As a dual graduate from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX with a B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Public Administration and a Masters of Education from Ashford University, Vanessa Torres currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Interpretation for Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL. In her new role, Vanessa oversees the visitor experience operations throughout the park, including a visitor center, tours of the Lincoln Home, and multiple community engagement and education programs. Prior to Lincoln Home, Vanessa served as the Los Angeles District Supervisor for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The LA Office provides multiple programs and community engagement to the local gateway community. Vanessa worked to establish new partnerships in youth outreach and to connect underserved students and diverse populations to national parks in their backyard. Vanessa also serves as the co-chair of the National Park Service’s Latino Employee Resource Group. Additionally, Torres served as the Youth Program Analyst for the Department of Interior’s Youth, Partnerships and Service under the Office of the Secretary; serving as a liaison to DOI Bureaus’ Youth Managers, youth employment, engagement and diversity, relevancy and inclusion.
Vanessa has aided in developing a variety of outreach programs bridging the gap between diverse communities and their local national green space. Torres was integral in developing Santa Monica Mountains NRA’s mobile engagement center – LA Ranger Troca. LA Troca provides programming in the downtown Los Angeles metro area to bridge the gap between urban communities and their parks. Vanessa was also co-founder of the NPS Academy – a pilot program that brought together 29 diverse college students for a weeklong spring break training to expose students to public lands and potential careers within the NPS. Vanessa was an integral part of developing the NPS Academy program curriculum and assisting in expanding the program to other regions within the NPS System and assisted in having the program adopted at the NPS national level under the NPS National Youth Program Office.
On her spare time, Vanessa enjoys gardening, cooking and exploring new areas and road trips with her husband, Juan and their dog Bucky.