Career Moves: Kailey Casl ’24 credits the SPDC for her success in finding an internship in Yellowstone National Park

Casl landed an internship with Xanterra Travel Collection this past summer, an accomplishment she attributes to her time spent in the Student Professional Development Center.

Kailey Casl ’24, who is studying communication design with a creative writing minor, had her heart set on working in a national park for the summer of 2022. She achieved her goal of finding an internship in a national park, more specifically Yellowstone National Park, by accepting a position as a hospitality intern for Xanterra Travel Collection in Yellowstone.

Kailey Casl ’24

Casl praises Elon’s Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) as a source of encouragement and advice throughout her internship search and interview process.

Through her 10-week experience with Xanterra, Kailey gained a greater understanding of hotel operations while cycling through six different roles. Kailey worked closely with the marketing team to write blog posts, visit on-site park facilities, and complete lodging finance and management classes, among other responsibilities.

We recently asked Casl to answer some questions about her experience working with the SPDC and subsequently landing her dream internship.

How did your interest in working for Xanterra develop?

I knew that I wanted to intern in a national park for the summer of 2022, but I wasn’t sure how to achieve this. My search began by researching which national parks offered internship programs that fit my needs. I then narrowed down my search to one role – hospitality intern for Xanterra Travel Collection in Yellowstone National Park.

When you met with the Student Professional Development Center staff, what were you trying to accomplish?

I met with Corinne Townley for a mock interview appointment to brush up on my interviewing skills and practice presenting myself in a professional yet personable manner. I had my heart set on this internship position and knew that I needed to impress in my interview. Corinne asked me a series of potential questions and afterward we reviewed where and how I could improve.

Tell me about your experience in landing this opportunity with Xanterra.

After applying for the role, I had two phone interviews, both about a half hour in length. I spoke with the International Programs Manager, who would later become my program director. I credit a lot of my interviewing success to practicing with Corinne, sending a thank you note, and expressing a lot of interest in the role.

What specific things about the company culture made an impression on you?

I was impressed by Xanterra’s commitment to sustainability. Xanterra’s employees work hard to embody their slogan, “hospitality with a softer footprint”. This stuck with me because not many major companies have a clear sustainability plan and initiative.

Looking forward, how has your professional experience influenced your career aspirations and academic pursuits back on campus?

Before spending time in Yellowstone, I had assumed that post-grad I would find a full-time position in a city like New York. Post-Yellowstone, my career aspirations have expanded to finding the right location for me. Slowing down for the summer helped me to realize that I may not want the fast-paced lifestyle of a major city and that I could be happy in a role out West, which I hadn’t considered prior to my internship.

What recommendations would you share with other students about the Student Professional Development Center?

Make an appointment today! All students searching for an internship, looking to maximize their LinkedIn profiles, or updating their resume should know that the Student Professional Development Center is the place to go for all things career development!