Why did you start working for the National Park Service?
As a kid, I loved visiting parks and outdoor spaces. I couldn’t think of a better place to work where I could get paid to spend my days in amazing places like our National Parks.
How long have you been working for NPS and more specifically, at Ste. Gen?
I’ve been working for NPS since 2002 in various technical and administrative positions in the Pacific West and more recently at Indiana Dunes National Park. I’ve been on the job for Ste Genevieve NHP since January 2020.
What is particularly special about the park you manage, or why should someone visit?
In grade school, so few of us learn about the French colonies that existed in North America. Our schoolbooks focus on the British colonies of New England. It’s an important piece of America’s history that’s overlooked. The French colonies were very different, and it’s fascinating to compare and contrast those two worlds.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I think my favorite part is watching when new employees get as excited about our places and stories as I am. Priceless! Then, we geek out as a team over all the cool things we can do to give our visitors an experience to remember.
What kinds of careers are available in the Park Service?
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to chat with college students about Park Service careers on several occasions, and I feel that I’ve taken a nontraditional path to get to my current position. So, I like to encourage students to find “their” path to the job they desire and to emphasize that there’s no one way to reach their goals. Follow your passion! We have so many opportunities and fields in NPS, from science, history, and administration to our iconic Park Ranger.
Are you reading or watching anything interesting right now?
I started watching some documentaries produced by Breakwater Studios. I’m captivated by their films and how they portray the lives of the people highlighted in their work. It’s beautiful and compelling. Check them out!
What’s your favorite activity to do at your park?
Of late, it’s being present when someone discovers a new document with unseen information or when someone solves a mystery about the construction of one of our old houses. Then to share that discovery with others, it makes my day!
Your park’s best kept secret is…?
That’s a really good question! I think our secret is the depth of history here including the cultural diversity, stories of civil rights, and of course the amazing architecture. All of that is from the colonial and early American period in the Midwest!