The Possibilities are Endless

This was the third time I had found myself in the Evergreen State since the beginning of my internship. The first two times Brenda and I were exploring the Nisqually and Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuges. On this early Tuesday morning we were at Fort Vancouver National Historical Site waiting for Katherine Archuleta. Ms. Archuleta was appointed by President Obama to lead the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and is the first Latina to head this federal agency. Ms. Archuleta was in town to meet with the National Park Service and some participants of the Pathways program to discuss ways of integrating diversity into government positions. Although I am not in the Pathways program, Brenda and I were invited to provide insight as interns housed by a government agency. The conversation began shortly after all thirteen of us settled ourselves around a long table. Scott Tucker, the superintendent of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, sat to the left of me and across from him was Katherine Archuleta. Scott welcomed and introduced Ms. Archuleta in the most proper way. Scott began his intro by speaking about Katherine’s accomplishments and her goals. In a professional but kind tone Ms. Archuleta thanked Scott for the introduction and thank us all for being here. I felt as if I was watching a live NPR interview with Scott as the reporter and Katherine as the guest speaker of course. I couldn’t believe I was in a room with such an important person.
An hour had passed and the meeting had ended. 60 minutes was not enough to discuss this matter it was only enough time to start a conversation. To get the wheels turning. So I listened and took in everything I could. Before this meeting I never truly considered working for the government. For some reason it seemed like something I could’t do. I remember reading about the US Fish and Wildlife Service in my conservation courses in college. I was so amazed by all the conservation efforts made by the USFW that I would sit there and wonder how I ever could connect myself to this agency. I didn’t really understand much about it, but as long as conservation was a part of it, I wanted in. And here I am today

Liliana Calderon
lcalde4@illinois.edu
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