Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology
Arboretum Ambassadors intern, 2021-22
I initially applied for this position because I wanted to become involved with the Arboretum and Public Garden to learn about local flora. My experience, despite it only having been 3 quarters, has far exceeded my expectations. I have been able to connect with our community (student and local) through encouraging them to spend time enjoying the outdoors and providing them with the resources to feel comfortable in our space. Meeting people (regulars and new) at our Chair Share and Nature Rx outreach events has been so much fun. Through these events I have learned the value of providing and sharing accessible green space and I feel more confident in my abilities to foster a welcoming and safe space for people of different demographics.
In addition to the fun and meaningful connections I have built with people in our community, I have learned so much about the way our campus grounds are maintained and cared for through meeting interns and mentors on different Learning by Leading™ (LxL) teams and collaborating with them on workdays. Tree plantings are some of my favorite work days because we get to participate in activities that will have a long-lasting impact on the campus, and it was really fun to take part in projects like the Texas Tree Trials.
Melissa Cruz Hernandez, my staff mentor, has played a significant role in the development of my leadership skills, confidence and creative side. She has always encouraged me to take initiative and push for my ideas, which is how I came to take on the project of creating content for the collaboration between the Arboretum and Public Garden and the Girl Scouts. With her guidance, along with that of Carmia Feldman and Stacey Parker, I have created field guides, stickers, and other materials for the Girl Scouts as well as other our public events. It has been amazing to see people of all ages enjoying the coloring pages and stickers, because I feel as though those spark interest in learning about our local flora and fauna. The content-creating side of my experience at the Arboretum and Public Garden has inspired me to look into incorporating art into my future career, something I was always hesitant to do.
I will definitely miss seeing and working with the friends I have met at the Learning by Leading program. All of them, especially my team Marvin Lopez, Rogelio Lopez, and Alexis Silva, have made my experience so much fun. Because of the supportive and empowering people at the here, the LxL program has definitely made me realize what I value in a work environment. Now that I am stepping into my career, I feel more confident in finding the work that is fulfilling while advocating for myself. I have learned so much during my time in the Learning by Leading program and am extremely grateful for this experience!