We are re-introducing profiles of University Outreach and Engagement faculty and staff as an opportunity to get to know our colleagues a little better. Say hello to Charles Robinson, special initiatives, University Outreach and Engagement and the College of Liberal Arts.
How long have you worked with University Outreach and Engagement? Since 2014.
What’s the best part of the work you’re doing? Interacting and collaborating with colleagues and communities all across our state—and producing real and valuable results on their behalf.
What work accomplishment are you most proud of? I can look back on many things and feel proud for what I’ve been able to contribute. But the single most important one to me has been the creation and growth of The CO•, the group behind The Corvallis Maker Fair and a number of related events that focus on building community and resources around hands-on learning. The CO• began as a grassroots partnership between a few units on campus, including the College of Liberal Arts, the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, and the Valley Library. It now includes many OSU and community groups and focuses on offering a 2-day series of maker activities on campus each spring and is moving into new areas of research and statewide partnership.
How should success be measured? Good stories!
If you could learn the answer to one question about your future, what would the question be? What’s next?
What smell brings back good memories? Coffee. Always.
What is your favorite season? Autumn.
If you could call up anyone in the world and have a one-hour conversation, who would you call? My grandfathers. I never met either of them, but as I grow nearer them in age, I think I just might be able now to truly understand some of the things they would have to say.
What song always puts you in a good mood?Institutionalized by the punk band, Suicidal Tendencies.
Do you engage in social media? If yes, what’s your favorite social media platform (for work and/or play)? Reluctantly and awkwardly. For work – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (#osuspark #TheCOCorvallis). For play (and proud parent moments) – Facebook.
What are the three best apps on your phone? Dropbox, Evernote and Google Photos.
Have you traveled to any different countries? Not nearly enough! Which ones? Not nearly enough! Mexico, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and Denmark.
Where is the most awe inspiring place you have been? An ATM machine on the outskirts of Salem. Yes, I’m being cryptic – sorry, this one’s just for me – but you asked!
We are profiling faculty and staff involved the outreach and engagement work featured on the University Outreach and Engagement blog. Please say hello to Amanda Gladics, Coastal Fisheries Extension Faculty, Oregon Sea Grant and Extension Service – Clatsop County, Coast Region.
How long have you worked with OSU Extension Service? I started with OSU Extension Service last July, but I have been working or studying at OSU in some capacity since 2007.
What’s the best part of the work you’re doing? Getting to work with such a variety of people and feeling really connected to my community.
What work accomplishment are you most proud of? My recent research into albatross bycatch reduction in longline fisheries on the West Coast was incorporated into guidance that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided to NOAA Fisheries and will be incorporated into fisheries management policy. It was really satisfying to see research that was driven by fishermen’s questions result in common sense policy that will work better for fishermen and save seabirds.
What area of research is of particular interest to you? My research background is in marine ecology and fisheries bycatch reduction, and I’m still interested in food web ecology and fisheries management research. I’m finding myself more and more interested in social sciences as we face the challenge of managing coupled human-ecological systems like fisheries.
Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day? Having spent the last 9 years working with birds in some capacity, I would definitely rather fly for a day.
What is something uplifting happening in the world right now? I think there are so many uplifting things happening in the world – especially if we focus our attention locally. Here in Astoria, we just had our second Pride parade along the Riverwalk a few weeks ago. I got to march with the North Coast Food Web and it was really inspiring to see a small, coastal community like Astoria embrace love in all its forms.
What food do you know you shouldn’t eat but can’t help yourself? Fancy COFFEE!!!! Good coffee is irresistible.
What is your favorite holiday? Spring Equinox – I love Oregon’s spring, and the equinox always is about the time where I really notice the days getting brighter.
Do you prefer summer or winter activities? Summer. I like to run, and it’s less fun to run in the rain and dark.
What is a fashion trend you are really glad went away? Oversized skater pants.
