It’s hard to fit all my experiences this summer into this last blog post. It was not only an internship at Glen Canyon; it was 12 weeks of traveling, friendships, good food, and even better times. It was a time to challenge myself, push myself out of my comfort zone, and say yes to new adventures. It was a period of extreme growth, learning, and development. Most importantly, and I can say this with certainty now that I’m leaving, it was a summer of falling in love with the southwest.

Just one of the amazing views I get to see all in a day’s work.

I met so many incredible people during my internship. They were all extremely welcoming, friendly, and easy going. I got along really well with my coworkers, which makes me excited to continue down this career path and keep working with similar people. These coworkers became my friends, my mentors, my confidants. Even people I just spoke to for five minutes at a gas station were so kind and hospitable. I made friends from Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott, and they definitely made me consider moving out here to see what else the southwest has to offer.

Me and my coworkers. It was a truly wonderful experience getting to know everyone and learning from them.

I’m glad I got to explore so much of the landscape while I was out here. Between dragonfly sampling, bat/owl/vegetation monitoring, and different trips and workshops, I really got to see a lot of Arizona and Utah. There’s no denying that the desert is a dangerous, hot, unpredictable place to love. But after acclimating to the heat and exploring different facets of the ecosystem, I’ve become a fan. There are beautiful havens hidden all over, from ephemeral waterfalls to leopard frogs to Datura flowers. The warnings of flash floods and heat exhaustion become less scary and more humbling. The desert is a vast, majestic, ever-present land. She is simply there. If we are lucky, we get to witness her beauty and explore her treasures. I will never forget this internship and all the opportunities that came along with it. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I’m back in a National Park.

Until next time, Glen Canyon… thank you for everything.


Katherine Ko

Hi there! I am a rising senior at Vanderbilt University double majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Theatre with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. I look forward to applying both my biological and artistic skills to a career in environmental stewardship and education. I love travelling, hiking, acting, singing, and photography (just to name a few). I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures!

2 Comments

Natalia · January 2, 2019 at 9:40 pm

Hello Katherine,

I just wanted to tell you how much reading about your experiences has inspired me. Not only that, but your biography has made a huge impact on me. I, too, am a theatre-lover, though of course, I also love conservation biology, and I never knew that somebody else like me, with a love for these two topics specifically, would/could ever pursue them both. But you have made me believe it is possible.
Thank you for sharing your experiences and a bit of yourself.
It means the world, to me, at least.

With Gratitude,

Natalia H.-B.

    Katherine Ko · January 7, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Natalia,
    This makes me so happy to hear! I’ve definitely encountered some road blocks trying to reconcile these interests, so I’m glad I was able to inspire you with my experiences. There are definitely amazing opportunities both in and outside of the National Park Service to combine theatre and biology skills; I’ve found that I really enjoy teaching visitors, leading citizen science outings, and getting to work with different (and super cool) biologists from various organizations. It’s really valuable to be someone with good interpersonal and public speaking skills in STEM fields. I hope you keep pursuing these passions, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you ever want to chat! 🙂

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