Career Pathways Profile

Jennifer Rigby, The Acorn Group, Inc.


Name: Jennifer Rigby
: Interpretive planner and designer
: The Acorn Group, Inc.
Yearly pay or salary range
: $100K-149K

How long been in your current position?
33 Years

Describe your path into this career and this job. Were there early influences like family members or childhood interests that inspired you to get into this field of work? What sort of educational and work background do you have?

"My path was hardly direct! In college I thought I was pursuing a medical career. Derailment of that vision came in the form of struggling through inorganic chemistry and realizing I wasn't cut out for the competition and pressure of being "premed." I was devastated. But what I originally saw as my failure actually became my saving grace. I switched departments, found "my people" in social ecology, and thrived in my coursework.

I finished my undergraduate program early, pursued graduate degrees, snagged a couple of teaching credentials, and happily landed in my field. My first position was teaching informal science at a public aquarium. After 10 years of serving as a frontline interpreter, I founded The Acorn Group in 1990."

Experience Profile


What specific tasks do you do on an average day in this position?

Meeting facilitation, planning workshop facilitation, writing (as in interpretive panel copy and interpretive master plans), project management, and exhibit design.

What do you love about your job?

Where else can I be working in the mountains in the morning and coastal wetlands in the afternoon?? I often tell people "I get paid to hike." I love the people I get to work with, the places I get to travel to, and seeing the end result of our efforts.

Do you have any words of advice for those who might be interested in this type of work?

Don't give up. Get creative when you realize you are facing a road block. Sometimes those are actually gifts.

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