Do you engage in social media? If yes, what’s your favorite social media platform (for work and/or play)? I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but I’m the most active on Twitter @agladics. I generally just lurk and like on Facebook. I use Instagram for posting pictures of food, travel, and chickens.
Do you have any pets? How long have you and your pet(s) known each other? I have three chickens: Ophelia, Sprite and Butterbean. We’ve had Ophelia (a drama queen and alpha hen) for four years, and Sprite and Butterbean since February 2016.
People doing the work of outreach and engagement are interesting people. Today, let’s introduce Lynn E. Long, Oregon State University professor and OSU Extension Service horticulturist, from Wasco County in the Mid-Columbia Region.
How long have you worked in Extension? 28 years
What’s the best part of the work you’re doing? I’ve always loved to work with the Master Gardeners. They are a great group of people!
What work accomplishment are you most proud of? My international work. I have been invited to speak to cherry growers and/or scientists in 18 countries around the world and was asked to deliver two keynote addresses to my peers at ISHS International Cherry Symposia.
What’s your favorite way to waste time? Watching British mystery shows on TV.
Do you have any pets? How long have you and your pet(s) known each other? My wife and I have two Italian greyhounds. These are very fast little dogs (don’t try to beat them to the couch). They are siblings. Sienna weighs 8 lbs. (she rules the house) and her brother, Scirroco, weighs 15 lbs.
What do you do to get rid of stress? My wife and I love to garden. I find it relaxing and we love to enjoy the results of our efforts as young plants grow and bloom. I also enjoy long drives, especially on historical or winding roads. I have several interesting cars that are fun to drive, including at 1979 classic Mini, a 2008 Mini Cooper, and a 2017 Abarth 124 Spider.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? The political climate in this country and around the world. People need to begin to truly listen to each other, rather than judge them.
Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? Most places where cherries are grown around the world are very beautiful, including The Dalles. However, probably the most beautiful place were the fiords of Norway where cherries are grown within 500 meters of the deep-water fiords, yet glacial mountains rise just above them.
Do you engage in social media? If yes, what’s your favorite social media platform (for work and/or play)? I’m only into Facebook, and that is mostly to stay in touch with my children and grandchildren who live in Germany, Kyrgyzstan and soon, Scotland.
What book genres do you like to read? Historical. I am currently reading The Candy Bombers, about the Berlin airlift. Prior to that, I read The Immortal Irishman, a biography about Thomas Meagher. Both are good reads.
We’re trying something new(ish) on the O&E blog. We are introducing University Outreach and Engagement faculty and staff. So … please say hello to Michelle Sager, Master Gardener education program assistant for Wasco County in the Mid-Columbia Region.
How long have you worked in Extension? Two years
What’s the best part of the work you’re doing? Engaging with people in the community.
What work accomplishment are you most proud of? I think it’s the volunteers that accomplish the most around here!
What’s your favorite way to waste time? Drawing, singing and juggling come in at a tie.
Do you have any pets? How long have you and your pet(s) known each other? Yes! I met my dog Pickle when I lived in Guatemala three years ago when she was a tiny, scruffy, baby street dog. There was no way I was leaving without her. Her full name, though, is Miss Pepita Pickle: The Lady Sargent Pepperbean Waddleplop Silk Cheek of Pipsqeakery.
What do you do to get rid of stress? I love to hike and be in the woods. I am also an avid yoga and meditation practitioner, and I think that’s really the most important piece. Singing and dancing also help!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? The assumption that there is one, best way to see and understand the world.
What three words best describe you? Silly is the only one that come to mind! I try to be joyful, perhaps.
What’s the most useful thing you own? I’ve got some hand-made garden tools I’m pretty in love with.
Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? I think Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia. But it’s pretty beautiful right here where we live in the Columbia Gorge!
Do you engage in social media? If yes, what’s your favorite social media platform (for work and/or play)? Do farmers’ markets count? 😉
Know any good jokes? Why do potatoes make such good detectives? Because they keep their eyes peeled!
