Meet the 2015-2016 Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors –
Aaron Porter – Western Washington University, Recreation, 2014 – Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, WA – After graduation I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my degree. I wanted a position that put me in a National Park setting and allowed me to interact with the public. With this position, I hope to bring the importance of our parks to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Not only do I want to spark a passion for getting outside and utilizing these amazing places for enjoyment, but I want to engage people to think about volunteerism and stewardship and the benefits that not only themselves, but others as well, can receive from a little time spent helping out.
Alex Warneke – San Diego State University, M.Sc. in Ecology, 2014 – Cabrillo National Monument, CA I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position through a colleague at Cabrillo. I have a strong passion for inspiring others to create positive change, for themselves and the world around them, so he thought I would be a great fit. In the next year, I hope to advance the scientific programs offered at Cabrillo, as well as provide the public outlets to connect with nature and their community. I am excited for what lies ahead. Onward.
Allison Joyce—Colorado College, Biology, 2014—Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park, CA I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador program by perusing the SCA website after completing another SCA internship last summer. I am participating in this program because it seems like a wonderful opportunity to combine my love of service and the park service with my administrative and people skills. This year I hope to gain valuable experience as a volunteer coordinator at a historical park.
Andrew Lahr- Rutgers University, Ecology, 2015- Glacier National Park , MT In the past my passion for the environment and ecology lead me to pursue research based experiences. More recently, I have shifted towards environmental education and communication with interest in increasing environmental sensitivity in young people. By promoting volunteerism and facilitating positive outdoor experiences as a SCA-NPS Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I hope to kindle the internal locus of control necessary to inspire responsible environmental behavior.
Aryel Beck – University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Anthropology, 2014 – River Raisin National Battlefield Park, MI I learned about SCA as an AmeriCorps member when I interned at the Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia last summer. I’m looking forward to working with volunteers and promoting a greater awareness of small more historical parks like River Raisin.
Brennan Walters — Appalachian State University, Geography, 2015—Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, LA I hope to help people build greater connections with the places and spaces in their own backyards.
Brent Llanos—Johns Hopkins University, Masters in Environmental Planning and Management; UCLA, BS Biology—Everglades National Park, FL This is my third SCA internship and I am hoping my SCA internships give me a variety of experiences in the various niches of environmental protection, restoration and conservation so that I can tailor my career goals after I graduate. I am hoping my Centennial Volunteer Ambassador internship at Everglades National Park exposes me to the Interpretation, youth education and outreach sections of the National Park Service. I am very excited to work for Everglades National Park and its surrounding sister parks.
Charlotte Murtishaw – Barnard College, American Studies, 2015 – Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, NE I got involved with the SCA last summer as a communications intern for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and knew I wanted to continue my experience with the organization — so when I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors program, I didn’t hesitate to apply. I’m really pumped about getting even more people and community organizations involved in amazing experiences working with National Parks, and I can’t wait for whatever the next year throws my way.
Corina Yeh – University of Arizona, Master of Public Administration: Nonprofit Management, 2017- Saguaro National Park, AZ I previously participated in an SCA internship, I am participating now because I believe that this position is more in line with where I want my future career to go, and as a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador I hope to help the Saguaro National Park create sustainable volunteer programs.
Danielle Brown – Northland College, Natural Resources, 2015 — Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, WI I want to serve to gain new experience. I have a broad array of experiences applicable to the position. I hope to improve my leadership skills.
Devon Beekler — Penn State University, Landscape Architecture, May 2015– Lake Roosevelt, WA My passion for the environment and community engagement was a perfect fit for the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position. At Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area I hope to use my knowledge of landscape design and conservation to improve ecosystems and volunteering efforts. I look forward to the next year and hope I can make a positive impact to the surrounding community and increase their interest in conserving their local resources.
Emma Mitchell- University of Montana Western, 2015 -Yellowstone National Park, WY I learned about the program from a friend who works in the Interpretation Division at Yellowstone National Park. I am participating in the program because I want to give back to Yellowstone and the National Park Service. I hope to inspire others to get involved in our National Parks.
