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Mtn. Bike Rider on the Bizz Johnson Trail King Range National Conservation Area Poppy Three Pump Jacks, Midway-Sunset Oilfield
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Employee Profile - Focus on Youth

Gina Jorgenson

Archaeologist
Student Career Employement Program
California State Office

There are ample opportunities for young people to explore the BLM-California workplace. A prominent component is the Student Educational Employment Program (SEEP), which has two parts, the Student Temporarily Employment Prorgram (STEP) and the Student Career Employment Program (SCEP).

SCEP provides work experiences directly related to the student's academic program and career goals. SCEP Students may be noncompetitively converted to term, career or career-conditional appointments following completion of their academic and work experience requirements.

Archaeology PhD candidate Gina Jorgenson has been working for BLM-California through SCEP since she was a freshman at the University of California, Davis, seven and a half years ago.  Originally a hydrology major, she switched to archaeology after deciding that her true passion was for studying human behavior of the past, a field that she found while participating in the Passport In Time (PIT) program, a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program where volunteers work with professional archaeologists and historians.  Gina's mom heard about a PIT project on the radio and convinced the family to take part. The project involved archaeology at a historic mining town in the Six Rivers National Forest. Gina enjoyed learning the technical aspects of archaeology but was facinated by how archaeologists used the information to reconstruct stories of the past.

Gina and her family, who perform bluegrass, swing, and old country music as a family band, were singing and playing music around the campfire at that project and were heard by former BLM-California state archaeologist Ken Wilson.  He invited them to another PIT project called "Following The Smoke" which allows participants to work with Native American basketweavers. The experience with traditional cultures had a strong impact on Gina and guided her academic career. After graduating from high school, Gina began working for BLM while she pursued her higher education.  "The highlight of my BLM career so far was when I was acting State Archaeologist from January to June 2009'" Gina said.  "I found it to be extremely challenging and rewarding experience."

Gina received her Bachelor's of Science degree in anthropology from UC Davis in 2005, her master's in archaeology in 2007 and is completing her PhD research on the migration and marriage patterns of Native Americans in the Central Valley and Bay-Delta region, 4,000 years ago.


Gina Jorgenson
Gina Jorgenson

"I am continually challenging myself to learn and grow in all aspects of my life."


 

Originally from Carlotta in Humboldt County, where her parents still reside and run their home-based business, Gina now lives in Davis.  She remains close to her family, especially her sister, who is a student at UC Santa Barbara.   

An outdoors person, her outlets include camping and swimming.  But, to ease the stress of school and work, Gina's more physical outlet is ballroom and West Coast Swing dancing.  She has even competed, but between school and work says she doesn't currently have much time left for the hours of training it takes for competition dancing.