What book genres to you like to read? I love reading books that help bring light to under-represented perspectives, especially things like Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
Based on excerpts written by Cole Crawford and edited by Ann Marie Murphy
Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Cole Crawford broke new ground and accomplished plenty during his academic year tenure with University Outreach and Engagement under the supervision of Charles Robinson, special initiatives, University Outreach and Engagement and the College of Liberal Arts. He is the first GTA to work with University Outreach and Engagement.
“Charles Robinson tailored GTA responsibilities to take advantage of my existing digital skills while also providing me exposure to event management and public relations work,” Crawford revealed. “Because of the position’s flexibility and variable work requirements, I was even able to co-teach a digital humanities course in my home department (English, in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film) during winter term, which complemented my University Outreach and Engagement publicly engaged work.”
Crawford worked on two major projects: the Corvallis Maker Fair and Listen Up! Oregon Object Stories.
The Corvallis Maker Fair, produced by “The CO•” and now in its fourth year, is an event dedicated to bringing together makers from across campus, Corvallis, and Oregon to celebrate and share their methods for hands-on learning, while exploring and researching the way people learn in these environments. Activities ranged from virtual reality to robotics to origami. University Outreach and Engagement is one of several co-sponsors of the event.
Crawford served as the website and social media coordinator on “The CO•” leadership team, including collaborating with a team of FLUX design students to refresh “The CO•” logo and promotional materials. Recruiting exhibitors, working with the “SEA Through the Eyes on an Artist” partner event put on by the College of Education, gathering exhibitor and attendee feedback, and helping set up and run the actual event were also his responsibility. The event attracted over 60 exhibitors and an estimated 1,900 attendees over two days. See more photos from the event here.
“Being able to jump into planning such a major event was exciting,” Crawford said. “Especially because I strongly believe in makerspaces, publicly engaged research, and an ethos of tinkering and exploration. I loved seeing attendees ranging from children to grandparents interact with exhibitors, learn about the science that facilitates maker activities, and build and play with micro-projects.”
Crawford worked with Robinson and Liddy Detar, Ph.D., an instructor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), College of Liberal Arts, on Listen Up! Oregon Object Stories. Listen Up! is an accessible, creative, and intellectually engaged digital space which invites Oregonians to digitally represent personal objects through images, descriptions, or 3D scans; imbue those objects with meaning through story-telling in the form of text, video, or audio; and share their object stories across Oregon, starting with Oregon State University and its Extension network.
Listen Up! users can contribute object stories, respond to public events created by other users, and build collections of content which address specific topics or prompts. The project is inherently interdisciplinary and draws on digital humanities building practices, engaged teaching, and community partnerships to create public scholarship. Listen Up! is flexible, and can scale to accommodate individual contributions, classroom collections, and statewide events.
Originally deployed as a teaching exercise by Detar in her WGSS courses, Listen Up!, she transformed the classroom activity into a hybrid online project to collect a broader range of object stories. Users can contribute stories directly through the website, or work with the Listen Up! team at events.
Crawford created the project’s data model, which assures user privacy and agency; developed several iterations of the Listen Up! website; helped write a Learning Innovation Grant proposal and a successful submission to the 2017 Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference; planned and ran three in-person object story events at “The CO•,” the Valley Library’s Crafternoon event series, and Moreland Hall; and collected, transcribed, and edited forty multimodal object stories from these events.
Object story contributors have spoken on the metaphorical meaning of a sandlewood watch, the importance of hybridity through an implanted defibrillator, and the power of comfort objects to help overcome developmental disabilities. Crawford will present Listen Up! at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute Colloquium in June 2017.
“I highly recommend that graduate students take advantage of alternative GTA positions,” Crawford said. “Assistantships focused on research and teaching are the most common ways for students to support themselves during full-time graduate study, but for students like myself who are interested in alt-academic careers or roles outside higher education entirely, positions that incorporate service and administration work can be even more valuable. Finding the right GTA position can help students tailor their graduate education to their interests while honing numerous marketable skills and making a noticeable impact at OSU.”