Erika Mims -Georgia College, Art – Museum Studies concentration, 2014- Stones River National Battlefield, TN I learned about the Student Conservation Association through general research online for internships in the area of museum collections and education. I am participating in this internship because I want to visit new places and be an important part in conservation work. I am excited to surround myself with those who share my passion for conservation and volunteerism and am positive this will be the best learning experience in my life thus far! As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador it is my intent to successfully improve and promote site volunteer programs as well as bring potential new programs to the table. Perhaps most importantly, I also have a goal to inspire volunteer participants at the site to follow a career path in conservation, education or volunteerism.
Grant Smith – California State University Monterey Bay, Environmental Studies, 2014 – Indiana Dunes State Park, IN I learned about the SCA through one of my professors in college. Also, a fellow classmate of mine had graduated and joined the SCA. I became interested in joining when I looked into it more and realized it was a great opportunity to further my knowledge and work towards a career. During the course of the year I would like to increase my communication skills while getting an inside look at the NPS and how it works. I have gone to several National Parks throughout my life and am excited to contribute to them and help start off another century of stewardship.
Hunter Moseley – University of Kansas, 2017 – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, IN. I heard about this opportunity from the SCA website. I’m really excited about exploring a career with the NPS, I want to celebrate the Centennial, and help people find their park through hands on conservation projects.
Ian Harvey – California University of Pennsylvania, Conservation Ecology, 2013- Mount Rainier National Park, WA Over the past few years, I have worked with many people that have served through the SCA and they have all spoken very highly of their varied experiences with the organization. This sparked my interest and I began my search. After learning about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors program, I was immediately sold on the idea of serving to this capacity. With a background in outdoor education and land stewardship, I have always enjoyed working alongside people of diverse backgrounds and I hope to continue this well into the future, with the SCA providing me with this opportunity through the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador’s program.
Jacob Breslin — Penn State University, Finance, 2015 — National Capital Region, DC I learned about the program through a staff member at the SCA. She stumbled upon my application when I was applying to other internships, and thought I may be interested in pursuing the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position. I’m participating in order to place a foot in the conservation career door, and hopefully network with numerous environmental professionals to secure job placement after the fellowship. I hope to achieve a better understanding of professional self and what it means to represent an organization like the National Park Service.
Jay Carter—Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Geography, 2015—Natchez Trace Parkway, MS I discovered the NPS Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position through online searching of the Student Conservation Association database under job postings. I hope by being selected for this position I will increase the visitation to the National Park Service in my region, as well as, nationally and generate useful resources that will transpire people in taking the initiative to protect, enhance, and preserve their community as their own.
Jess Landis– Cornell University, Biology, 2014– Padre Island National Seashore, TX I learned about the program from the SCA website and instantly knew it would be something I would be interested in. I think community engagement is vital for the preservation of our environment. To be able to teach the public about the importance of conservation is something I am proud to do. I hope I can instill a sense of purpose in the people I encounter and make them realize that no act is too small to help make a difference in the world.
Jimi Hightower— University of Washington, Museology, 2015– Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, WA I earned a Bachelor of Arts in History at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2012 and a Master of Arts in Museology at the University of Washington in 2015. I have been interning and volunteering at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in downtown Seattle for nearly a year. Since July 2014, I have been serving as an intern and mentor for a community outreach program called In My Backyard. I am looking forward to continuing working with KLSE as their Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Intern.
Joey Negreann – Goucher College, International Relations, 2012—Pinnacles National Park, CA I learned about the program through the Student Conservation Association website. I have a deep passion for the outdoors, nature and wildlife. I hope through my participation at Pinnacles National Park I can help inspire the surrounding communities to share in the enjoyment of the park.
Kelly McCann – Oklahoma State University, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, 2015 – Mississippi River National Recreation Area, MN I heard about the SCA when I managed a high school SCA service team at the refuge I interned at. When I stumbled upon the year long internship with SCA that focused on volunteer coordination and interpretation with NPS, I was in. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I hope to improve the reach of the National Park system to all types of people while teaching them about conservation of natural resources and the value of volunteering in their local park.
