12 Jobs That Support Interior’s Unique Mission

5/6/2022

Earth, water, air, fire — Interior covers it all! Our mission is a unique one and we have an impressive and diverse team that works hard to achieve it every day. 

In honor of Public Service Recognition Week and to spotlight the role that Interior plays in how the United States stewards its public lands, increases environmental protections, pursues environmental justice and honors our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes, here are 12 jobs that support Interior’s unique mission.

Realty Officer – Bureau of Indian Affairs

W Smith stands with a plaque next to the DOI seal.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ mission is to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives.

BIA employees have fulfilling careers serving in over 180 duty stations across 25 states throughout Indian Country. 

Deputy Regional Realty Officer John “JW” Smith supports 34 Tribes with processing real estate transactions. Employees in the realty field bring excellent communication, research and analytical skills and are great team members. With 20 years of government service logged, JW applies his expertise to one of the most important functions of the BIA that is essential to Tribal self-determination.  

Learn about the Realty Officer (1170) occupation series. 

Program Analyst – Bureau of Indian Education

Group of people sit at a table with flags in the background.

Katherine Campbell (middle) participates in the National Boys and Girls Club of America Summit. Photo courtesy of Katherine Campbell.

The Bureau of Indian Education is responsible for serving over 48,800 American Indian and Alaska Native students across 23 states. The bureau provides nearly 4,500 jobs and operates 183 schools. BIE educators, program staff, superintendents and other professionals are committed to improving education in Indian Country and inspiring the next generation of Indian leaders. BIE employees enjoy a range of career opportunities and engage in cultural and professional experiences like no other.

Public service is important to me because I feel I serve a dual purpose, educating the general public about the TCUs and upholding our trust responsibility in Indian Country. I want to reach as many students as I can and also educate people and organizations along the way.”
Katherine Campbell, Program Analyst

Katherine Campbell is a program analyst within the Office of Research, Policy and Postsecondary and is currently serving as Acting Vice President of College Operations at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Katherine oversees and supports 33 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) that BIE funds through grant and program management.

Learn about the Management and Program Analysis (0343) occupation series.

Rangeland Management Specialist – Bureau of Land Management

Joanna sitting on a horse in a western saddle surrounded by grasslands.

Preserving lands for future generations is what keeps Joanna Tjaden going. Photo courtesy of Joanna Tjaden.

Part of the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple-use mission is to manage the federal government’s natural resource production and ensure safe and responsible energy development in the U.S. BLM employees help manage over 245 million acres of public land — the most of any federal agency. BLM attracts people from a range of backgrounds including science, realty, law enforcement, fire management, recreation and business. 

It’s an amazing deal to know that you’re managing these lands for future generations. My goal is that their grandchildren will see the same thing I’m seeing today.”
Joanna Tjaden, Rangeland Management Specialist

For BLM employees like Shoshone Field Office Rangeland Management Specialist Joanna Tjaden, managing public lands is a dream come true. Exploring Idaho's beautiful landscapes, working hand-in-hand with local ranchers and her role in ensuring the health of public lands for generations to come are just a couple benefits of her job.

Learn about the Rangeland Management (0454) occupation series.

Archaeologist – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Melanie holds a metal sample in gloved hands with a group of people in the background.

Melanie Damour retrieves a copper sheathing sample collected by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from a Gulf of Mexico deepwater shipwreck. Photo by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages the development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way. With nearly 600 employees, BOEM is a small agency tasked with managing almost 2.5 billion acres of the seabed — nearly equal the size of the nation’s land acreage!

Every archaeological site is unique and has a story to tell about human history. Public service allows me to participate in outreach activities such as STEM programs, summer camps and school presentations so that I can share some of our coolest archaeological discoveries and the importance of protecting these sites with kids of all ages across the U.S. My hope is to inspire a passion for discovery and knowledge-seeking in the next generation of archaeologists by sharing my work and some of the amazing sites that can be found off our coasts.” ­
Melanie Damour, Archaeologist

Melanie Damour is a marine archaeologist and the environmental studies coordinator for BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico Region in New Orleans, Louisiana. The environmental work that BOEM employees do is a critical component of the responsible management and development of our ocean-based resources.

