Humans of the Gateway Arch: Meet Erin
Each month, we’re spotlighting a member of the Gateway Arch team who helps make the Arch one of premier travel destinations in the world. The Arch’s park partners work together to attract and welcome visitors to St. Louis’ renovated urban national park, where visitors can create lasting memories and return.
Meet Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann, Director of Education at Gateway Arch National Park. She recently celebrated her two-year anniversary with the park.
Q: Describe your role as Director of Education at Gateway Arch National Park.
A: We have a team of educators who work to bring students and other groups to our park to learn about St. Louis’ role in Westward Expansion and the cases that were settled in the historic Old Courthouse. We work to connect people to the park by engaging them in activities and programs that convey the significance of the site. We hope to inspire in them a love for Gateway Arch and the 417 other National Parks around our country.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at the park?
A: I love having the opportunity to walk around the park grounds and talk to our visitors. They are so diverse; some are our park neighbors who eat their lunches or walk their dogs on the grounds, and some come from around the world to see and experience the Arch. They are inspiring and remind me of the importance of the mission and efforts of the National Park Service.
Q: What’s been your most memorable moment at the park?
A: Last fall, fourth grade students from our partner school, Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis, Ill., visited the park. We Skyped with Astronaut Serena M. Auñón–Chancellor on the International Space Station. We related the spirit of exploration that Lewis & Clark’s Corps of Discovery exhibited during their cross-country mission to that same spirit the astronauts exhibit when they travel into space. It was amazing experience for each of us.