All the places where we live and travel play important roles in forming who we are. Every city or region leads to memories that can only be connected to that particular place. Just like everyone else, I have so many places that make me into the person that I am today. The Tetons is one of those places. 

In the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to come to Teton Science Schools through a Maymester course with Rhodes College. I was overjoyed with excitement and wonder about this place in Kelly, Wyoming that I had never explored. I knew immediately that I would not be the same after my time there. The natural world had been calling to me for years, and it was here in the Tetons that I decided to start my lifelong journey.

Three years and a college degree later, I felt the Tetons calling me back to them, and I applied for the Winter AmeriCorps program at TSS in Jackson. I wanted to give back to others the knowledge I received here several years ago. It is so special that places like TSS exist; it means that more people can appreciate the world around them. I’ve only been here for three weeks, but already I am constantly reminded how beautiful the natural world is and given hope that so many people are passionate about place-based education. The AmeriCorps program has already taught us to be confident in ourselves and to rely on each other so that we can be effective educators, not just now but when we go our separate ways. I think it is so important that TSS requires us to reach out to the community as well. By sharing my passions with the greater community, I have the opportunity to build more bridges and engage more inquiring minds. 
 
I imagine these next several months will be full of wonders, challenges, and so much more, all continuing to shape who I am. I hope that everyone who comes to TSS – participants, teachers, AmeriCorps members – gains memories and experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.