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Human Resources Intern Experience

Human Resources Intern Experience

Written by: , October 25th, 2023
Categories: People

In Their Own Words

Tricia Lee spent the summer of 2023 in Yellowstone’s bustling HR office. She recaps her experience for us highlighting both the challenges and rewards and offering a bird’s eye view of what an internship can offer you.

Share a little about yourself (where you are from, school, past experiences, etc…) and how you came to work in Yellowstone.

My name is Tricia Lee and I am from Lockport, IL (a southwest suburb of Chicago). I am a developing HR professional whose passion is to become a helper of the corporate world and to be a great listening ear to my fellow coworkers. I have recently graduated in May 2023 from Michigan State University with two degrees: a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Leadership of Organizations and a B.A. in Human Capital and society. While in school, I was an active member of the MSU Society of Human Resources Management as well as the Psychology Club. Before working at Yellowstone, I was in an HR co-op position at Lansing Board of Water and Light, a utility company in the area. I was able to find open roles working in Yellowstone by a Xanterra representative reaching out to me via Handshake (a great tool for those in or recently out of college by the way).

What three words describe your internship this summer?

1. Dynamic
2. Rewarding
3. Unparalleled

What have you enjoyed most about working here?

What I enjoyed most about working with Xanterra in Yellowstone this past season was the opportunity to work closely with the Bridge Student Exchange program. Getting an opportunity to experience Global HR and meet others from countries I have never been to was extremely eye-opening. I was grateful to be able to improve upon the J-1 student experience at Yellowstone and contribute to those memories they will be sharing with their family and friends when they return home after the summer (all while making amazing memories of my own!).

How did you grow in your internship this summer?

I grew significantly while being in my position with Xanterra. I was able to gain confidence in myself and my work capabilities to really create a solid foundation for the beginning of my HR career. I used to feel very unsure about myself and I had doubts about whether or not my contributions were really making an impact on the company, but I can now say with pride that I was able to provide a lasting effect on the HR team at Xanterra. The Gardiner HR team really allowed me to have my own independence and take my own initiative on projects giving me that confidence.

What was your favorite part of your internship?

My favorite part of my internship was my mentor and supervisor, Cat Labelle. The internship would have been nothing in comparison without her guidance. Cat made my experience enjoyable and full of learning opportunities. Her open-door policy helped me greatly and always made me feel heard while in the office. She was always willing to listen to my ideas and let me take the lead on projects. Getting to have a manager who was also my friend was definitely the highlight of my time in Yellowstone.

What do you feel like you took away from this internship?

I learned SO much during my internship. Not only did I get to increase my knowledge about the depths of the HR world, I also got to learn a lot about the hospitality industry. Being on the HR side within the hospitality industry allowed me to see how the inner programs and projects were actually applied and designed. I feel comfortable now within this industry and look forward to seeing where this knowledge takes me. Additionally, helping to address real concerns and questions was incredibly beneficial to me. You always go through scenarios in classes, but being able to actually apply what I have learned and adjust my tactics as I go through it was eye-opening. Being able to handle employees who needed help on my own eventually let me have the experience I needed to develop my path to becoming an HR professional.

Share one of your favorite employee stories.

One of my favorite employee stories happened on a cultural trip I took the international students on. We went on a swimming trip and it was just so much fun! Hanging out on the beach, enjoying the beautiful view, getting to tell stories of life in our respective countries, trying cultural snacks, and more! It was such a great time getting to know the students and will always be a memory I will never forget with my fellow employees.

What did you like to do in your spare time in the park?

When I wasn’t working, I really tried to hang out with my new friends as much as possible. Whether that be exploring the park and the surrounding areas/towns, going animal watching, doing activities like kayaking, or just grabbing a drink at the employee pub. I absolutely loved going camping and would highly recommend for others to spend the night under the stars when visiting the park!

What advice would you have for a new employee in terms of taking advantage of their experience?

Always say yes! If coworkers are asking you to go on a hike after your shift, if your friends want to take advantage of your off days and head out on a camping trip, if people you just met want to go hammock in the trees by the dorm, always say yes! There is nothing stopping you from going out and making your time at Yellowstone the best it can be and it all starts with you saying yes. If you limit yourself, you will never be able to come home after your season saying “You won’t believe what I did this summer!”  Also, take advantage of the employee recreation program, YCERP, as much as you can! If you have no plans on a given day, YCERP will always have something going on for you.

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