In 2006 I was the first student at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in historical interpretation. A semester after graduation, I enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Oklahoma. After my first semester there, I was inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society for my academic achievements. While seeking a graduate degree in museum studies I worked at the Fort Smith National Historic Site under the student career experience program.
(I'm 3rd from the left)
While working at the park, my supervisor sent me to a historic weapons training course. Since I enjoy reenacting and shooting Civil War artillery, I was overjoyed to attend. The training was held at Fort McClelland, Alabama for two weeks in February. There were one hundred students from National Parks all over the country, giving me the opportunity to meet like minded people. Every day we practiced musket and artillery drill while modern recruits performed their drill nearby. At times we were a distraction because of the variety of historical uniforms we wore. I witnessed recruits getting yelled at because when they paid attention to us rather than their drill. On the last day of the training we fired cannon balls from reproduction artillery pieces which made all the hard work worthwhile.
A few months later, the Park Service sent me to a different training at the Grand Canyon where I lived in the park for two weeks. My first day there it snowed seven inches. Afterwards, the snow melted and it remained around seventy degrees for the rest my visit. Most of the days there were spent in a classroom with fifty other students. Fortunately, when I had the weekends off I hiked both the Bright Angel and Kaibab Trails down into the canyon. On the last day of the training all the students put their money together for a large cookout and three rangers from Hawaii made a fabulous the barbecue. At each of these classes, I made great friends and met interesting individuals.
(On a trail down into the Canyon)
In the winter of 2008, I bought my first house with six acres. Buying my own home was one of the main accomplishments I wanted to achieve in life. Because I managed to find a house with land, I started a new hobby by planting a garden. It is my plan to learn how to successfully grow heirloom plants.
Finally, in the spring of 2009, I graduated with my master’s degree. Soon after, The Park Service gave me a permanent job at the historic site. Each of these events was a completion of goals set before I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. Overall, it has been an exciting three years since I graduated from UA Fort Smith. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in historical interpretation gave me the building blocks to achieve many of my goals in life. I wish to thank all of my professors from UA Fort Smith who helped prepare me for such a great life.