Monica Dignam joined the Project Support Staff team here at the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands in late October of 2015. Monica manages our World Parks Academy account, with the two World Parks Academy credentialing programs, the Certified Park Professional and Certified International Park Professional.
Where were you located before you came to Eppley?
We came to Bloomington at the end of 2014 after three years in Dublin, Ireland, where I was a volunteer for two organizations: Foundation Centre of Ireland, where I designed, analyzed, and reported on the first countrywide study of citizen satisfaction with life in Ireland, Ireland’s Vital Signs (2012). The study was replicated in 2014, and I was a consultant to the professor who took over the statistical analysis and reporting. I also worked for OneFamily, a nonprofit serving single-parent families. Prior to that, I lived in Washington, DC and worked for the American Society of Association Executives as Chief of Research and Managing Director of the ASAE Foundation.
What originally sparked your interest in parks and public lands?
Well, I’ve always liked the outdoors but I was drawn more to the job, coordinating the certification programs offered through the World Parks Academy. The opportunity to help shape this program in its earliest stages is very interesting to me. As an association executive for most of my career I am interested in this area—most associations offer certification programs, and I’ve done several studies on the importance of these programs to professionals of all types.
What have been some of your favorite moments here at Eppley so far? Any particular favorite/memorable projects?
Well I haven’t been here long, but my favorite part of the job so far is working with the World Parks Academy Board of Regents. Participants in the BoR span the globe with the Chair in Ireland and members in South Africa, Norway, Japan, Australia, and South America. I like the international flavor.
Do you have any particular state or national parks that are your favorites?
I have had great experiences in the big ones—Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton—and we are headed to Mesa Verde in April, a trip I’m very much looking forward to, but I also like our local parks in Nashville, and the one in Owen County, and walking in Cascade Park here is Bloomington is always a pleasure.