Kirsten Hart–Manchester University, Environmental Studies, 2015–Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA I learned about SCA through a former SCA volunteer that led a swamp tour at Big Cypress in Florida. I applied for the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position because it gave me a lot of options on different locations around the country and seemed like a pretty wellrounded position. In my year with SCA, I hope to gain more confidence in my abilities, build-up my skill base in the working world, and, of course explore!
Lauralee Buchanan—Florida State University, Geography and Environmental Studies, 2012—Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, LA I learned about this program while applying for similar positions with Jean Lafitte National Park. I’ve always had a love for the city of New Orleans, a deep interest in and admiration for our National Park System, and passion for helping others discover the beauty of our natural surroundings. By the end of my term as a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, my hope is that I will have reached out to a dynamic population of New Orleanians that may not have otherwise been exposed to our local Parks.
Laurie Zarnow — Arizona State University, Non Profit Management—Alaska Public Lands Information Center, AK I have always been very passionate about volunteering and performing community service. I am beginning graduate studies in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management. My long-term goal is to obtain a position of leadership in an organization promoting a cause I am passionate about. I love working with other people who share interest in an issue I am passionate about, and I respect the importance of working as a team to promote a cause.
Liesel Anderson—Allegheny College, Environmental Studies, 2015—Chickasaw National Recreation Area, OK I learned of SCA through a friend that has been doing SCA work for years. I was looking for a year of service and this one fit perfectly with my interests and career goals. I hope to expand my skill set in park work and make a lasting connection between Chickasaw and the surrounding communities.
Lizette Ramirez — University of Michigan,, Ecology, 2014—First State National Historic Park, DE I have served with SCA in the past and it was one of the best experiences in my life. I am very passionate about taking care of the environment and believe that SCA would allow me the opportunity to serve the community in this way. I would like to gain skill and experience that will allow me to become an excellent servant of the environment. I would like to learn how to make a career out of caring for our ecosystem.
Marielle DeJong—University of North Carolina, American Studies, 2015– Blue Ridge Parkway, NC I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador program through the Student Conservation Association Website, and I am so excited to be a part of the celebration of the National Park Service. I am thrilled to be serving at the Blue Ridge Parkway, because I’ve called these mountains home for the last 15 years.
Mayra Herrera—University of California Riverside, History and Women Studies, 2013—Chamizal National Memorial, TX I found out about this particular position through Ranger Rodney Sauter who explained to me the mission of the park and presented this position to me. I am very excited to assist the staff in the recruitment of members of the community to serve their park through volunteerism. As a centennial volunteer ambassador I hope to accomplish the goals that are set for me and make an impact in this field. Also I would like to gain experience in the interpretive field and make important long-term connections between the community and Chamizal National Memorial.
Michael Harris—Parkdale High School, 1998 — Dayton Aviation National Historic Park , OH When I learned about the SCA/AmeriCorps program, I was fascinated with the idea of engaging in a service-based program. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done professionally, and I am excited to accept this new challenge. The idea of serving — especially the aspect of giving back — is very important. I have a lot to share and learn and I’m looking forward to paying it forward when I’m done.
Natalie Campbell—University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 2015—San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, TX I learned about the Centennial Volunteer position from browsing through all of the SCA job postings. When I applied I didn’t have a full grasp on what the program was but I knew it was focused on working with people and also working with the NPS, both of which interested me. I hope that in this position I will be able to foster more environmental interest in addition to environmental protection. I hope to be able to apply things I have learned in the classroom to real life settings.
Nicole Shellenbarger—John Carroll University, Biology, 2015—Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH Interning at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was brought to my attention through a mentor at John Carroll. The main reason I wanted this internship was because I get to actively engage with others. Over the past four years at John Carroll I have gained a lot of knowledge, both in the classroom and beyond, but now I am ready to share this intelligence with others. I hope to develop intellectually, engage with fellow interns and the community, and develop a better understanding of what lies ahead. Quinn Feller—University of Minnesota, Art History, 2015—Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, MN I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position through one of my bosses who currently does river-related work. The Twin Cities community has an invaluable resource in the Mississippi River, and there is huge opportunity for more involvement between the people and the park. I’m hoping to increase the public’s awareness of the River and Recreation Area and, consequently, engage more people in volunteering in the park.
