2022 VetsWork: Donald Hollingsworth

by | VW 2022

I was born in Missouri and attended high school across the Missouri River in Leavenworth, Kansas, where I graduated in 2015. Growing up, I enjoyed camping, Boy Scouts, cycling, canoeing, snowboarding, and school sports. My immediate family includes my parents and three brothers, one older. Growing up, we were very active members of the Catholic Church and the Fort Leavenworth Army Chapel. After high school, I enlisted as a 9S100 in the Air Force, a “Scientific Application Specialist” (not very descriptive, I know). I worked in the Intelligence Community as a Synthetic Aperture RADAR analyst at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. I learned a lot about Remote Sensing. Notably, there was a whole world of applied satellite and software technologies I could learn more about.

After finishing my four years of Active Duty enlistment, I spent one year in the Reserves. I made great friends and mentors who cared about my development as a person. I learned and matured a lot through serving in the Air Force, and I am grateful to be using the GI Bill and receiving a disability payment and healthcare from the VA.

I had a positive and instructive time in the Air Force, and I wanted to use my GI Bill to earn my degree and focus my abilities and experience from remote sensing on problems outside of the DoD and see how that works out for me. I am attending the University of Cincinnati and have about two semesters of classes left to finish my bachelor’s degree in Geography (I expect to graduate by the end of 2023). Last year, I received an email from a student veteran organization promoting the VetsWork Environment program. Right away, the mission of exposing veterans to work in outdoor/natural resource management sounded right up my alley. I decided to spend more time thinking about it while continuing my classes. In the end I applied to complete an experiential learning credit for my degree.

I am excited to be serving an VetsWork AmeriCorps intern on the Umatilla National Forest. As the Trails Project Coordinator I am looking forward to meeting a new and challenging opportunity in this position. Upon moving to Oregon, I plan to increase cardio training to prepare to climb a mountain and do lots of outdoor activities. I climbed Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah (only to 10,000 ft., not quite the summit) and camped next to a frozen alpine lake at 10k ft. That was a great experience, and I am looking forward to exploring in the snow of Oregon, snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, etc. I also look forward to one of my favorite hobbies, mountain biking.

I want to contribute all I can through hard work on projects and positive critiques to the program and New Trail Complex at the Malheur National Forest.