EducationJessica is a graduate of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She completed her Masters of Science degree in Geography, with a concentration in tourism planning and development. A large part of her coursework focused on the recreational geography of parklands and meanings associated with protected places. Jessica's thesis explored the relationship between geocaching and participants' abilities to learn about natural resources and history while partaking in the activity at a state park in Minnesota.
While in graduate school, Jessica served as president of the Kappa Lambda chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, an international honor society for geographers. She organized many geography-related excursions including snowshoeing, hiking, geocaching, camping, and kayaking. Volunteer activities included working with local elementary schools to facilitate geography bees and lessons in the classroom.
ExperienceJessica is fortunate to be employed at a beautiful and diverse state park on Lake Michigan. Through her work as an Interpretive Naturalist, she designs and facilitates programs regarding history and natural resources. One day, Jessica may be surrounded by Boy Scouts, knee-deep in a creek searching for crayfish to feed the resident turtles. The following day, you may find her presenting a program on artwork inspired by the surrounding landscape. Jessica likes planning events that attract new or unlikely visitors to the park; she believes that everyone can find enjoyment in the park if the right opportunities are presented to them.
Additionally, Jessica teaches at a community college. Her course, World Geography, examines globalization and the challenges it presents through a regional approach. She particularly enjoys educating students about the way that a local culture can be changed through diversifying economies.
Through the Association of American Geographers, Jessica presented her thesis research at their Annual Meeting in Seattle (2011). She was awarded the second-place honor for her research by the Recreation, Tourism, and Sport specialty group. Jessica maintains ties to other professional organizations, including the National Association for Interpretation and the National Recreation and Parks Association. She has contributed articles to publications for both groups.