Diversity, Education, and Inspiration
Cassidy Jones makes her mark on the National Parks Service and beyond
by Lexie Banks (’12, MACL ’15)
Cassidy Jones (’11) filled many roles on campus: an Honors student, a peer mentor, a study-abroad student in Madagascar, and one of the school’s first Fulbright Scholars. At Westminster, after taking classes from Jeff McCarthy, Cassidy found a passion for environmental literature, which led to several years vacillating between her two passions: cultural diplomacy and environmental activism.
“I always had a drive toward internationalism,” Cassidy says. “Studying abroad Madagascar was life-changing and made me feel like I was globally participating. It was my validation as a human. But environmental thought really resonated with me. People are writing about modern issues and working with the idea of people’s relationship with place. Those narratives communicate why a place is important and worthy of protecting.”
After graduation, Cassidy pursued her first love: international relations. As a Fulbright English teaching assistant for first-year university students in Turkey, Cassidy built relationships with people from different cultures and countries to improve general relations. This experience enhanced her appreciation for diversity, sensitivity, and an openness to people of different backgrounds.
Cassidy returned to the United States and began pursuing her environmental passion through an internship with the National Parks Service in Boston. This eventually led to her current position as an interpretive ranger and emergency medical responder for the Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah. In this position, Cassidy provides inspiration and education for diverse people to enjoy the monument.
“Timpanogos is Utah’s true urban park,” Cassidy notes. “It’s at the doorstep of the Wasatch Front. For many kids, this is the only national park they can feasibly visit. We have unique access to classrooms in Title I areas and underserved youth who otherwise are not learning about natural resources.”
Cassidy had the opportunity to expand her role in these educational initiatives last year. The expanded role allowed her to bring educational programs to local schools year-round and take advantage of the monument’s urban setting.
This is a particularly exciting time to be involved in the National Parks Service as it celebrates its centennial birthday. Cassidy will be executing the service’s vision of expanding educational opportunities and appealing to new audiences for a more sustainable park system in the future. In addition, she is working on her master’s degree in parks, recreation, and tourism at the University of Utah, focusing on the National Parks Service’s educational outreach and natural resource management.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.