Climbing the Hills of Dreams 101: A Road to Success [and corn fields]

Hiya! I’ll start by saying the basics:
I’m Carmen Yalexa Artiles. I am a National Park Service and Environment for the Americas [EFTA] intern in the Latino Heritage Internship Program [LHIP]. I will be interning at the Midwest Regional Planning Office in Omaha, Nebraska as a Park Planning Fellow. I have a bachelors in Geology and am currently trying to attain a Masters in Earth and Environmental Science with a focus on environmental equity, aquatic ecology, GIS, paleontology, and disability access within the sciences.

Now, this first blog will be focused on how little old me from East New York, Brooklyn, NY even landed out here in Omaha!
Believe it or not, I originally applied to LHIP in undergrad, did not get in.

I felt defeated, felt like the opportunity was just perfect and I couldn’t believe I “failed”. Turns out a closed door is not always a no but a redirection to growing and developing your interests more before being able to go through that door. In undergrad my focus was Geology and Paleontology only. I was a bit hard-headed and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything other than staring at rocks and fossils all day. In hindsight, I probably closed a few doors myself with this mentality. I even delayed going to graduate school by a year because I refused to go into anything that wasn’t paleontology. After getting rejected from LHIP I decided to listen to the signs and go into a broader program at CUNY Brooklyn College for Earth and Environmental Sciences. In my two semesters so far I have learned so much more about science, that as you can see above, I have way more interests now. That being said, with my new mentality and knowledge I decided to try to give EFTA a chance again. I have become a jack of all trades, a master of none, but better than a master of one; and I was ready to go somewhere that I can utilize all these new skills, and learn more. The most important thing out of all this was that before I didn’t have willingness to learn and adapt to new ideas and sciences. It is important to always be willing to learn more.

Thankfully, out in Omaha, I am learning a BUNCH. I am able to utilize all my skills as well. The projects I will be working on have to do with all of my interests [but that’s for another blog]. When I first heard Park Planning I didn’t think I would be much help. Turns out, not only will I be utilizing every one of my interests, I will have the chance to develop new interests and see new paths of being within the sciences. So far, interning has mainly been introductions, meetings, and filings. The vast majority of my time has been spent researching and reading as much as I can. Even in this first week of just meeting people I have been blown away. Apart from the sincere hospitality, the people I’ve met out here have all been extremely willing to teach and offer to teach me about their roles, their duties, how it ties into the National Park Service, and even a bit on how Omaha works as a city.

This is all to say, don’t ever give up on your dreams. If you have a door close, don’t take that as a sign to just go do something else. Study your craft harder, sign up to learn more, sign up to learn different things. If you love science, stick to it. Learn a bit of everything that you can so you can become a well-rounded scientist that’s willing to learn and adapt.
Adapting for a program like this is very important. I moved, changed program types, I even changed my look! Being willing to adapt and learn and just strive to become better daily will always work on your side. Your actions lead to your consequences but they also lead to your rewards. For me, learning more about the world of science and changing my mentality to be able to accept more opportunities completely changed my life in the most rewarding way possible. Now I’m in Omaha, Nebraska, little ol me, a girl that’s never even been past the Eastern Belt.

That’s why my title is what it is. The road to success isn’t a straight path and you will fall off sometimes. It is a valley of long winding hills that will feel like a pain going up them but with every milestone hit, it’s a nice trip down till the next hill. Every morning I climb a hill to get to the Midwest Regional Planning Office and every morning I am grateful for that reminder that I really did climb through a lot to get here. Every break I take represents the break I took before grad school and before coming here. Then, at the end of the hill, seeing the NPS building shining bright at me, it reminds me that I did it. I didn’t get here the first time, but I sure did it now. I climbed that hill. Now I am ready for the next!

Give me what ya got Omaha!
[Turns out, tornados]


[Featured Photo by Heriberto García on Unsplash]

  • Tokey Boswell
    Posted at 07:56h, 29 May

    What a thoughtful post. I think you are very right that we often close doors on ourselves by thinking we have the perfect plan and trying to take all the steps to get there. In reality we can only take one step at a time, and we always have so many more choices than we acknowledge at the time. So glad you chose to join us, Carmen. Enjoy it all!

  • KaNya T
    Posted at 08:06h, 29 May

    Great blog! Such a creative way to tell your story.

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