16 November 2023

First Blog Post

Written by: Rebecca Aviña

First Blog post!

As the new Communications and Graphics Fellow at the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance, I've had an incredibly warm welcome to the team. My first adventure took me to the stunning Channel Island National Park, where I had the chance to connect my technology to the national park server. Although I'll be working from home, this mini adventure was a great start. Speaking of which, my family back in Washington was so excited for my new job that they wanted a first-day-of-school type picture, which I took in front of the Channel Island National Park entrance. I also want to note even though I grew up in Ventura county, I’ve never had the chance to visit so it was a nice treat.

Since then, I've joined various team meetings and have been familiarizing myself with the NPS RTCA website, understanding the valuable resources it offers. In my role, I've been focusing on enhancing communication and graphic design elements, which has been a wonderful way to connect with my team and contribute to our shared goals.

Moreover, I have been delving into some research with our team writer, Jenny Herring, focusing on Latino outreach in the Midwest. This exploration has involved seeking out initiatives aimed at providing support and opportunities for Latino and Hispanic communities. The insights gained from our research have shed light on the impactful work that the RTCA has accomplished in supporting communities, particularly their initiatives with indigenous outreach.

As I continue to settle in, I've been learning more about the RTCA's initiatives, which are essentially efforts to preserve and protect natural areas and promote outdoor recreational activities for all to enjoy. I'm thrilled to be part of these vital endeavors that positively impact the environment and communities alike.

This opportunity also holds a special place in my life as a first-generation graduate student. As I embark on this journey, I aspire to grow and diversify my skill set, taking full advantage of the chance to professionally work in national park projects and support my Latino and Hispanic communities. I'm eager to expand my knowledge in communication and graphic design and contribute to projects that connect people with the beauty of nature and conservation.

Being a first-generation grad student adds a unique dynamic to my experience. It's not just about my personal and professional growth, but it's also about setting an example for future generations within my community. I hope to show that with dedication and the right opportunities, anyone can make a positive impact and contribute to meaningful initiatives like those of the NPS RTCA.

Despite the initial adjustment period, everyone has been wonderfully welcoming. Learning about Latino and Hispanic organizations in the Midwest and reaching out to them for potential collaborations within our RTCA initiatives has been an enlightening and rewarding journey. I've always been passionate about supporting my community, and now, with this role, I can contribute to providing access to recreational and conservation opportunities for all.

I’m excited to see what else this journey brings, and how it shapes my future both personally and professionally. Until next time!

-Rebecca Aviña 

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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