Out and about

For some alums, a day at the office is a walk in the park

This story from the Winter 2022 edition of the Carolinian magazine features three women who work in state parks.

Karen Kustafik ’05

Karen Kustafik is the assistant superintendent for environmental services for City of Columbia Parks and Recreation. In this role, she supervises park rangers throughout the city.

“The best days are helping other people have epiphanies, getting out there and showing someone something that they didn’t know before. I get to do neat stuff. I get to show people our best places,” she said.

Robin Salmon ’73

Robin Salmon is Brookgreen Gardens’ vice president for art and history collections and curator of sculpture. Her primary responsibilities include new acquisitions, conservation and educational programs.

“I’ve never felt like I needed to go someplace else to be challenged,” she says. “I’ve been at Brookgreen Gardens for over half its history, but I’m still learning. Our slogan is ‘ever changing, simply amazing,’ and that’s not for nothing. It’s very true.”

Tracy Swartout ’95

Geography alumna Tracy Swartout became the first woman superintendent for the Blue Ridge Parkway in May 2021. Her role involves bringing the unique parkway experience to future park guests, which means recognizing the challenges but embracing the opportunities presented by its distinctive topography, history, design and function.

“I love my job more now than I did the day I started, and I loved it when I started,” she reflects. “It is everything I thought it would be and so much more.”

Read the full story, written by Craig Brandhorst, on the university website.

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