Intern Learning About Small Town Living, Small Town Government

by Anayeli Ruiz 
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - Some city slickers are getting a first hand look at what life's like in a small town. It's all part of a new state program. One of the 11 students landed in West Texas. NewsWest 9 met with her in Big Spring to find out what she's here to learn.

"Students that basically come out of urban settings and put them in rural settings for a period of time to learn about how rural America or rural Texas works and what goes on," Terry Wegman, with the Big Spring Economic Development, said.

The Big Spring Economic Development was one of the small towns in Texas that applied to have an intern and they got one. So this summer, for one month, they are adding one member to the community.

"My degrees are in environmental toxicology and public administration. And part of the finalization of my degree is getting an internship in some sort of city government or something that has to do with serving the city and public administration," Big Spring Intern, Sandy Wiggins, said.

Sandy is part of the internship program for the Texas Department of Agriculture and this summer she will be learning all about Big Spring.

"Her graduate studies mesh very well with some of the industries here in town. Some of the governmental entities that we have and some of her professional goals, so we kind of look at what her interests are and plug her in to those areas in our community, so she can get her first on the ground experience in those areas," Wegman said.

In the coming weeks, Sandy will spend a lot of time with the city of Big Spring looking at the different departments and understanding how it all works. She will also be touring some of the industries in town and will spend time with their environmental departments.

"The last three years I have been in graduate school and you read a lot, you kind of learn all these different theories. You get this knowledge base but I really want some reality and some hands on experience. So it's really just a good opportunity to go beyond the books and get some hands on experience before I really enter the job workforce," Wiggins said.

Although Sandy has only been here a week she already feels at home.

"First impressions is that everyone is so welcoming and accommodating and I feel part of the family here," Wiggins said.

Sandy is staying with local families and they are trying to give her the best West Texas experience.

They hope that this program shows students that small towns are not so bad after all.

"The hope is to eventually to show some of our brightest and smartest folks that there are good jobs in rural Texas. Good opportunities and it's a great place to live," Wegman said.

If you like to follow Sandy and see what she does around town, you can visit the Big Spring Economic Development website.