I enjoy meeting people that love their job which translates into a stress free environment.
Angela Beck is just such a person who works as an intern with the USGS Avian Disease Project in Volcanoes’ National Park.
“My job is to assist with mist-netting to catch forest birds, banding them, and collecting data about their health as part of an island-wide survey for avian diseases,” Beck said.
A result of working in the field requires Beck to spend a lot of time in remote locations, camping out in rough terrain or poor weather conditions.
“I love working all day in the forest, so generally I don’t consider my job stressful, but I do work long hours, and there is a high risk of injury when working in the field,” Beck said.
The stress that Beck encounters involves making sure the birds stay healthy while in their possession when the weather is bad or capture rates are high.
To perform the duties of her job Beck needs to be in top physically condition and she comes into her task with a good base.
During her high school days Beck was a varsity cross country and track runner who also played soccer at Waiakea.
She not only lettered in all three sports but she excelled becoming the girls Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion in cross country and the 800 and 1600 meter champion in track during her sophomore year.
For both her outstanding record in academics and athletics Waiakea selected her ‘Student Athlete of the Year’ in her senior year 2004.
And if this isn’t impressive enough, Beck went onto Whitman College where she participated in intramural flag football in her freshman and sophomore years and intramural soccer in her freshman year.
“I was very active in College and was a member of the Taekwon-do Club for all four years, earning the rank of first degree black belt by the time I graduated, and instructed other students,” Beck said.
In college Beck majored in Biology and qualified for her job because of her degree.
“My past experiences handling animals from years working at a veterinary hospital during summers in high school and college and my experience from previous ecology and conservation-oriented internships has made me qualified for my current position,” she said.
The 26 year old Beck attributes much of her fitness today to her job.
“I’m on my feet most of the day every day, hiking through the forest,” she said.
In her off time you can find her doing a highly aerobic form of swing dancing.
“Hiking every day for work, swing dancing whenever possible on week nights or on the weekend and sometimes more hiking on the weekends, and this is just for fun!” Beck said.
As for diet Beck was raised to eat healthy.
“I’ve never felt like I adhere to a diet because of the way I was raised eating lots of fruits and vegetables with every meal,” she said. “Whole grain, multi-grain, sprouted grains whenever possible, brown rice instead of white rice.”
Beck contributes to her healthy diet by saying she eats lean meat occasionally, milk or water instead of soda.
“How much I eat changes with my activity level too, if I haven’t been getting as much exercise, I eat less,” Beck said.
Beck admits to having a junk food weakness and will occasionally have a soda, but believes in moderation.
“My motto is everything in moderation, including moderation,” she said. “It’s worked for me thus far.”
This young woman finds that exercise and diet is an important component in living a healthy lifestyle and practices what she preaches.
“It is important to me to lead a healthy, active life style,” she said. “Sports, dance, and hiking are fun. They’re a way to make friends and socialize, they relieve stress and they make me feel good about myself.”
Once her schedule settles down and becomes more predictable Beck hopes to take on more fitness related activities.
“I would like to maybe get involved in some kind of organized sport or martial art,” she said, “Once free time becomes more abundant.”
Beck does find challenges in getting up, out and moving.
“The hard part about working out for me is it’s often hard for me to get motivated to do it by myself,” Beck said. “I do best when I have a team or group of friends to work out, play, or dance with.”
But like most exercise advocates, Beck sees the overall benefits of doing those workouts.
“I love that endorphin rush,” she said. “There is always a sense of accomplishment, both because of the things I’ve achieved and the satisfaction of doing something good for myself, feeling fit and healthy.”
For Angela Beck exercise is a necessity for her vigorous job.
“Being in good physical condition doesn’t just help me with me job; it is absolutely vital,” she said. “I need to be able to move quickly over all sorts of terrain, often while lifting and carrying heavy objects.”
Beck has found the ideal job for her lifestyle which is paying enormous dividends in her ability to perform at the ideal level required.