Catawba College Signs Partnership with National Forests in North Carolina

Catawba College is excited to announce a new five (5) year partnership agreement with all U.S. Forest Service units in North Carolina - Croatan, Nantahala, Pisgah, and Uwharrie National Forests. These four units cover approximately one million acres and stretch from mountains to coast. National Forests include some of the most visited and iconic spots in North Carolina, such as Sliding Rock, Uwharrie National Recreation Trail, Roan Mountain, Cradle of Forestry, and Linville Falls.

Catawba College students of all majors can participate in the program, with special interest in recreation, GIS, forestry, communications, marketing, IT, conservation, natural resources, archeology, environmental education, and more.  It is a great opportunity for anyone interested in starting a career with the Forest Service, its partners, or other federal agencies, such as the National Park Service.

Current Catawba College student intern, Carter Mayhew ’25, works with the Uwharrie National Forest in identifying and collecting GPS data on campgrounds and campsites within the Forest. “The position has been fun and challenging yet rewarding, “said Mayhew. “I immediately got an opportunity to use skills I learned in class to help manage our state’s natural resources. I was paid for time spent outdoors in some of the most beautiful areas of North Carolina, while developing professional skills and connections. It was an ultimate win-win experience.”

An additional benefit to this partnership is that qualifying students are eligible for Public Land Corps hiring authority. The Public Land Corps authority is a non-compete hiring authority for Forest Service positions, a benefit that expedites the hiring process for federal positions. The authority enables interns to compete for certain federal positions as if they are already a federal employee and gives them advance notice of open positions. This will give Catawba College graduates a leg up in moving into federal government positions.

Dr. Jay Bolin, Dean of the Natural Sciences at Catawba College, believes this could be a life-changing opportunity for several students a year. “Less than five colleges and universities in the State have this Partnership agreement," said Bolin. "This gives students a unique opportunity to quickly attain excellent federal jobs around the country immediately upon graduation.”

More information about the partnership may be found on Catawba's website at https://catawba.edu/usfs/ . For inquiries, please contact Dr. Andrew Jacobson, Catawba College Assistant Professor of GIS and Conservation: https://www.catawba.edu/andrew-jacobson/.