Rebecca Ward – Fort Lewis College, Anthropology, 2014 – Petroglyph National Monument, NM I learned about this SCA internship through a friend and old employer at Petroglyph National Monument. I thought that this internship would be a good opportunity to work in all aspects of a National Park Unit. I have been a seasonal park ranger at Mesa Verde National Park for the last 5 years, but I only have experience in the fee collection aspect of a park. My parents work for the National Park Service and have for my entire life so I wanted to experience some of the things that they had always talked about.
Sally Goldman — Little Rock Central High School, 2015, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, AR The story of Little Rock Central High School is a key part of my city’s identity. I want to serve because I am very passionate about preserving and communicating history to the public and I believe that young people have an obligation to learn and share it. Through service I hope to gain experience in interpretation and planning programs for the public, as well as gain a deeper appreciation for my community’s history. I hope to strengthen my relationship with the Park Service and my community.
Sara Gabel—University of Maryland, College Park, Environmental Science and Technology, 2015—Santa Monica National Recreation Area, CA A few of my friends have participated in SCA opportunities, so I turned their good experiences into my initiative to apply for this program. I am have always loved conservation and service, so I am excited that this program gives me the ability to combine my two closest passions. From this incredible experience I hope to learn many new skills in working at a National Park, as well as creating good relationships, and making a positive impact in the park and with the public.
Sarah Lechich — University of Central Oklahoma, General Studies, 2013— Grand Canyon National Park, AZ I learned about the program from Ranger Todd through an e-mail about a possible opportunity for all of his ‘Junior Rangers’ . I am participating because I believe that this position is a perfect fit for me and it gives me a chance to give back to what I feel is an amazing National Park. I hope to accomplish handling the task of coordinating unique volunteer programs and projects for the Grand Canyon National park that will encourage past, present, and future volunteers to learn about their park so that they can have ownership and excitement when giving back to a place that has already given us so much and continues to do so each day.
Stephany Dery—SUNY Cortland, Outdoor Recreation, 2013—Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA I learned about the program through the SCA website this past winter. I’m participating in this program because I want to get involved with the park service, network with professionals, be out in nature, all while impacting the community and becoming a better leader/steward for the environment!
Abigail Pope-Brooks—Barnard College of Columbia University, Anthropology, 2015—National Parks of New York Harbor, NY
I first learned about SCA through Facebook, and went to the SCA website to learn more. I decided I wanted to participate in SCA because I love inspiring others to engage with and understand our rich natural and cultural history. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I hope to spread awareness, appreciation, interest, and volunteerism for New York City’s national parks.
Alyck Horton – Oregon State University, Economics, 2016 – Lowell National Historical Park, MA- I got started with the SCA in 2014 as Outreach and Resources Intern at Montezuma Well NM and Tuzigoot NM in Central Arizona. This led to an immediate interest in the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position. I very much look forward to taking advantage of this opportunity and getting others as stoked about National Park Service as I am.
Anya Shaunessy – Bucknell University, Psychology & Sociology, 2015 – Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, PA & NY – I learned about the program while volunteering for the Park Service last summer. My supervisor advised me to apply and I will be working at the same site this year. I am participating in the program because I am interested in conservation and giving back to my community. I hope to gain leadership skills and make connections through the SCA!
Ariel Johnson – University of Maryland at College Park, Environmental Science and Policy, 2015 – Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, FL- I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador through a peer. I’m participating in the program because it will allow me to strengthen my oral communication skills and take time off between undergraduate and possible graduate school. I hope to be able to make connections with my co-workers and supervisors as well as educate the community members on anthropogenic environmental impacts.
Ayomide Sekiteri – Hood College, Environmental Science and Policy, 2015 – National Capital Region, DC -I learned about this position as I was scrolling through possible internships after graduation on the SCA website. I’m participating in this because I care about conservation education and I want to make a difference. I hope to accomplish and increase the amount of visitors and volunteers that come to the parks and people who are passionate about service towards our cultural and natural resources. I want volunteers to feel like they are having fun as they are doing a good service. I hope to have fun and have a well-rounded internship and many experiences and mentors along the way.
