Upon leaving the classroom and landing my first job, I was disheartened that I might not find a career that could combine all my interests in environmental research, data analytics, and public service. However, I stumbled upon the Hispanic Access Foundations call for interns with the Forest Service and applied on a whim. As I had some familiarity with the Forest Service from my undergraduate research, I thought I'd be an ideal candidate. Before I knew it, I was on a flight to Georgia to spend a week with other interns, learning about the Forest Service's history and inner workings.
During my undergraduate studies, I held various positions in environmental research, outreach and education, and database management while pursuing a degree in Environmental Science. While it would have been easier for me to find a job that encompassed all my interests, I found it valuable to indulge these interests separately. After accepting my first full-time position at the University of Illinois, I immersed myself in environmental research while taking courses in cybersecurity and advanced topics in geospatial sciences. When I accepted my position as a Resource Assistant for the Forest Inventory and Analysis program, I knew I was in the right place to combine my experience in environmental research, database management, outreach efforts, and coursework in geospatial sciences to further scientific insight.
Since joining the Forest Service, I have been introduced to a wide range of work, including understanding the field protocols of the continuously monitored forested plots, conducting quality assessments, compiling and uploading data for public use, and attending meetings with research partners and tribal organizations. Through my work on the FIA workflows, from plot consideration to state reports, I have collaborated with many different people to understand how data is collected, stored, and processed to create reports on the forested lands of the United States.
I plan to use my skill set to develop computational systems that can be used for years to come and benefit the general public by processing large quantities of data in compelling and understandable ways, thereby contributing to the Forest Service's mission of "meeting the needs of present and future generations." I believe that working in the government is the most logical place for me to find a career, bringing together everything I have learned so far through my pursuit of an education and life experiences. I am excited to share my expertise in database management, geospatial applications, and outreach efforts with the Forest Service. What I like most about working with the Forest Service is that there is always work to be done and new people to meet.