Yahel Delgado-Diaz

Yahel Delgado-Diaz

Saturday, 12 September 2020 20:54

May the Force be with you

Hello there!

It is week twelve of my internship and sadly this will be my last entry.

Let me tell you, this summer I have felt like the star of a coming of age movie. Not your ordinary movie though, since if there was one it would be me in my home the whole time… Anyways, enough of my bad jokes!   I want to share some thoughts on my last assignment. My translation of the Junior Ranger Book was an enriching experience that broadened my vision of the large variety of words that can be found within the same vast Latino culture. When I decided to translate, I thought it was just changing words from one language to another. Simple enough right? WRONG! During the process I realized that I had to think about the different ways in which a word is said in different places in Latin America. Secondly, I had to put myself in the children’s shoes to understand how they would feel and react to what I was writing. I also remembered how I perceived things and imagined how another child from another country could perceive them. This task improved my vocabulary and allowed me to appreciate my perspective as well as that of a child.  This extended my range of knowledge and my ability to understand the variety of children I might encounter in a classroom in my future as an educator. I feel that my way of approaching diversity has also evolved for the better. Reflecting on this experience reassured my vocation to be a teacher because I know that is my calling.

Wednesday, 09 September 2020 18:21

The times we live in

Greetings! In a previous post, I mentioned there was a shift in momentum regarding task work and others, right? Well, it certainly did, and if time was a car ride, it is flooring the gas pedal.

It feels that way because online classes have started, while I still have a week of work remaining. While I do research for Hopewell Furnace historical site, I keep up with classes on different platforms. Apparently depending on the professor’s knowledge about technology dictates what platform and methods they use for online teaching. That has proven to be more of a problem than anything else, students are going mad keeping up with classes, assignments, virtual meetings, and for me work tasks. That resulted in constantly looking for ways to better my time management skills, a whole lot… lol 

On another topic, collaborating with Hopewell Furnace historical site has been going well! This week I’m presenting some archaeological research I did on the indigenous people that lived on my island before colonization, the Tainos. This is geared towards a HOFU project, providing examples and ways to interpret some new exhibits that Hopewell Furnace is working on. I’ve also focused on providing translations, which now that I think about it has been my essential role throughout the summer. Its been a steady line of work so far, but, with the start of classes Its definitely going to amp things up. I’ll be ready though, Believe it!!

 

Photo credits: NPS

Wednesday, 19 August 2020 19:20

Career Workshop: Done

Hello there, these past weeks have been a real shift in momentum. Here is how it happened…

As scheduled, National Park Service partners Environment for the Americas and Hispanic Access Foundation, held the LHIP Career and Professional virtual workshop in early August. Normally, the event I am referring takes place in Washington DC and interns from across the country meet and spend a week at the Department of the Interior. Logistics include talks, interns present their work and their helpful contributions to the parks. 

This year was different and best of all, it took place! I assisted the FIRST LHIP virtual workshop! I had the opportunity to experience a variety of events from meeting successful figures in the federal career world to being involved in yoga/meditative training sessions- I enjoyed those lol-another exciting thing was that the LHIP team got to meet Angelou, an important book author, social activist and even a poet. Before LHIP interns presentations day, I can assure you I was nervous, a zoom meeting with 60 people online and the speaker was being highlighted in all of the participants screens!! Anxiety had a role to play. Due to my name starting with the letter “Y” I was LITERALLY the last presenter. With that in mind, I was thinking most of the people would be tired from being bombarded with job details, contributions and park descriptions. I gained a spark of confidence following that line of thought (wink wink). My time was coming up. I had practiced 700 times in my mind, practiced with EFTA staff (thank you Susan and Sheylda!) and I was about to do my first ever virtual professional presentation…and I totally aced it! After that, I felt accomplished and relieved. I was able to enjoy a memorable conversation with the LHIP Alumni panel learning about the different approaches when facing adversity and different backgrounds. With the help of the speakers, the time together virtually, you could tell the interns connected successfully and I can now say I have new friends. 

On a side note, sitting behind a computer screen and attending virtual conferences for 4 days, 8 hours + was exhausting. Not because you are in the same place for long periods of time, it’s because my attention span would get smaller by the hour. For someone like me, who wants to be immersed in what is being provided, it felt something was lacking. Nonetheless it was great to be part of such an organized event and the opportunity to experience things differently.

Saturday, 18 July 2020 15:21

Learning how to "work and play"

As might be aware, I am not at my site this summer. Following my work plan, I was instructed to visit a park with the goal to see its attractions through the eyes of a visitor and as a professional. It was clear to me what I was looking for, from educational signs, to interviews with interpretation and education staff; all while having the experiences the park had to offer. I coordinated the visit to Toroverde Adventure Park located in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. It is recognized for having the longest zip-line in the world (2.5 Kilometers). I interviewed a staff member who identified himself as "Jose" who was very helpful telling me about the history of the park, their mission and their goals. I appreciate they want to promote ecotourism in the center of the island. You can visit their website here http://toroverdepr.com/.