Learn about the Archaeology (0193) occupation series.

Civil Engineer – U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Dani smiles in front of water reclamation equipment.

Dani Fettig plays an important part in the Bureau of Reclamation’s mission. Photo courtesy of Dani Fettig.

The Bureau of Reclamation is manages water in the West with its dams, power plants and canals. These critical resources bring water to more than 31 million people and produce enough electricity to serve 3.5 million homes. Reclamation leverages the skills of highly qualified engineers, hydrologists, planners, biologists and researchers to operate such large-scale productions. 

Public service is extremely rewarding, especially when we can provide resources and opportunities to people who may not otherwise have had access to them.”
Dani Fettig, Civil Engineer

Dani Fettig serves as the manager of the Rural Water Construction and Operation & Maintenance Division at the Dakotas Area Office. Dani’s team works with several rural water systems across North Dakota and South Dakota which includes oversight of construction projects, doing technical reviews and providing technical assistance to both Tribal and non-Tribal project sponsors.

Learn about the Civil Engineer (0810) occupation series.

Environmental Engineer – Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Ramona wearing a helmet and uniform gives a thumbs up to the camera.Employees at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement promote safety, protect the environment and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement. Safety, environmental stewardship, people and data-driven decision-making are an important part of BSEE’s culture.

The responsibility of public service is at the heart of everything I do. I take this duty that I’ve been entrusted with very seriously, which is why I am always looking toward how I can do my job better. I believe the public is owed and should expect excellence from us.”
Ramona Sanders, Environmental Engineer

Ramona Sanders is the senior environmental stewardship coordinator in the Office of the Director. She advises the BSEE Director on the performance and effectiveness of the bureau’s environmental stewardship efforts and coordinates unified approaches to environmental issues that involve multiple bureau programs and offices.

Learn about the Environmental Engineer (0819) occupation series.

Program Analyst – Bureau of Trust Fund Administration

Anita smiling in front of artwork.

The Bureau of Trust Fund Administration is responsible for managing the financial assets of American Indians held in trust by the Department of the Interior.

BTFA disburses more than $1 billion annually and has more than $5 billion under active day-to-day management and investment on behalf of Tribes and individuals.

Anita believes public service means “assisting others and doing the best job I can for the bureau and the American public.”
Anita Gonzales-Evans, Program Analyst

Anita Gonzales-Evans serves as a special emphasis program manager and works with a wonderful team to develop and coordinate special emphasis programs and provide cultural awareness for BTFA employees.

Learn about the Management and Program Analysis (0343) occupation series.

Education Technician – National Park Service

Katherine sits at a table with pamphlets and educational materials..The National Park Service preserves natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations.

Education and training technicians work in many settings and with a variety of audiences, but all share an interest in applying technology and instructional principles to facilitate and support engaging, interactive educational programs. They work in a team-based environment alongside a diverse group of employees that includes museum curators, data analysts, architects, law enforcement officers and engineers.

Public service is a chance to work closely with the public toward a similar goal. I am able to not only address and educate the public, but I am also able to make a meaningful impact upon the surrounding communities near the park.”
Katherine Owen, Education Technician

Katherine Owen is an education technician at Hopewell Culture National Historic Park in Chillicothe, Ohio. Katherine is constantly learning new things and educating people from all over the world.

Learn about the Education and Training Technician (1702) occupation series.

Production Support Lead – Office of the Secretary

Josh standing in front of a mountain landscape.

Josh Roark works with DOI offices and integrated systems to fulfill DOI’s mission. Photo courtesy of Josh Roark.

