Sitting in the back of an SUV listening to a park ranger explain the intricacies of the national park we were exploring, I joyously gazed out the window at the majestic landscape surrounding me. Throughout my life, my family and I have visited many National Parks, whether it was Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Olympic National Park or Hawaii’s Volcano National Park.
Starting as a child and continuing on to this day, I feel drawn to animals and wildlife and feel happiest while bounding through the ocean or the forests. I was (and still am) the child that cried for the wounded or dying animals in movies and was the first to jump into the mud pile at sleep away camp. My inner child awakens every time I am in the outdoors and the trips I have taken to National Parks, both in America and abroad, have sparked a lively deep love and appreciation for nature that fuels my spirit to this day.
When I moved from Southern California to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, I was exposed to more beauty than I could have imagined. Through exploring the Pacific Northwest and the glory of trees and mountains I developed a love for that ecosystem, as well as a new appreciation of the desert coastal terrain I grew up in. I take advantage of any opportunity I have to be in the outdoors, whether that’s through hiking through mountains to lakes outside of Seattle, canoeing in Lake Union or Lake Washington, biking to one of the various parks around Seattle or taking long walks on the beach in my hometown of San Diego.
At the University of Washington, my three years of studying Biological Anthropology (specifically primates), has taught me how to appreciate the world’s evolutionary past and how important it is to preserve its natural environment for the future. I am an Honors student, conducting research on macaque-human conflict in Singapore using geographic information systems (GIS) data to analyze and hopefully alleviate this primate-human conflict. In addition to studying primates, I minor in American Sign Language and have taken many courses on how human health is affected by the discrepancies between our evolutionary past and our current lifestyles. When I am not in the outdoors or studying, I love painting, cooking with my friends, listening to stand-up comedy and over-extending my stay while petting any dog I meet on the sidewalk.
I am incredibly excited for this internship opportunity and cannot wait to learn more about the National Parks and to work towards inspiring others to find access to nature and hopefully love the outdoors as much as I do. I continue to be inspired by the interconnectivity of the natural world and thrive off of how I feel as I gaze out at the world in front of me, just as I did as a child.