Crawford is currently searching for a full-time position in digital humanities research support and program coordination, and his experience with the Division of Outreach and Engagement and College of Liberal Arts has prepared him well for the application and interview process.
“Cole’s thesis fits solidly in the tradition of digital humanities scholarship, but takes bold steps forward in exploring how narrative, history, and meaning are built within the relational networks of data sets (British labor poetry in this case), and how these networks can be better understood via approaches that blend rigorous data-mining with historical and literary nuance,” stated Robinson. “His use of the idea of ‘boutique’ data sets is a helpful way to stake the claim for the value of smaller and incomplete historical/literary data sets vs. the ‘big data’ notion so prevalent in discussion of data analysis/visualization/etc.”
Written by Ana Lu Fonseca, assistant director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Division of University Outreach and Engagement
What is a Diversity Champion? The word “champions” comes from the Latin concept of “campionem” for “gladiator, fighter.” Raaawr! But there’s no need to grab your sword. A champion is also a person who fights for a cause or defends an ideal.
In our outreach and engagement work, Diversity Champions are people who use their superpowers in the name of a diversity value or ideal. That ideal could be a better world, a more inclusive or relevant program, or a greener and more loving future for generations to come. We recognize Champions who strive every day to learn, grow, and create a better future—not just those who have already succeeded at something or are an expert.
We are creating a team of Outreach and Engagement Diversity Champions!
Today’s world is a world of many ideas, thoughts, perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, philosophies, and beliefs. It is a world of individuals with multiple identities. Let’s embrace the opportunity to enrich our selves, our lives, and our work with this diversity.
As Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for University Outreach and Engagement, my vision is to create a loving, united, authentic, inclusive and powerful team with a common vision and commitment to a sustainable transformation.
To realize this vision, we must gather and invest resources to ensure we are thinking intentionally about inclusion at all levels and that people from all walks of life—who have the potential and ability to transform the world through their talents, ideas, and voices—are not just heard but embraced. As a land grant institution, we have the power to impact and learn from every person who we come in contact with.
The Outreach and Engagement Diversity Champions team will be pioneers in this transformation. They will work with me to support our Division to enhance the tools and strategies we will need to work and learn in a diverse and complex world. Our Champions will also be involved in the communities they serve and be part of a larger transformation toward a more understanding, compassionate, and open society. This will be accomplished through planning, developing, coordinating, supporting, and participating.
We will create the work together!
If you want to “strive” and be a pioneer for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Division of University Outreach and Engagement, please join our Diversity Champions team. Follow this link to a brief survey and let me know more about yourself. All are welcome. This team is not a “committee” with a limit to how many people can participate.
Contact me if you have questions, and stay tuned for more!
Written by Kevin Leahy for The Daily Astorian, published on November 16, 2016.
[Editor’s note: The outreach and engagement work of OSU Extension Service takes many forms. In this case it’s taking part in a Clatsop County tour showcasing stream restoration and forest best practices for the 26th annual Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee leaders tour. This article appeared in The Daily Astorian and features the efforts of Valerie Grant, a new OSU Extension forestry and natural resources faculty.]
More than 100 attendees braved the elements for the 26th annual Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee leaders tour this year, including state Rep. Deborah Boone.
The day started out bright and early with an introduction by committee Chairman Kevin Leahy at the Barbey Maritime Center, reinforcing that this sector continues to be 30 percent of our Clatsop County economy, and is 12 percent of our county employment. Leahy also noted that $23,500,000 was distributed from Oregon Department of Forestry to Clatsop County in 2016 from timber harvests that support schools, law enforcement, Clatsop Community College, roads, and more.
From there the group was transported by bus to the Walooski Fish Stream Enhancement Collaborative Project, where Tom Clark from Lewis & Clark Timber/Greenwood Resources, Brook Stanley from the North Coast Watershed Association, Troy Laws from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Jeff Van Osdol from Big River Construction shared the public/private partnership success that included a fish habitat and stream enhancement project, and invited all the attendees to walk down the stairs and across the wood bridge specifically built for the Leaders Tour for an “up close and personal” walk through the culvert where salmon are swimming through for the first time.