The Office of the Secretary includes the Immediate Office of the Secretary and offices that serve department-wide functions or perform program functions directly on behalf of the Secretary. The Departmental Offices Integration Team (DO-IT) supports over 50 Office of the Secretary program offices in integrating their daily business processes and routines into the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), the Department’s financial management system. These types of systems are an important part of fulfilling Interior’s mission and streamlining administrative functions across Interior.

Public service means making a difference in support of DOI’s overall mission. DOI and the Office of the Secretary in particular has so many unique offices that support public safety, resource protection and emergency services to name a few. It's rewarding to support those offices, understand and connect to their mission, while leveraging FBMS to meet their business needs.”
Joshua Roark, Production Support Lead

Joshua Roark is the acting DO-IT director and departmental office(s) production support lead based in the Stewart Lee Udall Building in Washington, DC. His work involves providing one-on-one training, representing the OS FBMS user community in meetings, facilitating reporting requirements and managing impacts related to system upgrades. Joshua understands how his work contributes to a bigger cause.

Learn about the Financial Administration (0501) occupation series.

Program Manager – Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Mychal wearing a hard hat and safety vest, in front of a lake.

Mychal Yellowman manages Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Regulatory Programs within Navajo, Hopi and Washington state lands. Photo courtesy of Mychal Yellowman.

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement employees take pride in knowing the work they do makes a real impact when it comes to balancing the nation’s need for domestic coal production with protection of the environment. Reclamation specialists, geologists, biologists and foresters are just a few of the jobs that ensure lands used in coal mining operations are restored to beneficial use when mining is completed. 

This often includes being a good listener and being empathetic with the public. It can be a thankless job, but it has provided me with a remarkable amount of pride and accomplishment.”
Mychal Yellowman, Program Manager

Mychal Yellowman is the Branch Chief of the Indian Programs Branch in Denver, Colorado. He manages OSMRE’s Indian Lands and Washington State Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Regulatory Programs which includes permitting SMCRA operations on the Navajo and Hopi Nations and in Washington state. As a public servant, Mychal acts as a liaison to the public about the requirements and responsibilities that the government has. 

Learn about the Program Management (0340) occupation series.

Wildlife Biologist – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Kris smiles while kneeling on the ground in a forest.

Kris Vagos’s work takes her outdoors. Photo courtesy of Kris Vagos.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Partnership and public service go hand-in-hand for USFWS employees.

Although I am a wildlife biologist, I love working with people. Our volunteers are so valuable to the refuge and are willing to spend their time helping us and wildlife. They make my job special.”
Kris Vagos, Wildlife Biologist

Wildlife biologist Kris Vagos works at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge in Westbrook, Connecticut and says public service runs in the family. Her father worked for the National Park Service in law enforcement and her mother was a teacher. Kris was also inspired by her parents’ Peace Corps service and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania.

Learn about the Wildlife Biology (0486) occupation series.

Research Biologist (Marine) – U.S. Geological Survey

Dr. Kuffner examines coral in scuba gear.

Dr. Ilsa Kuffner visits experimental elkhorn coral in Dry Tortugas National Park. Photo by U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S. Geological Survey is a research-based agency that provides critical science to help the public understand the Earth, minimize the negative effects of natural disasters and manage natural resources. As the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, USGS scientists collect, monitor, analyze and provide scientific research from many disciplines including biology, geology and chemistry.

I love my job at the USGS! I love that I work with and among people that are just as passionate about their jobs as I am. My job as a research marine biologist is focused on providing information about coral reefs, the threats they are experiencing, and strategies to help preserve and restore these amazing ecosystems.”
Dr. Ilsa Kuffner, Research Biologist

Dr. Ilsa Kuffner is a research marine biologist at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Learn about the Natural Resources Management and Biological Sciences (0401) occupation series.

Thanks to Interior employees for your work and for serving your communities and the country. Check out more outstanding Interior employees, even more dedicated public servants and 15 amazing jobs at the Interior Department.

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