“I came here feeling like a mere stranger but I’m leaving feeling as if I’ve gained a family. The hospitality I received from the park rangers, park hosts, and the landlord and her son has exceeded all my expectations. The people I met here in New England have been wonderful, there was this one older gentleman at Buffumville’s boat ramp that offered us a Klondike ice cream bar because it was scorching hot outside. I appreciate everyone that I have met and I give a big 'thank you' for welcoming us with open arms. I’ll miss this place and the people, thanks for all the crazy memories and stories. Special thanks to Nicole Giles, Jesse Caney, and Jared Gagnon.”
Her next big adventure will be spent in the Mojave Desert of southern California as part of the Desert Restoration Corps, doing conservation projects for the Bureau of Land Management. After living and working in the Mojave for eight months, she will be taking a mini detour home to Salt Lake City by flying to Anchorage instead and spending the summer there with her friend. Traveling, discovering new places and people on her excursions, and seizing the various opportunities life has to offer are just a few things Suradee is looking forward to.
“There were some interesting people in New England, the ‘Mass of crazies’ yelling at each other. Even when the weather was bad, you get a good laugh during your survey period time. I enjoyed those times which made our survey periods fly by.”
While working in New England, she decided that she would like to pursue higher education and get certified in GIS (Geographic Information System). She learned this summer that an undergraduate degree will open doors but that alone will not help her land the job she wants without furthering her education and gaining more experiences.
“I am glad I got the chance to live an area that I have never been before with some really cool people. It is nice to be able to say that I survived the Texas summer heat".
Following his stay in Texas he plans to join the Desert Restoration Corps in Ridgecrest California. He will be in Ridgecrest for eight months, living out in the desert for the majority of the time, working on building fences to prevent off-road vehicle from going on protected land. Following his stay in California, Matt hopes to be accepted into the Peace Corps, where he is currently a candidate for a position in Sub-Saharan Africa, working with the AIDS program, which is scheduled for June of 2013.
“I loved the hospitality of the south and from Texas. The people are so kind and humble. The majority of the gatekeepers are loving people and the workers at the core are awesome in to showing us the true beauty of their lakes. I will in the future come back to vacation down here in the lakes. The tranquility is something that can’t be beat”
He plans to take all the information he learned about the USACE and the dams with him as he pursues a degree in civil engineering. In particular, the knowledge he gained about how the Army Corps functions and the roles and responsibilities of different folks within the USACE.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to live in central Texas for the summer. I was able to experience the area so much more thoroughly then if I had simply been visiting and got to meet some really interesting people along the way.”
From her time with the Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Use Survey program, Jill developed her ability to always remain gracious and friendly when communicating with visitors and realized the importance of building connections with those around her. Additionally, getting a look into the day to day workings of the Corps-controlled lakes made her increasingly aware of the importance of keeping our natural resources clean.