Elisabeth (Wilkins) O’Brien (H2010)

Placement: Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Facilities Management and Development

What I Worked On: The City wished to establish a comprehensive and reliable methodology to count the number of visitors and obtain certain demographic characteristics of the citizens visiting all of our 369 parks. HPARD established a partnership with the AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University System to do so. Such evaluation provided the basis for design modifications to facilitate park expansion and ensure the reliability of the data. I worked with the HPARD Director, the AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University System faculty, park city planners, park managers, staff members from HPARD and other COH offices, and community stakeholders to develop a reliable methodology for each park typology and to create a survey instrument to compliment data not obtained through the counting and observation process. I created a training manual to train staff, community members and volunteers to implement the park visitor counting program for Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. I organized and led community meetings to recruit and train volunteers from various segments of the community, AmeriCorps VISTA members to help HPARD with the visitor counting program. I identified and established a database for human capital and sources of funding to maintain this program so that visitors at each park are counted for on a regular basis and explore uses of technology facilitate the process to count visitors at our major parks. I also developed a comprehensive database management system for scheduling, recordkeeping, analysis and reporting and using GIS to represent data geographically. Ultimately, I generated a report with the findings from my research and work for the HPARD Director and staff.

Hometown: Houston, TX

School: Houston Baptist University

Field of Study: Psychology & Sociology

Selected Honors: Psi Chi National Honor Society; Alpha Kappa Delta National Honor Society

Selected Activities and Community Involvement: Phi Mu Fraternity; Houston Baptist University Student Programming Board (President); Volunteer, Girl Scouts of America

Why Houston is important to me: As a native Houstonian, I am blessed to work here in a city not only composed of a rich culture and ethnic diversity, but is continually progressive in politics and policy making. Through my experiences living and learning in Houston, it is evident that a passion to serve others in the context of an authentic, historical city is best nurtured in the city of Houston.

Something unique about me: I have played the flute for over 11 years and love to play 19th century flute music from French composers.

What I’m doing now: I’m a Family Advocate at Texas Childrens’ Hospital.

 

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