I am from Southern Appalachia and consider the outdoors to be a big part of my culture. I was raised outside of Knoxville, TN. I joined the Navy right out of high school and did four years of active duty; nearly all of that time was spent out to sea. After I got out of active duty, I joined the Navy Reserve where I still continue to serve; I almost have ten years of service in the military.
This is my second AmeriCorps internship in the VetsWork program. My first term was in 2017 on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. The internship opened so many doors for me and landed me a job as a seasonal park ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and helped me obtain a full-time position working for the US Army’s Moral, Welfare, and Recreation program in Hawaii as a recreation specialist and advisor. During that job I realized I truly loved working outdoors and wanted to get back into the industry. After a talk with my husband, who is still active duty, we decided that it was time I started doing what I love again.
I am currently only one semester short of getting my bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in parks and recreation management (online). Because I was a transfer student I was able to create my own degree concentration of sustainable ecology. I plan on finishing my degree during this term of service. VetsWork is a great program and it really helps give veterans the tools to continue on with the next stages of their lives. I am really looking forward to getting to know people with similar interests, as well as working in a new part of the country.