Next, the two full school buses headed to the Clatsop Ridge Logging Operation & Reforestation to hear about the “active harvest operation” project from speakers Mark Gustafson, owner of Gustafson Logging, and Sam Sadler of Lewis & Clark Timber and Greenwood Resources.
A box lunch was paid for by the employer members of the Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee and was provided to all attendees. Presentations were given at the Netul Landing, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Interim park Superintendent Marcus Koenen and rogram specialist Carla Cole presented project updates on the park properties on both sides of the Columbia River.
Forestry committee member Valerie Grant, Oregon State University Extension’s new forester, shared her background and priorities within the three-county area that she covers [emphasis added].
Participants were asked to share reflections on this tour and past ones. It was mentioned that the forestry tour was under way Sept. 11, 2001, and the lifelong memory of where you were when 9/11 happened will always be with them.
And Sara Meyer, a longtime tour participant and member of the local American Association of University Women chapter choked up when she said it was so exciting to see so many women in this traditionally male-dominated field.
Column author Kevin Leahy is the executive director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources.
By Mark Floyd, News and Research Communications, Oregon State University
Editor’s Note: A lot of fascinating work is being done by Extension faculty. This is one story that might surprise you. Be sure to watch the mesmerizing video! Leigh Torres, Oregon SeaGrant Extension, specializes in the spatial and behavioral ecology of marine megafauna including marine mammals, seabirds and sharks. The following was distributed to news media on October 4, 2016.
A lot of people think what Leigh Torres has done this summer and fall would qualify her for a spot on one of those “World’s Worst Jobs” lists.
After all, the Oregon State University marine ecologist follows gray whales from a small inflatable boat in the rugged Pacific Ocean and waits for them to, well, poop. Then she and her colleagues have about 20-30 seconds to swoop in behind the animal with a fine mesh net and scoop up some of the prized material before it drifts to the ocean floor.
Mind you, gray whales can reach a length of more than 40 feet and weigh more than 30 tons, making the retrieval of their daily constitutional somewhat daunting. Yet Torres, a principal investigator in the university’s Marine Mammal Institute, insists that it really isn’t that bad.
“We’re just looking for a few grams of material and to be honest, it doesn’t even smell that bad,” she said. “Now, collecting a DNA sample from a whale’s blow-hole – that’s a bad job. Their breath is horrendous.”
Being a marine pooper-scooper isn’t some strange fetish for the Oregon State research team. They are conducting a pilot project to determine how gray whales respond to ocean noise – both natural and human – and whether these noises cause physiological stress in the animals. Technology is changing the way the researchers are approaching their study.
“New advances in biotechnology allow us to use the fecal samples to look at a range of things that provide clues to the overall health and stress of the whales,” Torres said. “We can look at their hormone levels and genetically identify individual whales, their sex and whether they are pregnant. And we can analyze their prey and document what they’ve been eating.
“Previously, we would have to do a biopsy to learn some of these things and though they can be done safely, you typically don’t repeat the procedure often because it’s invasive,” she added. “Here, we can follow individual whales over a four-month feeding season and pick up multiple samples that can tell us changes in their health.”
The study is a pilot project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Acoustics Program to determine the impacts of noise on whale behavior and health. Torres, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, focuses on gray whales because they are plentiful and close to shore.
“Many marine mammals are guided by acoustics and use sound to locate food, to navigate, to communicate with one another and to find a mate,” said Torres, a faculty member in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and an ecologist with the Oregon Sea Grant program.
Ten years ago, such a study would not have been possible, Torres acknowledged. In addition to new advances in genetic and hormone analyses, the OSU team uses a drone to fly high above the whales. It not only detects when they defecate, it is giving them unprecedented views of whale behavior.
