Photo: Casey VanFossen

This summer, Casey VanFossen was hard at work supporting Glacier’s Cultural Resources program. A rising student earning her Master of Science in Engineering, Casey filled a void this summer by performing a variety of legacy data preservation efforts in a unique internship opportunity. Some of this critical work included digitizing paper records and photographs, visiting historic bridges to identify preservation needs, and assessing wastewater management alternatives in the park’s backcountry.

Your generous donations to the Glacier Conservancy continue to provide professional development opportunities for students like Casey. The goal of this internship program is to provide opportunities for students in the fields of anthropology, archeology, architecture, landscape design, and museum studies. Not only does this program benefit young professionals and help further their skills; Glacier’s Cultural Resources program also greatly benefits from these interns addressing pressing projects.

Keep reading to learn more from the program manager, Sierra Mandelko, and hear about how this summer went.

Engaging Students In Their Field of Study

“Casey VanFossen’s internship in Historic Architecture during 2020 is a success,” reflects Sierra Mandelko, program manager and Cultural Resources Specialist for Glacier National Park. There were many challenges to overcome during this “unusual” summer season, but the team was able to persevere.

“[Casey was] hired to address legacy data preservation through funding provided by the Glacier National Park Conservancy,” Sierra continues. “She was tasked with gaining a broad spectrum of understanding about National Park Service architecture and engineering while working to preserve historic resources and legacy data such as paper records, images, and physical buildings and systems. Casey also explored themes relevant to her career aspirations including water quality, air monitoring, and the park’s wastewater management systems.”

The sun sets behind a mountain range with an alpine lake in the foreground

Photo: NPS

“One of her focus projects included historic bridge preservation,” Sierra reflects. “Glacier National Park and National Park Service Denver Service Center have teamed up to repair bridges throughout the park. Casey met with team members during a week-long review, working alongside professional engineers and historic architecture specialists from the service and the private sector.”

A team of scientists stand along the shore of a river in mountainous backcountry

Photo: NPS

Historic bridge preservation work in Glacier National Park.

“We are providing an invaluable opportunity to interns and recent graduates by providing opportunities to work among professionals and to allow space to explore avenues for future career paths.”

Sierra Mandelko, Glacier National Park Cultural Resources Specialist

A team of scientists inspect a backpack on a crew member while wading in a river

Photo: Casey VanFossen

Casey VanFossen completed her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering in spring 2020. Casey is currently completing her Master of Science in Engineering with a concentration of sustainable water engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. She hopes to pursue a career that acts to preserve natural water systems, begin to convert ecologically extractive land development to ecologically restorative, and incorporate sustainable water resources management practices in urban areas.

Your Support Makes A Difference

This project and many other critical projects would not be possible without your donations to the Glacier Conservancy.

Learn more about how your support is making other projects possible in Glacier National Park!