As many of you are aware, next week I start my permanent position with the National Park Service. It’s both an exciting time for me as well as a time for reflection.

I have a range of emotions as I make this big transition in my life. I am overcome with happiness to have gained permanent employment. I am excited to begin a new position. I am giddy to wear the uniform and all that it represents. I am ready to take on new challenges and I’m ready to work on transforming our government from the inside out.

I want to thank the numerous people that have helped get me to this point.  My family and old friends have been supportive for many, many years.  I appreciate all of my college peers who helped me refine my passions and push through the gruel of school.  I am grateful to my first employers who hired me for various jobs and who saw something in me.  I want to thank my coworkers at all of my jobs for teaching me lessons of leadership, patience, professionalism, how to work and have fun simultaneously, and so much more.  I want to thank the Student Conservation Association for providing door-opening opportunities like the one I’ve held for the past 2 years and 2 weeks. And to the NPS, for believing in me and accepting me into my new ‘work family.’

Thank you to those I’ve disagreed with over the years for challenging my beliefs and methods and refining my own thinking. To my confidants, your support, advice, and friendship is valued more than you know. Your unwavering support is something I can only hope to have the opportunity to pay forward. There are countless people who have inspired me by providing examples of both success and failure. I appreciate the many mentors who encouraged me, especially, when the road ahead looked rough. And to those who have put up with me (seriously) and who have laughed alongside me at the absurdities and joys of life, reminding me to stay in touch with my lighter side. It may seem sentimental, but I truly thank each of you for being a part of my journey.

Although this is a big transition, it is just the next step forward. Many new and exciting opportunities await! Below is a very small sampling of the thousands of opportunities I had and fun things I did during my SCA experience.