“We are seeing things through the drone cameras that we have never seen before,” Torres said. “Because of the overhead views, we now know that whales are much more agile in their feeding. We call them ‘bendy’ whales because they make such quick, sharp turns when feeding. These movements just can’t be seen from the deck of a ship.”
The use of small, underwater Go-Pro cameras allows them to observe what the whales are feeding upon below. The researchers can identify zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, and fish in the water column near feeding whales, and estimate abundance – helping them understand what attracts the whales to certain habitats.
Joe Haxel and Sharon Nieukirk are acoustic scientists at the Hatfield center who are assisting with the project. They deploy drifting hydrophones near the whales to record natural and human sounds, help operate the overhead drone camera that monitors the whales’ behavior, and also get in on the fecal analysis.
“Gray whales are exposed to a broad range of small- and medium-sized boat traffic that includes sport fishing and commercial fleets,” Haxel said. “Since they are very much a coastal species, their exposure to anthropogenic noise is pretty high. That said, the nearshore environment is already very noisy with natural sounds including wind and breaking surf, so we’re trying to suss out some of the space and time patterns in noise levels in the range of habitats where the whales are found.”
It will take years for the researchers to learn how ocean noise affects whale behavior and health, but as ocean noises continue increasing – through ship traffic, wave energy projects, sonar use, seismic surveys and storms – the knowledge they gain may be applicable to many whale species, Torres said.
And the key to this baseline study takes a skilled, professional pooper-scooper.
“When a whale defecates, it generates this reddish cloud and the person observing the whale usually screams “POOP!” and we spring into action,” Torres said. “It’s a moment of excitement, action – and also sheer joy. I know that sounds a little weird, but we have less than 30 seconds to get in there and scoop up some of that poop that may provide us with a biological gold mine of information that will help protect whales into the future.
I am Ricardo Perez and I am the 2016 PROMISE intern for Outreach and Engagement, Open Campus. I am entering my junior year here at Oregon State University studying Business Management with an option in International Business. After hearing about the large professional development growth the previous PROMISE interns had, I decided to apply to the program in hopes of obtaining the same skills.
Having the opportunity to be mentored by Jeff Sherman, the program leader for Open Campus, has been far from boring. Jeff gave me the tools necessary to evolve into a more competent individual in the business world. Through my experience, Jeff instructed me on programming logistics, how to use project management software, how to communicate with community partners and he gave me the freedom to create new projects.
I would also like to mention Hollie Conger. Hollie is in charge of marketing and communications for Open Campus. Hollie greatly influenced my experience and positively impacted my marketing skills. Through our work, Hollie showed me how to manage social media accounts, edit video, maintain the website and use Adobe Illustrator.
My experience as an intern would not have been the same if it were not for these individuals. Being able to intern for people who create an engaging and energizing environment made my time as an intern the best it could be. The support they gave me and the skills I acquired have truly impacted my professional development.
My main project was to organize the 2016 Roads Scholar Engagement Tour. The main goal for The Roads Scholar Tour is to invite newer faculty and employees who are new to engagement, to gain a sense for community engagement and to form relationships with colleagues who do similar work. This year’s tour is located in Central Oregon, with stops in Warm Springs, Redmond, and Bend. Having the opportunity to construct The Roads Scholar Tour and collaborate with so many members has enhanced my communication skills and prepared me for a career in business.
Along with planning The Roads Scholar Engagement Tour, I was involved in small projects for the Juntos program. Through this experience, I had the opportunity to work with Ana Gomez, the main coordinator for Juntos. Working with Ana made this experience so fun and exciting! Seeing someone who is so passionate in helping others really sparked my fascination with the program. Through my experience, I learned how Juntos works to empower families around education, is constructed to prevent youth from dropping out of high school and encourages families to work together to gain access to college. My main project for Juntos was planning the 2017 Family Day, an event where families have an opportunity to visit the OSU campus and learn more about the different resources available.
