Columbus State University Student, Hale Lambeth, Interns with the Harris County Community Development Department
Hale Lambeth, a political science major at Columbus State University, interned with the Harris County Community Development Department as part of the 2014 Fall Georgia County Internship Program. Prior to the internship, Lambeth was completely unfamiliar with the actual day-to-day activities of local government. However working with the county helped him to have a much better understanding of exactly how the county maintains its efficiency.
During his internship, Lambeth was tasked with digitizing records (zoning, parcel splits, special permits), creating new, much needed, mapping layers such as fire station locations, flood zones, and local bike paths, and helping to lay a foundation for a full-time GIS specialist. When asked about his most significant accomplishment, Lambeth responded that it was bringing back awareness of what can be achieved through GIS to the county, which will hopefully enable the county to hire a GIS specialist to continue the work in this field.
Lambeth’s favorite part of the internship was the learning experience he was afforded by pushing him to work on projects outside of his comfort zone and allowing him to learn through trial and error. He was very appreciative of his internship supervisor, Tracie Hadaway, for asking for results that required him to stretch his skill set. While Lambeth had taken GIS classes as part of his coursework in college, it was being placed in a 15 hour a week work environment that truly allowed him to understand not only ArcMap, but how to work in such a structured situation. Both opportunities will help assist him in future career choices by providing invaluable experience.
When asked about what the internship has taught him about county government, Lambeth responded that he learned it is a much more welcoming career path than he had originally believed. From his experience, he learned that Harris County is full of extremely hard working employees that truly and only want what is best for the county as a whole. This knowledge made him very proud of county government and has helped to garner his interest in pursuing a career in this field.
In discussing his interest in pursuing a career in county government, Lambeth was thankful for the chance to test himself in such a demanding way. The internship gave him a relatively safe environment to test how he would like working for county government. An unexpected benefit of the internship was the opportunity to talk with his internship supervisor about her experiences in public administration and planning. These discussions provided him with insight on possible career paths to take in local government upon graduation.