Nancy Franz ’81 was tired of being the only woman at the table so she did something about it.  She created the Women in Leadership internship, a partnership between Northland College and the National Park Service to support women pursuing outdoor careers.

Franz graduated from Northland with a degree in outdoor environmental education, then went on to earn a master of education and professional development from UW-Superior and a PhD in agriculture, extension, and adult education from Cornell University. She now serves as professor emeritus in the School of Education at Iowa State University.

She is by all accounts, a fierce advocate for women in leadership in the outdoors.

Franz raised funds, including her own, among alumni and others who support the idea behind the Women in Leadership internship: having young women gain experience in natural resources management and interpretation, receive professional development, and receive leadership mentoring.

And it’s already working. Northland College student Abby Keller recently completed the inaugural Women in Leadership internship at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

“I’ve made some great connections and gained invaluable knowledge and experience within the federal job realm,” Keller said. “Being able to observe all of these amazing women serving as strong leaders in such a male-dominated field has inspired me to not let anything or anyone hold me back from my career aspirations.”

Photo: Abby Keller and her National Park Service Mentor, Caroline Twombly stand at the headquarters of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

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