Hailing from New Jersey, (the greatest state in the Union), I never imagined myself living anywhere else. In college, my goal was to work in the fashion industry, which naturally meant working in NYC. Knowing the pay was peanuts and emotional abuse was expected, I wasn’t fazed. It was my “passion.” For a while, I was pursuing these so-called dreams and, if you call being drowned in fur coats and surrounded by jaded women with crazy vendettas against each other a dream, then yes: I made it. After three (let’s say challenging) years, it was time for me to move on and start anew. I decided to make the move to Boston and ultimately accepted my position here at HPR. When I told my parents I’d be working in Plymouth, Massachusetts my dad chuckled and asked, “Well, are you at least near the rock?” If he had only known how close I would come to America’s history, he wouldn’t have been so quick to joke.

With a narrow interest in consumer products, I hadn’t planned on straying too far from the course, until I was told I would be working on a project for Plimoth Plantation. The Mayflower II was returning to Plymouth Harbor and we were tasked with calling on some local and national press to cover its arrival. I guess I didn’t really know what it meant to be proud of your hometown until I started living in Massachusetts. The day of the Mayflower II’s arrival, hundreds of people were staking claim on the lawn outlining the harbor. There wasn’t a parking spot in sight and, as we walked toward the dock to seek out the Mayflower’s whereabouts, we were greeted by historical entertainers narrating the day’s events.

The excitement grew as the mishoon, (a historically relevant boat made from a hollowed out log, I was to learn), set out to welcome the Mayflower II into the harbor and the crowd waited anxiously to get a first look at her. As she docked, claps and cheers filled the air, and I snuck into the yet-unopened exhibit to get a closer look at her. While waiting to board, I took the opportunity to speak with Joe Meany, one of the original cabin boys of the Mayflower II crew in 1957. Beaming with pride from ear to ear, he shared with me that he was often known as the ‘token yank’ and referred to his experience as “one heck of an adventure.” I found myself becoming more curious about the details of the Mayflower II’s journey. I remember reciting dates and events for various history tests, but I had never been involved in something this historic.

A year ago, I could have never imagined that I would be working on such a significant piece of America’s history, let alone become passionate about it. But I was. It was truly an exciting day and I walked away with a profound appreciation for what it means to go outside of your “comfort zone.” Not to mention, seeing the Mayflower II on the front page of The Boston Globe may just have been the cherry on top. I’ve gotten a number of solid placements in my career thus far, but this one is by far the most rewarding. And while I was hesitant and even insecure about making the move from fashion, I couldn’t be happier with where I am now and the opportunities I’ve been presented with since beginning this new chapter.

– ​Jackie Dunn