and environmental science at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As an active member of UWM’s conservation club, Reece enjoys volunteering and helping the community. Additionally, Reece likes drawing, outdoor exploration, learning about the environment, and spending time with friends. Born in Minneapolis and raised in Madison, Reece is very passionate about the native wildlife of the Midwest. Specifically, they are interested in the conservation of diverse insects and birds that populate the area. This summer, they look forward to applying their knowledge and gaining first-hand experience in the field of conservation as they work with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.


This is our fourth year of the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program, and we are incredibly grateful to our many partners, including our academic partners Lawrence University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Our host organizations include Gathering WatersInternational Crane Foundation, The Nature Conservancy – Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, Southern Wisconsin Bird Alliance, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Lake Michigan Bird Observatory, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.


You can help provide a meaningful experience for future cohorts of interns in the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program by making a donation to the program online here. Thank you to the We Energies Foundation, the Schlecht Family Foundation, and NRF’s members for supporting this program.

Prepared by Lindsey Taylor, Conservation Programs Coordinator

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