Brady O’Connor— Ramapo College of New Jersey, Environmental Studies, 2016— Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, NJ – I want to give back help the community and the country we live in. I believe by working for the SCA I would be able to actually help preserve the community and the environment I am in and being able to give back and continue to preserve our country is extremely important to me. I hope to gain experience working for the SCA and its affiliates and hope to learn how to successfully work with a community, build successful partnerships, and hope to learn to manage various conservation projects.
Camille Vincent—Spelman College, History, 2014—Martin Luther King Historic Site, GA – I am looking forward to learning about the National Park Service and the programs that are in store for 2016. I hope to bridge a partnership with the local colleges in the area.
Cassie Susemihl — Ithaca College, Communication Studies 2015 — Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, FL- I learned about the SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador internship by chance talking to a friend I once met on a flight, who happens to be a previous SCA intern. I was excited to learn about the Centennial because it will be a wonderful opportunity to combine my interests in special event coordinating and community outreach by promoting conservation. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I hope to contribute by bringing a peer-oriented perspective to the youth programs in Jacksonville and creating innovative, active, fun programs to get the community excited about the Timucuan Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial.
Chris Mirque– Michigan State University, Zoology, 2012 – Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV I am drawn to the CVA Program for two big reasons. First, I have a long history of spending time in wild places and being outdoors has always been a huge part of my life. The second reason, I now live in Chicago – a place where those types of places and their associated activities are not as readily available. I have met a lot of people here who have never had the opportunity to experience those same places that have been so important in my life. The CVA Program seems like a great way to get directly involved in reaching out to those groups of people and getting them into the parks. If we can instill a sense of wonder and appreciation in another generation of stewards then I will consider this program a huge success.
Claire Finn—Macalester College, Geography/Urban Studies, 2015—Yosemite National Park, CA – I have been a part of the SCA community for several years, and I saw the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position on the website. I’m very excited to participate in the program because I have a strong interest in what the NPS is doing around the Centennial to be more inclusive to all people. As a Volunteer Ambassador I hope to begin several long lasting partnerships between community groups and Yosemite in particular, as well as share the park with the people who live close by but have perhaps never visited. I’m mostly excited to foster a connection between volunteers and this landscape that belongs to them!
Courtney Butler – Johnson & Wales University, Hotel & Lodging Management, 2015 – Cape Cod National Seashore, MA I learned about the program through a professor of mine at Johnson & Wales University who was working with a former student who is now a lead member at the Cape Cod National Seashore. I am participating to further pursue my passion for the parks, their history and importance to our nation, and to share that with other people. I am also hoping to gain a memorable experience that is filled with knowledge, culture, and skills that will help me better myself and my career for my future. I would like to accomplish a number of things, but my main focus is to share the park’s importance, history, and that of our country’s with visitors.
Cristina Ramirez – University of Virginia, Environmental Thought & Practice, May 2015 – Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA -I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position through the Student Conservation Association website. National Parks offer an incredible opportunity to educate people about places that have been set apart for their environmental and cultural importance. They provide a place for people to in a community to come together and give back, which I look forward to being involved with. I’m convinced every park has something to offer for everyone, no matter what their interests are – and I want to help them find it!
Diandré Watkins–Morgan State University, Speech Communication, 2013—National Capital Region, DC – I learned about this program through my neighborhood’s list serve (Shepherd Park). I am participating because I found this program was interesting and I also believe that these park have a lot to offer. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I hope to meet new people, gain some work experience/ develop work related skill sets, and help promote these parks to the public.
Elizabeth Bauer – Indiana University of PA, Anthropology, 2015 – Colonial National Historical Park, PA – I heard about the program through the SCA program and am participating due to a lifelong love of the National Parks. I hope to help improve stewardship and increase volunteerism of my park and learn along the way!
