Nara McCray, YEP Grad

YEP Crew Member ’08, Crew Leader ’09

I am currently a Junior Environmental Science major at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. I traveled so far from home due to a full academic scholarship as incentive. After experiencing my first job with the Youth Employment in Parks Program as a Crew Member my junior year of high school, I discovered Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and soon became the President of the Anchorage chapter. I worked another summer with YEP as a Senior Crew Member before venturing off to college in the south.

In 2010 I was a Media and Technology intern with AYEA though the Alaska Conservation Foundation Internship Program. Last summer I was a Student Conservation Association intern with the National Park Service at Grand Teton National Park in Moose, WY as a Geographic Information System Intern. Working for the Park Service was not something I necessarily sought out, the opportunity kind of just fell into my lap. I am now convinced working with parks is destined.

My experience with YEP led me to become an active environmentalist; I have lobbied in our capital, Juneau promoting the support of bills while in high school, and last year in Washington DC for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. My activity in this organization molded me into a leader; I have held executive leadership positions in campus organizations such as the N.A.A.C.P., the Honors Program, The Environmental Science Club, Planet Peace and the Student Government Association.

There is no doubt that the trust and responsibility that the Anchorage Park Foundation and Municipality of Anchorage’s Parks and Recreations Department put into us youth has fostered a drive for success in me and hopefully all other participants in the Youth Employment in Parks Program. I hope to have a career in conservation work or in land management with the government.