Life as a TPWD Summer Intern

By Devin Davis, Summer Intern, Marketing

Being an intern for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is something special for everyone who participates. Not only are we steps away from our dream careers, we share memorable and fun experiences along the way. Intern duties range from alligator relocating to preserving historic natural sites. We all dip our feet into a little bit of everything with our particular TPWD group.


Matthew 'Smitty' Smith

Matthew “Smitty” Smith says he loves the time spent getting his hands dirty in the “nitty gritty” at Garner State Park.

“This internship has already provided so much for me in my pursuit of full-time work with TPWD,” Matthew says. His varied jobs include tending the landscape, fixing water leaks and helping clean up downed trees. He has been working on a trail project with the park host to assess trail signage and has visited other parks to learn about how they operate.


Justin Gallender and friend

Justin Gallender’s stint as a Texas Game Warden intern is quite an adventure for someone who is not afraid of alligators. He’s learned about boating operations and equipment handling and how to perform water safety inspections. He has also acquired knowledge on ticket writing, handling wildlife and boating registration. His work as a TPWD intern is constantly changing, which he says keeps it interesting for him. Justin graduated last May from Sam Houston State University, majoring in criminal justice with a minor in animal science.

Frances Franklin

Frances Franklin is a graduate student majoring in natural resource communications. She currently attends Stephen F. Austin State University, working on her master’s degree. She has learned to write website content and edit it on Google during her internship, as well as learning more about practicing safety in desert parks. Frances has been proofreading state park maps and updating Google alerts for state parks. Captioning TPWD educational videos and re-writing portions of park websites are also things she has learned to do. 


As for me, Devin Davis, I’m a student at Huston-Tillotson University, and being an intern for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been one of the best experiences of my college career. I did not want to intern anywhere else, so I thank myself every day for being patient enough to grab the opportunity to do so. 


All the 64 summer 2021 TPWD interns have worked hard to achieve our goals, whether virtually, outdoors or even in the water. As the summer comes to an end, most of us are finishing up our projects and preparing to share our experiences with others so they can have the same great experience at TPWD in the future.


To learn more about internships at TPWD, visit our website