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The Rocky Mountain Intercontinental Connect

Posted on Friday, August 1st, 2014 at 2:55 pm.


I just visited Estes Park, Colorado, a beautiful little town that is the starting point for one of the best road trips in the U.S. – Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet.  My Route J-1 road trip would not be complete without paying homage to this famous route, and the national park that hosts it, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).

The peaks, which reach the skies, are part of the Continental Divide that starts in Canada and ends in Mexico. This international geological wonder runs right through Colorado and is a mecca for some three million outdoor enthusiasts each year.  The land has been protected for ninety-nine years by the National Park Service, who sponsors J-1 interns and trainees so it also boasts some incredible J-1 connections.


At RMNP’s Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, the staff declared that the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program has been invaluable to their park’s ability to create global connections around the issues of national parks and environmental preservation. The American system of national parks is so unique to this country, and yet well-known around the world. At Tatra National Park in Poland and Slovakia, RMNP works through a sister park agreement. RMNP also hosted a Slovak researcher through the J-1 program.

By hosting fellows, interns, and trainees in parks throughout the country, the National Park Service spreads its wonderful tradition of preservation while also sharing the culture of the country that developed the system. The park is preparing a celebration next year to mark its 100th anniversary and you can be certain that J-1 visitors will participate in the celebration. With all the linkages RMNP is making around the world through the J-1 program, the Continental Divide should be renamed to the Intercontinental Connector!

Categories: Employers, J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

About Rebecca Pasini

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Rebecca Pasini

Rebecca A. Pasini joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges in July 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister - Counselor, Ms. Pasini has been an American diplomat since 1997.

Ms. Pasini previously served as the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs from 2021-2023. Other Washington assignments have included positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Office of Foreign Missions, and as a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. She has also completed multiple overseas tours, including as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as the Consular Chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Other tours included Mexico City and Kuwait.

A Maryland native, Ms. Pasini has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, a master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, and an undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College.