We recently sat down with Everly Jazi, a graduate of George Washington University and a field educator at Teton Science Schools, and asked her about her experience at the National Park Service Academy (NPSA) in 2016. NPSA is one of the Foundation’s youth initiatives that introduces diverse college students to a range of career paths within the National Park Service. Here she reflects on some takeaways from her transformative experience at NPSA in Grand Teton.
1. How did you learn about NPSA? What made you want to apply?
I went to school in D.C. and whenever I needed a break from the hustle and bustle, I went to one of the many green spaces in town. The day I learned about NPSA, I was walking on the National Mall and was stuck between visitors and a ranger. I’m still not sure why, but I decided to ask the ranger how he got his start with the park service. He told me about SCA and NPSA and I decided that that is how I wanted to spend my summer.
2. What was a major takeaway from your NPSA experience in GTNP?
It was the first time I considered working in parks, living in wilderness areas, making homemade pizza, teaching and connecting others with the environment. I never saw myself doing those things until my time at NPS Academy.
3. How has it impacted your life?
It has changed my career path and has helped me connect thousands of others to the outdoors. I wouldn’t have such a deep understanding of who I am and what impact I want to make without it.
4. Has NPSA opened doors to other opportunities for you?
I went on to graduate and took an interpretive ranger position at Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. I then volunteered in Yosemite and now I am back, to where it all began, taking school groups and students on science-learning trips in the Tetons.
5. How is what you find yourself doing or interested in now related to your time at NPSA?
My time at NPSA showed me how important and vital it is to connect with nature, no matter where you come from. I have been working to connect others, especially those of under-resourced backgrounds, to the outdoors through working for the park service, for City Kids Wilderness Project, and now Teton Science Schools.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Everly. We wish you the best of luck on your next adventures.