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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Blazing a New Trail in America's Parks

Photo of Valerie McCampbell After six months of training with California AmeriCorps, Valerie McCampbell found her passion for trail work and conservation. She worked for the National Park Service at Kings Canyon National Park & Golden Gate National Park in California before moving to Minnesota to become a Ranger in the Boundary Waters. She loves the outdoors but wanted to increase her skill set to develop her future opportunities. As a woman of color working in a predominantly white male field, she felt she had to work twice as hard as others to be valued for her work. With a career ambition to help other minority women blaze a new trail in this adventurous field, Valerie enrolled in Saint Paul College’s carpentry program to enhance her technical, communication, and leadership skills.

To increase her technical skills, Valerie sought to expand her knowledge base in the carpentry field and how to become more precise with her maintenance work. She learned much, so much, in such a short period in the classroom. She learned how to safely work with new tools, including circular saws and pneumatic tools such as fasteners and nail guns. She learned tricks of the trade, including how to be more precise with hand saws and unique ways to gain more accurate measurements. She is thrilled that instructors work individually with Photo of Valerie McCampbell all students for classroom and fieldwork assignments. She loves how the instructor works with all students on a level playing field and how students work together in teams to undertake challenging projects.

To become a trailblazer in helping women and people of color enter this field, Valerie knew she had to gain confidence in working in settings where she used to feel intimidated or un-represented. Following her education, Valerie now feels fully confident in her technical, communication, and team skills to go out and become a leading trailblazer in helping other minorities enter into and become successful in carpentry, conservation, and other related fields.

Valerie also serves as the Saint Paul College SkillsUSA President. Read more about how Saint Paul College Students Exceled at the SkillsUSA Competition in 2022.

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