Elizabeth Hope Midock – Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Nutrition and Dietetics, 2013 – Appalachian National Scenic Trail, WV – I found my first internship with the SCA at Natural Bridges National Monument in 2014 to be a deeply fulfilling experience. Working so closely with the Park Service gave me a sense of duty and loyalty to our public lands. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador I’d like to extend the same opportunity to others; offering them a chance to experience the same sense of ownership and pride, and spurring a desire to conserve and protect our natural resources.
Hannah Lynn – Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas,
Landscape Architecture, 2018 – National Parks of New York Harbor, NY
Wanting to gain firsthand knowledge of parks and the impactful roles they play in our communities, I uncovered the Centennial position. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I am eager to have an opportunity to get people excited about the National Parks of New York Harbor. I hope that I am able to communicate my love of parks, urban green space, and historic landmarks in a way that motivates members of the community to want to become stewards of their local parks.
Hilary Grabowska —University of Montana, Missoula, History , 2014 — National Capital Region, MD & VA – I want to serve because I want to give back to my community and country as well as develop myself and my skills. I hope to gain experience that will help my community as well as learn skills that will assist me in securing a job after my service. While I have experience in the field I want to work in, I want to further improve my management and outreach skills. I love public service, I am passionate about the National Park Service and want to make my career in the NPS.
Joshua Kezar—Southern Methodist University, Mathematics & Economics, 2017—Big Cypress National Preserve, FL – I heard about CVA through a summer conference I attended at Grand Canyon National Park last summer. I’m serving the NPS and my home state in a capacity that will increase the number of aware and informed Florida and US residents about the conservation work that’s done and needs to be done with their help. Not only do I hope to engage with local businesses and schools in the greater Naples and Miami communities, but also to host college service organizations, establishing relationships with those programs that they might annually return to Big Cypress. All that will be possible through the foundation of the volunteer program that I hope will be the legacy of my work as a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador this year.
Kahmia Moise — Lafayette College, English-Writing, 2014 — Gateway National
Recreation Area, NY – I learned about the centennial program during the 2015 New York Harbor National Park Service Academy and I am participating because it will be a great way to expand my network and further develop my professional skills. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador I hope to encourage urban youth to get involved and excited about serving, protecting, and celebrating the parks in their very own backyards.
Kayley Bolstad – Boston University, Archaeology, 2014 – Boston National Historical Park, MA – I learned about the Centennial Ambassador program via the Student Conservation Association internship postings. I was interested in becoming an Ambassador because I hope to encourage people who live in the city to be more aware of the National Parks in their own backyard. I love the National Park Service and SCA and I want to celebrate the NPS 100 year anniversary by getting more people in cities more involved in preserving their personal history and the historic sites of Boston.
Kendall Gilbert — Grand Valley State University, Geography & Anthropology, 2012 —Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, GA
I learned about the Centennial Ambassador Program through the Student Conservation Association. The program was inspiring in that it is a dedicated effort to bring recognition and attention to our National Park system by encouraging the next generation of park goers to explore, care about, and preserve open spaces. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, I hope to be part of a team that will bring more service-learning and experiential opportunities to students in Chattanooga and surrounding areas. I would love to help create a wilderness skills outdoor program geared towards girls and young women through the National Park service.
Kersten Laveroni—University of Massachusetts Amherst, Environmental Conservation, 2014—National Capital Region, DC – I learned about this position through the AmeriCorps/SCA website. I am participating in this program because I want to do something meaningful and challenging. I have done SCA and AmeriCorps before and love it. I hope to accomplish all that the parks I serve need me to do and much more. I want to make a difference in the community and maybe make some connections within the NPS. It has always been a dream of mine to work for the park service and this is a great way to start!
Kim Lamiroult—Stony Brook University, MA in Marine Conservation & Policy, 2014; Delaware Valley College, Conservation & Wildlife Management, 2013—Fire Island National Seashore, NY – As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador I hope to encourage local residents to visit Fire Island National Seashore and spark interest in the local resources available to them. My main goal is to participate in community outreach programs as a way to educate all generations about our environment and how to protect it. By increasing the number of individuals involved in the volunteer program and increasing recruitment we can have a team with similar goals. Personal goals are to create bonds with other SCA and NPS workers and ambassadors to grow my professional network.
