Interpretive Park Ranger, National Park Service
I earned my Bachelor’s at UTK in the Spring of 2021 where I focused on climate and meteorology, and thanks to the great support I got from the department (special thanks to Drs. Kelsey Ellis, Nick Grondin, Savannah Collins-Key, and Michael Camponovo), I decided to pursue my Master’s at Appalachian State University under the supervision of Dr. Maggie Sugg in the Geography and Planning Department.
Throughout my time at AppState, I was exposed to many research projects where I became captivated with the intersection of weather and public health. I decided to focus my thesis on the impact of a hurricane on neonatal outcomes in North Carolina, which is currently in the works for publication. While I was writing my thesis and working on multiple research projects, I was also working as a teaching assistant under Dr. Baker Perry while he climbed Mount Everest with National Geographic to install the world’s highest weather station. It was through this experience that I fell in love with teaching. Thankfully, AppState has a liaison for the National Park Service (NPS), and it was through Dr. Mark Spond (also a UTK Alum) that I was able to obtain invaluable information about working for the Park Service.
To get my feet wet, I began volunteering for NPS on the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). Upon my graduation in May, I began working as an Interpretive Park Ranger in the Highlands District of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Interpretation has allowed me to share my love of the outdoors with visitors while helping them understand and make emotional connections to all of our natural resources. My side project for the year is to create a StoryMap for the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to teach visitors about the workers on the estate during the first half of the 20th Century. I recently heard a quote that sums up my current life: “Lucky is he who gets paid to do something that he would have done for free.”
Outside of work, I am a big advocate for taking time for yourself. You can find me learning a new hobby (currently: fly fishing and oil painting), reading a book, or doing yoga. I truly believe allowing yourself to forget about work for a few hours allows you to come back refreshed and be even better at your job. I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out!