Name: Jalia Sheppard
School: Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
Origin: Southside of Chicago
Jalia Sheppard got the opportunity of a lifetime when she was chosen to participate in the Lincoln Park’s Apprenticeship Program. She found out about the opportunity through the YMCA Black and Latino Achievers program, where her mentor told her about the opportunity. Jalia was placed in the Horticulture department with her mentor, Brian Huck. She was able to work on future plans for the landscaping of the zoo and work on the nature boardwalk. She learned about landscapes provoking emotion in customers as well as the landscape itself.
“Basically, I would walk around the zoo with Brian and he would ask, ‘Why do you think this plant is here in this certain spot?’ Then I’d have to give him an answer, it usually had to do with an emotional response towards the customers when they walk in. When you walk into a park and see certain flowers everywhere, and they’re positioned a certain way. As a consumer you don’t really know why they’re there. You think they’re there because they’re pretty, but to me I know better. I know that they’re there to trigger an emotional response, so that while you’re walking around the landscape you have an experience and you want to come back.”
This experience helped her learn to interact on more of a professional level. It may have been scary at first, but she created some memorable moments, including staying in the zoo overnight, where she was able to experience the zoo unlike anyone else.
Overall, Jalia feels this experience will help her in her future.
By: Samantha Garcia From Lane Tech H.S.