HBCUI Leadership & Careers Workshop: Two Cities, One Movement
The HBCUI Leadership & Careers Workshop for the South Region went remarkably, the students all had the opportunity to meet with National Parks Service officials, many of the officials present made the work the interns do possible. HBCUI interns also had the opportunity to network with many great people who served as speakers, presenters, moderators, and special guests at the workshop such as Audrey Peterman, Shonda Shropshire, and Judy Forte.
Each student had the opportunity to present their own presentation, which served as a testament to the spirit of the internship itself; each members’ presentation also served as a catalog of their time during the internship by elaborating on their position and duties at their respective site. Several of the interns’ presentations reflected how they felt about the HBCUI experience, and how much they have learned while working for the National Park Service via Greening Youth. Students also participated in a digital media journal contestand the winner was Chelsea Mott, intern at Little Rock Central High.
Interns were also able to meet George McDonald, Youth Programs Manager for the National Parks Service, Angelou Ezeilo, Founder and CEO of Greening Youth Foundation, and an esteemed panel of NPS staff that were able to share their experiences with students and advice for possible future careers with the National Park Service.
On Wednesday August 5th the 2015 HBCUI interns began their workshop by meeting with the Director of the National Park Service (Jonathan B. Jarvis). This meeting took place in the magnificent south penthouse of the Interior building. The murals around the building, and especially the penthouse were a sight to see. The director took the time out his day to talk about the importance of the diversity programs NPS is offering and then he made time for Q&A. Later that evening the students had an opening mixer at Vapiano’s. After eating the young interns were blown away by the singing and storytelling of our guest speaker Dorien Blythes (Diversity Environmental Leaders).
On Thursday August 6th the HBCUI program started to day by presenting Ranger Vince Vaise with the HBCUI Trailblazer Award. Ranger Vince Vaise has been a huge advocate for HBCUI for many years and he had the pleasure of supervising our interns at Ft. Mchenery the past few summers. After breakfast, Ranger Vince Vaise made us all laugh with his impersonation of Don Corleone (The Godfather). It was a special moment to spend together and all the interns could see how passion he is about his career with NPS. Immediately following his award presentation we took foot to the streets of Washington D.C. on our journey to The White House. Once we arrived on the White House lawn for entrance and screening you could feel the anticipation of the students in the air, each intern eagerly wondering if he or she would have the opportunity to see The President of the United States Barack Obama. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the President but we did have the chance to take a self-guided tour through the East Wing, which included; the Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, and Family Dinning Room of the White House.
Later that afternoon we returned to the Department of Interior building for our “Navigating Careers in the Federal Government Panel.” During this session we had four distinguished government employees tell us about their careers, and what it took for them to get where they are now. This panel allowed the students to get some personal time interviewing our speakers and learning the obstacles that you must overcome when you are a minority in the federal government. Guest speaker Deanna Mitchell, who is the Site Manager at the Tuskegee Airmen Site said the main thing that she learned throughout her career was to get used to the word “NO.” Many times throughout her entire life and career she was told “NO.” That did not discourage her from meeting her goals in life, it just fueled her to want it even more. We concluded the day with group presentations where the interns shared their summer experiences and talked about all fun they had the past few weeks.
On Friday August 7th, all the HBCUI students took the DC Metro to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. When we arrived we were met and greeted by many members from the Trust who were eager to engage us. During this meeting we learned about what the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation does in our communities and what job opportunities the Trust might have for our interns. Later that day, we concluded our workshop by having soul food at Georgia Brown’s. The food was amazing and we all had the chance to laugh, cry, and say our goodbyes until next year…