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UC Merced student rangers welcome Obama family to Yosemite


UC Merced students, including Ranger Jessica Rivas (left), take a selfie with President Obama. Photo credit: UC Merced

For many UC Merced students, visiting Yosemite is a relaxing way to spend a weekend. But for several UC Merced students, a recent weekend was extremely hectic and a little nerve-racking — but full of pride — as they helped Yosemite National Park host President Barack Obama and the first family.

“They didn’t tell us we were going to meet the president until just a few hours before,” senior cognitive science student and Ranger Jessica Rivas said. “It was an amazing honor.”

Rivas is one of the rangers who works for the park through the Wilderness Education Center (WEC) on campus. Former and current WEC and Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP) members — including rangers Moses Chun and Maya Nielsen — played pivotal roles in the weekend’s many events, from greeting and organizing invited guests and giving talks about the park to offering educational programs for area schoolchildren that President Obama participated in.

Read full story about the UC Merced students and the Obamas’ visit, which includes a short video of Rivas talking about UC Merced, the WEC and what it’s like to be a ranger.

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