Demmer Scholars Program: Fresh faces in the USDA Forest Service

by Sophie Morin, Demmer Scholar, National Partnership Office, USDA Forest Service

WASHINGTON, DC – As the sun starts to set behind the Lincoln Memorial, 30 wide-eyed undergraduate students stare in awe as they look toward the United States Capitol. The sight is a glimpse of what will become a summer of collaboration, hard-work, and adventure in Washington, D.C., as they begin internships.

These interns are part of the William A. Demmer Scholars Program, which pairs students with internships focusing on natural resources and policy. This summer marks the program’s 10th year.

Five of the interns will work for the Forest Service and discussed what they are hoping to learn this summer.

Morgan Alexander

“I hope to learn more about natural resource policy, how it affects people on all levels, and how to engage people and raise their awareness about nature and their role in the ecosystem.” Alexander is from Jackson, Mississippi, and attends Mississippi State University. She is pursuing a major wildlife fisheries and aquaculture and has a minor in religion. She will be working with the Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air and Rare Plants staff.

Shelby Daigle

“I am here with the Forest Service working with the Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources staff. I am here this summer hoping to figure out what type of jobs are out there in the environmental world. I also want to see if the federal government is an employer I want to work for or if I want to work in the private sector.” Daigle is from Nashville, TN, and attends Mississippi State University. She is studying environmental economics and management, while pursuing a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Environment and Sustainability.  

Sophie Morin

“I am excited to be living and interning in D.C. this summer through the Demmer Scholars Program with the National Partnership Office at the Forest Service. I hope to learn more about the partnerships currently in place within the agency as well as potential partnerships.” Morin is from Portage, MI, and attends Michigan State University. She is studying environmental studies and sustainability with a minor in Spanish.

Nia Sims

“I will be working for the Forest Service with the Legislative Affairs staff. I hope to get a greater understanding of policy as it relates to social justice as well as possibly have a job by the end of the summer.” Sims is from Clinton, MS, and recently graduated from Mississippi State University. She received degrees in political science and liberal arts.

Molly Terry

“As a Demmer Scholar, I have been given the opportunity to work at International Programs with the Forest Service this summer. I hope to learn more about what the Forest Service can contribute as well as what I can gain from working internationally through study tours and seminars.” Terry is from Jackson, MS, and studying international business marketing and Spanish at Mississippi State University.

The program is an outgrowth of the Boone and Crockett Club, named after former club president and philanthropist William A. Demmer. Over the years, Demmer and his wife Linda have provided the means for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent grads, to experience this program in D.C. In addition, the program includes a weekly class of lectures, discussions and presentations led by a former Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment that focuses on natural resource policy.


From left to right: Shelby Daigle, Sophie Morin, Molly Terry, Nia Sims, and Morgan Alexander stand with each other after a trip to the Newseum—the first of the Demmer Scholars field trips. Photo courtesy of Emma Costantino.