It is hard to believe that my journey as an intern is more than half way complete. My experience here at Outreach and Engagement, Open Campus has been one I will never forget. The amount of professional, as well as personal growth I developed is something I never thought would happen in a short 10 weeks.
I am honored to interact with people who truly enjoy positively impacting the Oregon community. I would like to give thanks to my mentors who have shown me the immense impact Outreach and Engagement has, as well as preparing me for the professional world. Jeff, Hollie, Ana, and Pam, thank you for all your hard work and for providing me the best experience possible at Outreach and Engagement.
How do you touch the lives of the people that you meet?
This is a question I find myself asking pretty frequently. My whole life I have known that I wanted to enter a career field where I could continually touch the lives of those around me. So when I found an internship that did just that, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me.
My name is Emalee Rabinovitch and I am about to graduate from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Health and Education. One of my final tasks here at OSU was to find an internship that aligned with the same values and outcomes as my degree. After doing a bit of searching, I came across the PROMISE Program.
The PROMISE Program is a 10-week internship experience that provides opportunities in state and local government agencies, as well as university programs for Oregon State University undergraduate students. These internships are intended to provide students a pathway to a professional career with an emphasis on helping underrepresented students.
After acceptance into the program, PROMISE coordinators set up a number of interviews for students to find an internship site that best understands their career aspirations and needs. On April 26, 2016, I received an email from one of the coordinators saying I received a joint offer from the Division of University Outreach and Engagement and OSU Extension Service Coast Region.
Before I knew it I was set up and ready to go in Ballard Extension Hall on campus.
My first week consisted of getting to know the new faces around me while diving head-first into what Extension was all about. My main project is to create a one-page, double-sided marketing tool template to inform readers about how Extension is influencing the lives of community members in Oregon’s counties.
The goal is to create a customizable marketing tool for each county and region to inform more people about the resources provided through their local Extension offices. Starting with Clatsop County, I visited the office in Astoria and met their very welcoming staff members saw the work they were doing. By visiting the county, I was able to see the impact these programs have on the members of the community and the positive changes being made.
The best way I can describe this overall journey is that it is an internship within an internship. I not only was provided with one learning experience through sessions with my PROMISE team, but I also was provided with an experience here at University Outreach and Engagement that allows me to grow as a professional and individual, as well as creating lasting workplace relationships.
This program is unique because it allowed me to gain not one, but several excellent mentors who helped me reach my goals and provided me with excellent resources for my future. One of the mentors I found myself looking to was Ann Murphy, communication and marketing manager for University Outreach and Engagement. I met Ann for the first time during my interview for the position back in April and could tell immediately she had a great sense of creativity and dedication.
Eric Dunker, Regional Administrator for the Coast Region, has been an outstanding mentor in this process as well. I admire Eric’s passion to get out there and be hands-on in order to give the communities what they need. I saw this in both Eric and Ann while getting to know them professionally and personally in these past 10 weeks. Both are extremely driven individuals who want to make a difference and educate people about what Extension Service has to offer. I feel very fortunate to have met these two and to have had the chance to be mentored by them. They taught me much more than they signed up for and provided me with excellent resources as I graduate and enter the “real world.”
After learning so much about the Division, it brought me back to asking: “How do you touch the lives of the people that you meet?” University Outreach and Engagement and Extension Service do this every day.
I never knew 10 weeks could go by so fast, but in my time being here I was able to see incredible staff members make positive changes in the communities and people they cared for. The programs offered are directly touching the lives of neighbors, friends, local business owners and many more, as well as letting local stakeholders be involved in the decision making process.
Each faculty member touches the lives of those they interact with and had a significant influence in making my time here great. As I go on in my future endeavors, I hope to educate more people about Extension resources and how they can benefit everyone involved.
I may be just an intern, but after this experience I feel like I have the necessary tools in my toolbox to go out into society and touch the lives of those around me because of what I have learned from my time here at University Outreach and Engagement.
To learn more about the PROMISE program, click this link.