Two people stand on a grassy hillside in the King Range Wilderness, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Mtn. Bike Rider on the Bizz Johnson Trail King Range National Conservation Area Poppy Three Pump Jacks, Midway-Sunset Oilfield
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Employee Profile - Focus on Youth

Zack Graves, James Sy, Lauren Szlosek

External Affairs
Sacramento State Office

The Student Educational Employment Program (SEEP) provides federal employment opportunities to students who are enrolled or accepted for enrolled at an accredited high school, technical, vocational, 2 or 4 year college or university, graduate or professional school.  

One of the components of SEEP is the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) which provides maximum flexibility to both students and managers because the nature of the work does not have to be related to the student's academic or career goals.

Zack Graves , a junior at the University of California-Chico is a STEP student working on a variety of tasks for the External Affairs staff such as creating contact and media lists and creating pamphlets.  He is also working on renewable energy projects for Acting State Director Jim Abbott.  The son of Troy and Collette Graves, Zack graduated in 2006 from John F. Kennedy High School in the South Land Park area of Sacramento.  He was a two-time all-city selection and Metro League MVP in basketball and received a scholarship to the University of Montana.  He transferred to Chico State last year as a shooting/point guard for the Wildcats.   The communications major is an honor student, balancing athletics with a 3.1 GPA.  Despite his accomplishments, Zack says his greatest thrill was seeing his mother's book published.

(left to right)  Zack Graves, Lauren Szlosek, James Sy
(left to right) Zack Graves, Lauren Szlosek, James Sy

James Sy is a familiar face in the California State Office, completing his seventh summer in the BLM-California external affairs office.  James became a STEP student in his high school junior year, after his father, who works for the Bureau of Reclamation, asked James if he would be interested in a summer job.  James initially worked on automating data and setting up the special status plants webpages.  He then worked on setting up the wilderness section on the BLM-California website.  He returned this year to work on other NLCS unit webpages.  James is in his senior year at Sacramento State University, majoring in philosophy.  Born in Hawaii and raised in the Sacramento area, James enjoys playing video games, although he says he is not very good at them.  When not on the video machine, he tries to stay in shape and stay healthy.   To help burn calories he philosophizes, asking questions such as  "Why are we here and what keeps the universe stable enough to support life?"   

Lauren Szlosek is a student volunteer, instead of a STEP.  Being a conservationist and wanting to do something productive during her summer break, she solicited the aid of her father, Newsbytes editor/writer extraordinaire Gus Szlosek, to solidify a volunteer position with the bureau performing various tasks in the external affairs office a couple of days per week.  She is a 2008 graduate from Davis High School.  Her interests are eclectic -- reading, manga (a drawing style developed in Japan), watching bad movies and hanging out with friends.   She also likes to write, having participated three times in National Novel Writing Month, a creative writing project held annually in November in which participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in one month. She humbly describes her work as "pretty bad."   Lauren will be entering her second year at Mount Holyoke College in her father's native Massachusetts this fall. 

- J.D., 7/09