World of Work: Hannah Richman ’08, California State Parks

Hannah Richman in her Park Ranger uniformHannah Richman ‘08
State Park Peace Officer (Ranger), California State Parks
Major: Anthropology & Political Science

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

As a Park Ranger, I am charged with protecting the parks from the people and the people from the parks. It’s a balancing act between allowing people to explore and enjoy California State Parks while protecting the area for future generations to experience.

Tell us about your career path to this position.

I was an Anthropology major at UVM and had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. During my senior year of college, I went to a race at Angel Island State Park in California. When I got off the ferry, there was a Park Ranger on the island who struck up a conversation with me based on my hat (a State Parks hat I found at a thrift store). We started talking about his position and what an amazing job it was. He suggested that I go to the website and apply for a position in the spring. From there, it took me approximately 2 ½ years to get my job with the California State Parks and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is your favorite part of your work?

Every park has different needs. At my current park I spend the majority of my time patrolling in various off-road vehicles, making sure the people are behaving safely, and rendering first aid where needed. A part of why I like my job so much is that I am not confined to doing just one thing. I always wanted to be a lawyer, teacher, doctor, or someone who doesn’t have to sit in an office all day. As a Park Ranger I am an EMT who gets to practice my skills on a regular basis, I have an extensive understanding of the law and the criminal justice system, and every day I get to speak with the public and teach them about the area they are visiting. As a bonus, I learn more about California’s natural and cultural resources every day.

What three words would describe your work environment?

Dynamic, Challenging, Entertaining

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Anyone who is interested in working for California State Parks should go to www.parks.ca.gov and look under the jobs or volunteer headings. There are many opportunities to work for State Parks either as a volunteer or as a paid employee. Some of the jobs are part-time and seasonal positions and others are full-time employment. The Park Ranger position has many steps. Once the position is announced, the first step would be filling out a standard application found on the State Parks website.

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