02 October 2023

Wrapping Up

As my fellowship ends, I have found myself reflecting on how I’ve changed throughout my 12 weeks with the Hispanic Access Foundation and the National Park Service. I am writing this blog post on the second-to-last day of my fellowship, and I am full of appreciation for this experience. On August 9, I shared my final “National Trails System Communications Fellow Overview” presentation with a group of people; some of which I worked with directly, but most were strangers who attended simply to support my work. Everyone's presence meant so much to me as I nervously went through each slide of my PowerPoint. I felt respected and supported throughout the presentation, and everyone seemed genuinely interested in the work I had completed throughout the summer. This feeling of respect is one that I have felt throughout the entirety of my fellowship.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified going into this fellowship. For one, I had never had a job with the federal government. Second, I have never worked in a remote environment before. Since my fellowship was so short, I hit the ground running on the very first day, immersing myself in the history and story behind the National Trails System. As I grew more comfortable, I started developing my fellowship deliverables. For the National Park Service, I was in charge of creating 12 forms of communications content for future posting as well as a communications calendar for the upcoming 12 months. For the Hispanic Access Foundation, I was tasked with writing 3 developmental blog posts, one of which you are reading now.

The work was difficult and time-extensive, but with the support of everyone at the National Park Service and the Hispanic Access Foundation, I was able to successfully complete all my deliverables. Along the way, I learned many valuable lessons. Quickly, I learned the importance of community in a remote environment. The network of people I have built is wonderful, and I have only had pleasant experiences with everyone. Without community, I honestly would have gone crazy working from home every day. From interviewing people for articles to team standing meetings, I have learned so much from those around me and have learned to appreciate the community that surrounded me. Another lesson I learned was to never be afraid to reach out for help. At first, I was hesitant to ask questions if people were using vocabulary I was unfamiliar with or to ask for assistance on articles. This fear quickly dissipated as I realized the best way to learn is to ask questions and ask for assistance when needed. The last and most important concept I learned is the values of the National Trail System and Hispanic Access Foundation. Through my creation of deliverables, I came to understand the importance of preserving cultural and natural resources for generations to come. Further, I learned the value of diversity in the workplace and on the trails that cover America.

Although my fellowship was short, I am left with an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my professional life. Thank you to everyone who has made this fellowship experience the best it could be.

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

E: info@hispanicaccess.org
P: (202) 640-4342