Latino Heritage Intern: Maryana Carreón

My name is Maryana Carreón and I am interning with the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) in partnership with Environment for the Americas this summer (2020) at Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites.
woman stands outside by a river
Maryana Carreón in Oak Glen, California

Courtesy of Manuel Chávez

How did you get involved with your internship program?

I learned about the Latino Heritage Internship Program through the National Park Service (NPS) website. I had previously done an internship with the Student Conservation Association after graduating from college and decided to pursue another internship in order to learn more about NPS and gain a different experience. I was excited when I saw that this internship was centered on the Latinx experience, as that is something I wanted to incorporate into my work in preservation and conservation!

What inspired you to choose an internship with the National Park Service?

Like many others, I grew up going to National and State Parks. For me, these places served not only as a space of recreation but also as a space for education for my family and I. There was finally an opportunity for me to actively learn WITH my parents. I view these park systems as unique resources for education beyond the traditional classrooms. This is especially important for those who have mixed-educated families. Although I am a first-generation college graduate, I whole-heartedly believe that my most valuable educational experiences were those I learned at parks and museums, those of which I was able to learn and interpret alongside my family. I was inspired to pursue work in this field to help and encourage other families to not only have similar experiences but to build upon them as well.
woman sits on steps of brick building
Maryana Carreón explores Salem Maritime

What does your job involve?/What is a typical day like?

My job is constantly changing in order to fit COVID-19 guidelines. I have been in constant communication with my supervisors who have been extremely flexible and want me to have the best possible experience in this current situation. Because I just moved to Salem, I am currently under quarantine for two weeks. During my time in quarantine, I will be reading/researching the history of the area and the park, as well as attending staff meetings and virtual programs and events. Once my self-quarantine is over, I will be able to go out onto the field and do some socially distanced work! This will involve exploring both Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic sites as well as the nearby El Punto neighborhood in order to gain a better understanding of the community and history of the area. I aim to connect with park staff, locals, and the surrounding Latinx communities in order to help create stronger relationships and encourage stewardship and engagement!

How has your cultural heritage or anything from your background influenced or tied into your work?

As stated before, I grew up visiting a variety of State and National parks with my family. Because of this, I know the trouble of navigating and experiencing park resources; especially coming from a Mexican immigrant family whose primary language is Spanish. Through my work I want Latinx communities to feel curious, invited, and encouraged at National Park units across the country. I want to be a part of the work and solution to increase Latinx exploration, recreation, and education within these systems.

What would you like to share with other people who may be in your job or in stewardship?

I want to remind all the Latinx and other underrepresented communities in my stewardship/job, those who have become doubtful and maybe disillusioned, that there is space for us! It is thanks to them and their efforts that our stories are told and included within these spaces. Our histories and futures are also within these public lands. Our mixed stories of pain, migration, joy, community, recreation, and advocacy- those of our battles and our victories are all held and waiting to be further explored within these parks. Who better to tell these stories than us?

Selfie of a woman on Salem Maritime's lawn
During Latino Conservation Week, Maryana Carreón wants to protect culture.

Latino Conservation Week (LCW) highlights the Latinx community's passion for conservation. This LCW, what do you want to protect?

I want to help protect culture because it helps connect us to our past, future, and communities. Although culture should never be stagnant and should change as we learn and do better, to me, helping to preserving culture is the link between our past, current, and future generations.
Maryana Carreón graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2019 with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in History. She is originally from Hemet, California

Part of a series of articles titled Staff of Saugus Iron Works and Salem Maritime National Historic Sites.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site

Last updated: March 23, 2022