By: Joshlyn Perez
My name is Joshlyn Perez and this is my first internship. A little about me, I love being outside and learning about plants and animals. I have several pets including dogs, turtles, hermit crabs, fiddler crabs, fish, and a garden to maintain. My partner is also a Wildland Firefighter so you could imagine the constant state of chaos my home is in but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m also currently a Senior at West Texas A&M University and the Vice President of our WTAMU Chapter of The Wildlife Society. I am aiming to finish my bachelors in Wildlife Biology in May 2023. If you were to tell teenage me that I would be going to college to become a scientist, I would not have believed it. Yet here I am, a first-generation student ready to go further than my ancestors could only dream of.
It has been a long 10 years to reach my academic goals but it is worth the fight. I’m also a 3-time Alumni of several AmeriCorps programs serving in three different branches; VISTA, NCCC, and State & National. Altogether I have approximately over 3000 hours of documented service towards my community and several undocumented hours performed in my free time. Providing assistance to those who may need resources has always been a passion of mine. Ive stared defeat in the face with helplessness in my heart, and couldn’t see the light, but people in my community gave me strength, even if they did not notice the impact they had on me. I will continue to return the favor. I just started my internship with Ogallala Commons and I’m already seeing the 12 key assets of the commonwealth intersecting in my life. Recently, I’ve been finishing my WTAMU AmeriCorps R2OHP term in Pampa, TX by helping at the library summer reading program and community garden. There I met with Mia Dacus. She mentioned that she was also a member of Ogallala Commons and a volunteer at the Pampa Community Garden. Mia is also a Master Gardener and is friends with another panhandle Master Gardener Ginger, the mastermind behind Canyon Grows, where I rented my garden plot. Canyon Grows provides garden space for community members to grow their food, and share the surplus with the community. With the three of us alone, there are the following assets being shared; Education, Health, Sense of Place, Water Cycle, Wildlife & Natural World, Foodshed, and Soil & Mineral Cycle. Panhandle communities may be widespread geographically, but they share a lot of important aspects between each other. I’m interested to see how the other assets will intersect during my internship.