That was the work part, now comes the play... I arrived at 9 a.m. and after preventive Covid 19 measures were taken, I was received by an interpreter (Jose) and proceeded to jump straight into action. They lead us to a tent outside the visitor center that was dedicated to gearing up visitors with harnesses, helmets and gloves. At the first zip line, my group, composed of only 3 people, was carefully instructed on the correct and safe ways to travel. After that, there were 8 zip lines- each with an average distance of 850+ feet ) had us ricocheting off the mountains! Let me tell you, after pumps of adrenaline filling my body because I was continuously being pushed off ledges I thought I'd mastered my zip line skills, until I realized that the final 2 rides (main attractions) were not only high-speed but also had the highest launch points. So, as I walked to the top of a tower, I think it's right to say I was underestimating the situation. When reality took over, I was next in line to be hooked up. Unlike the first 8 zip lines, the way to ride the "Monster" was head first, face down. My only sense of safety was holding on to the harness dangling on the cable and the dude that was securing my gear-not Jose! I didn't dare look towards the ledge or I would've been in the border of a nervous wreck.  I received the"go ahead" signal and was pushed off the ledge, for a second I forgot EVERYTHING the interpreter had said to me. For about two seconds I was 30 feet above the ground... after I passed the visitor center, and this is a rough estimate, I was about a thousand feet above the ground! The sensation of the rapidly increasing speed and my eyes watering made me laugh out of excitement. With that same happy feeling I started to tilt my upper body forward in hopes of increasing the speed-as if I wasn't already going 60 mph! Nearing the end, as instructed I extended my arms outwards, like a plane or bird, to decrease the momentum. I was essentially flying from one mountain to another and it was an unreal sensation. My day at the park ended at 2 p.m. and I was starving, I went to a local restaurant and ate delicious plantain dish "Mofongo". This experience was not only insightful and educational but also fun; learning how to work and play. I am really grateful I had the opportunity to have such a great experience during these "interesting" times.

 

Monday, 29 June 2020 15:42

My first step into a larger world

Hello there! I have completed my first week officially as an LHIP intern for Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site! Training week! Well it has not been all fun and excitement- I have been doing a lot of reading (A LOT) about NPS and its network. I would have liked doing this at the park, but we all know due to recent events (Covid-19) most interns were limited in this years' experience. Many of us are working from home and only a handful just recently started to get to their sites. Nonetheless, this has not made me unenthusiastic with my work. To add to that excitement, I met my supervisor virtually! I can honestly say the interpretation and Education Division at Hopewell Furnace is in the care of an amazing supervisor, Neil Koch. He sent me a package in the mail, with many materials I needed for my first week of training. He even sent me a Junior Ranger badge that made me feel like a true park ranger! He has been extremely organized following a work plan and has provided me with the resources and much-needed guidance with my upcoming assignments. He also coordinated a call with the site manager, David Blackburn, an experienced supervisor, leader, and communicator. The takeaway from this first week: the importance of "small" but mighty park. From its history to the culture that it harnesses, Hopewell Furnace is a gem among others, its small community and "skeleton crew" preserve its main attractions including a small animal farm, charcoal making, natural resources and historic buildings. Hopewell is a snapshot of history itself; it is one of the first territories that helped Americas Industrialization process. 

You may think "its just history" and that's exactly what it is. I recognize an unexposed person like me could not see the actual value of a park like this. I appreciated it but did not have the tools to value the history, the people, and the experience. I have made it my new mission to relay what I have learned and reach out to smaller and diverse communities, offer the opportunity to spark the interest of history in the children of Latino communities. As obvious as it may sound, there's a lot to learn in Hopewell Furnace. I think now more than ever people should get out of their daily routines and explore what is often overlooked and taken for granted. I want to go out there and talk about the pillar of iron-works in America, about the village, the history of the Hopewell Furnace Historical Site!

p.s. This is my first internship and I would like to highlight the amazing support I've received from my supervisor. This has made a world of difference in my experience. Not only as a mentor, also in a spiritual level he has encouraged me to express myself and be the Educator I am destined to be. I am starting this journey with fresh eyes and an open mind and my primordial goal here is to learn. Learn about the system and how it works, learn about the people and how they manifest themselves, about the world and why are some wonders hidden from the conciseness of society. I am taking my first step into a larger world and I cant wait to let my presence be known with a guide like Neil. 

Friday, 24 April 2020 00:07

Yahel Delgado-Diaz

I would like to become a teacher, a coach and a mentor for kids like me. Show them the opportunities that I came to experience, sometimes late. I'm also planning on studying long-term with the goal of a Ph.D. in sports management. The reason behind all my efforts is my never-ending passion for education and hopes of creating a generation full of capable people with the potential to become athletes and to guide them to a better future. I believe we should all have the same opportunities to succeed and become what we want in life. I come from a long line of educators, and this is a calling for me. My goal is to be an inspiring educator in any environment, and I think experiences like this internship do that - prepare students, aspiring professionals, with the skill set needed to achieve that. I have never worked in an internship before, and I think this is a great moment for me to start. Puerto Rico's educational system does not encourage other methods of work but is a maintain and settle type of mentality. I aspire to change that.