Our Meet Your Ranger series introduces you to the many amazing people who support our Outer Banks national parks every day!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hometown: Pennington, New Jersey.
Education: Undergraduate degree in History and Anthropology and certificate in Museum Studies from The College of William & Mary. Master’s of Science Education from Oregon State University.
Position in our parks/where you can be found: Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services for Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. I work mostly at park headquarters in Manteo.
Other national parks you’ve worked at: Vicksburg National Military Park (Mississippi), Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Arizona), Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), Great Basin National Park (Nevada) and seasonally at Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota) and Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico).
Currently watching and reading: My wife and I are currently watching every cheesy horror movie we can find! I’m reading Blue Latitudes: Boldy Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, by Tony Horwitz.
What do you like doing in your free time? Exploring the outdoors with our three kids and starting to dabble in amateur woodworking.
What do you like most about the Outer Banks? The fun, welcoming community, and the passion our locals and visitors have for the national parks of the Outer Banks. (And the seafood!)
What inspired you to follow this career path?
As a child, my parents took us to many national parks, and I always enjoyed meeting and talking with park rangers. It amazed me that these individuals knew so much about these special places and would spend the time with me and my brothers to help us understand the importance of our parks (and help us have fun!). In college, I dreamed of becoming an archeologist and had the opportunity to complete internships at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia) and Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia), which helped me realize that I wanted to be a park ranger.
What does a typical workday or work week look like for you?
My main focus is to make sure that the visitor side of the Outer Banks national parks is operating smoothly. This includes everything from our visitor centers to our lighthouses, ranger-led programs, education programming, distance-learning, social media, websites, exhibits and volunteer programs. I make sure they are working efficiently so that our visitors have the information they need to have a safe and fun visit, while also helping visitors understand why these parks are significant and worth protecting.
What do you enjoy most about working in our Outer Banks national parks?
I love seeing the deep connections people have with our parks and community. It is exciting to see people being awed by their first visit to our parks, but equally as humbling to see families returning year-after-year and sharing their childhood memories with their children and grandchildren.
What is your favorite memory from working in our Outer Banks national parks?
There have been a lot of great memories in these last few years. One of my favorites was working with the local community to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move in July 2019. It was awe-inspiring to work with such passionate members of the local community to honor this special anniversary, while also learning first-hand about the concern, controversy and passion surrounding the move. I came away convinced that the people of the Outer Banks care so passionately about the heritage and significance of this place, and I am honored to help protect and share this passion with our visitors.
Why are our Outer Banks national parks important?
There are so many important stories that our Outer Banks national parks can help us explore. Every important era in our nation’s history can be measurably seen and experienced in our three parks. From Native American culture to the colonial-contact era, early exploration and settlement, the Civil War, the World Wars, conquering powered flight, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, it all happened here on the Outer Banks. That, paired with the amazing fact that these parks serve as living scientific laboratories where we can experience science-in-action and continue to learn more from our natural world. From the ongoing archeological excavations and historical investigations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, to the incredible work on recording sea turtle data at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, to being at the forefront of the study of sea-level rise, these parks help us explore our complex national narrative while offering locals and visitors beautiful places to experience nature in its truest form.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or our parks?
We are excited to continue expanding our interpretive programs and services. Make sure you follow us on social media to hear about all the neat ways to engage with our national parks. We are always looking for individuals to volunteer at our national parks. Check out www.volunteer.gov to search for opportunities in the Outer Banks parks and in parks around the nation!