Shelby Miller

The Union Parks Department recently had its first intern.

Over the winter break, Union native and Hannibal LaGrange University senior Shelby Miller completed an internship for her major in recreation management.

She also is working toward earning a minor in both business and criminal justice.

Miller is a 2014 graduate of Union High School. She is the daughter of Jeff and Paula Miller, Union.

Her first event, which fell on her first day with the department, was the Children’s Christmas Party, where she helped set up and run the event.

Over the course of her internship, Miller also learned about facility and park maintenance, which included going with the parks maintenance crew for trail and playground inspections.

“Those were both really interesting because you don’t really pay attention to minor details until you’re put in that job,” she said.

She observed crews making a railing for Veterans Memorial Park, learned how programs are scheduled and planned, went on the department’s first bus tour and helped evaluate playground designs for the park advisory board to review.

“It’s not a very big department, but it takes all of them to make the city happy,” she said. “Everyone has the same goal in mind, to present the public with the best (parks system they can).”

Miller said she enjoyed the variety of the internship and working with Sullivan.

“It’s was cool because she’s new to this town. She’s young and she’s bringing different ideas to the table,” Miller said. “She’s revamping, or replugging in the recreation cord, and I think she’s going to take the parks department to places it maybe hasn’t been before.”

Miller said she also enjoyed learning from Scott Piontek in maintenance, Angie Breeden in programming, the park advisory board and other city officials.

And though she’s nearly finished with the formal part of her education, Miller still isn’t sure what she wants to do when she graduates this spring. She first began college as a biology major before switching to zoology and then recreation.

Miller also completed a practicum as the head umpire for the Union Girls Softball Association and was a sales support intern at Vi-Jon, St. Louis, which makes a variety of personal care products. At that internship, Miller worked on inventory management.

“I still don’t know what I want to be, so I’m testing out the waters,” Miller said, adding that she enjoyed the municipal setting and structure offered with the recreation internship.

“I’d like to thank the entire parks department for opening their arms up and helping me in any way that I needed. I definitely had a warm welcome,” she said.