Kristina Bergquist – Brandeis University, Environmental Studies, 2014 – Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, MA – I first heard about this program while browsing the SCA’s website, recommended to me by friends who have completed SCA internships. I would like to pursue a career in conservation, and am especially interested in the role of community engagement, so this seemed like a great fit for me. As an SCA NPS Centennial Volunteer Ambassador I hope to find creative new ways to get the Boston community involved in volunteerism while enjoying the beauty of the Boston Harbor Islands.
Kristyne (Kris) Allen – Temple University Anthropology, 2015 – Independence National Historical Park, PA – I learned about this program via looking up jobs on the SCA website, of which I knew of considering I am an alumni. I hope to learn a lot and help the park I love to increase its volunteer base.
Kyle Yarusso – Michigan Technological University, Applied Ecology and Environmental Science, 2015 – National Capital Region, DC – I learned about the program through the SCA website and I am excited to help engage the local communities in the National Parks that are right in their backyard. I look forward to providing opportunities for people to experience these amazing places and I hope to inspire a greater appreciation for our nation’s natural and cultural resources.
Lindsey S. Kellogg – University of North Carolina, Class of 2015, Global Studies & Environmental Studies – Richmond National Battlefield Park, VA A friend told me I’d be “the type of person to do SCA.” I didn’t know what SCA was then, but I’m glad I do now! I’m thrilled to spend a year giving back in this position by organizing volunteers and events around Richmond for the Richmond National Battlefield Park. My goal is to give volunteers a fun, rewarding, and educational experience that keeps them coming back for more and create sustainable programs that can push on after I leave.
Malia Forney— Indiana University, General Studies, 2016 — National Capital Region, DC – I will be serving at the various national parks in Washington, DC. I originally heard about SCA from an AmeriCorps member who I worked with and had recently completed three SCA internships. I am participating now so that I can be more connected with people in the community and assist any way possible with goals the National Park has set. In this position, I hope to accomplish a deeper self discovery and I want to be more engaged with the community and its people. I also want to come up with new ideas on how to solve issues facing the national parks.
Melissa Cohen – Old Dominion University, Communications, 2015 – National Capital Region, VA I learned about the program through my mother who works for the National Park Service. I’m participating because I want to gain experience in my field and have the ability to apply the skills I’ve learned in a classroom to the real world. I hope to accomplish a better understanding of all aspects of how a National Park functions.
Michelle Stewart— Northern Illinois University, Sculpture and Museum Studies, 2014/2015 — Weir Farm National Historic Site, CT – I learned about the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador program while searching the SCA internship opportunities. I will be finishing my Museum Studies Graduate Certificate in May and I was looking for a position that would help me gain experience that I could apply to museum work in the future. I am really looking forward to working at Weir Farm National Historic Site because it combines my love of the Impressionist art and working with the public and volunteers. I hope to engage members of the communities surrounding Weir Farm by creating meaningful service events and service learning programs for everyone to participate in.
Mirit Friedman— University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Sciences, 2015— Chattahoochee River Recreation Area and Kennesaw Mountain National Historic Battlefield, GA I first learned about the SCA program when they had an information session at UC Berkeley. I wanted to participate in this year’s program because of my affinity for the parks that my parents have instilled in me since I was a baby. Volunteering and visiting the National Parks is something that everyone should have the opportunity to do, and I hope to help the two sites that I am interning with make those opportunities more accessible to more people.
Rebecca Lee — Eastern Kentucky University, Anthropology, 2012 — New River Gorge National River, WV – I was a part of SCA Massachusetts Corps in 2014. I really loved the program and wanted to join another SCA position involving coordinating, To my joy, I ended up stumbling upon the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position on the SCA website! I enjoy working outdoors and wanted an opportunity to help others connect with nature. I look forward to both the technical work and creative thinking this position offers! I hope to accomplish sustainable programs for volunteers that offer them an opportunity to connect and take ownership of the environment that surrounds them!