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: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Program of study: M.A. Historical Archaeology (with a focus on shipwrecks but I dig too). In the off-season I work as a contract archaeologist on both land and underwater sites.
Position in our Outer Banks national parks: Seasonal Lead Interpretive Park Ranger.
Where you can be found: Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Other national parks you have worked at: Cane River Creole National Historic Park (Louisiana) as a Cultural Resources-Museum Aide and Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida) as Interpretation-AmeriCorps Service Member/Intern.
Currently reading/watching/listening to: It’s always changing!
What do you like to do in your free time? Surfing, scuba diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and camping/backpacking.
What do you like most about the Outer Banks? The amazing surfing and diverse history.
What inspired you to follow this career path?
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and history. Pursuing archaeology in school led to me spending two summers working for the cultural resources team at Cane River Creole National Historic Park while in undergrad. During my time in graduate school, in addition to archaeological work, I found myself working a lot of “odd jobs” that kind of related to park interpretation. I worked as a tour guide at a historical/archaeological site, as a substitute teacher, as a deckhand/divemaster and as the student director of my graduate university’s outdoor recreation program, just to name a few.
As I was finishing up my master’s thesis, I found myself joining AmeriCorps and being assigned to work with the interpretive park rangers at the Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. That was when I decided that the National Park Service was where I ultimately felt that I needed to pursue a career. Funny enough, the ranger who was my direct supervisor at Fort Pickens would end up transferring to the Outer Banks and then convincing me to take my first uniformed position with the National Park Service here.
What does a typical workday or work week look like for you?
Totally different every day! And that’s part of why I love what I get to do. Sure, I could say that a typical day entails interacting with visitors, leading formal and field programs, checking lighthouse tickets and things like that, but no two days are ever truly the same…keeps me on my toes!
What do you enjoy most about working at Cape Hatteras National Seashore?
If I’m being honest…my park housing is on the beach and I’m able to try and surf every day. But I also just love that I have so much variety in my day-to-day work and that I get to work in such an amazing place.
What is a favorite memory you have from your time working in the Outer Banks?
Literally too many to pick!
Why are our Outer Banks national parks important?
These places matter. The stories and lessons that can be learned here matter. Just like how the lighthouses guide ships at night, what we can learn here can help guide us into tomorrow. Not only that, but also both the natural and cultural resources here are treasures and we can’t afford to lose them. For these reasons and more, we need to protect our Outer Banks parks.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or about our Outer Banks national parks?
If you’re in the area at any time of the year you owe it to yourself to visit these places. Don’t miss any part of the awesomeness!