Former Conservation Intern Jose Padilla left Civicorps in August 2022 to begin the next chapter of his conservation career interning at Rush Creek Lodge and Spa at Yosemite. The internship has since evolved into a fulltime position in one of California’s most iconic natural spaces. We asked him a few questions about his experiences.
What brought you to Civicorps?
I started at Civicorps as a Conservation Intern. It was my first job out of college. I liked that it was outdoors and it was hands-on work. I wanted to expand my connections to regional employers like East Bay Regional Park District.
Rush Creek has an intern program that I found out about through Yvette [Yvette Arroyo-Agredano is Civicorps’ Pathways Manager]. You are there for four months as an intern in one of the six departments. Throughout the time, you learn more job training skills and they incorporate mandatory internship trips that vary each week. They would take us into Yosemite National Park or to do a lot of things that we hadn’t done before. When my internship ended after Thanksgiving, I started full time in a new department: Specialty Maintenance. They really supported us in every way to reach our goals. They were always pushing us and helping us in any way they could.
What was it like to go from working in the East Bay to working on the perimeter of Yosemite National Park?
After completing college one of my goals was to find a job at Yosemite National Park. I liked being outside and working in nature and Yvette thought this would be perfect. It was.
I grew up in Concord and spending a decent amount of time in Oakland. Being at Rush Creek Lodge was very different from city life. It was scenic and serene.
What advice would you give to current Corpsmembers?
Don’t take a lot of it for granted, all the things you can learn from the Park Rangers and everyone you meet on the job. I got really interested when the Park Rangers would come talk to us about the small details of the work we were doing. It was beneficial and helped me connect the dots. Use your time wisely. Always focus on your goals.