It is quite shocking that there are only two weeks left in the program until the cohort comes together one last time to present our research projects in Newport. My experiences this summer have forever created a place in my heart for Oregon, my Oregon Sea Grant family and my Oregon State University family. It has been quite a journey filled with new faces, exciting conversations, and unique outdoor adventures. Over the past several weeks, I have had the pleasure of expanding my OSU and academia network by continuing to seek out college readiness programs in the region. This expansion included a meet and greet encounter with Mr. Ed Young, a writer for The Atlantic, whose keynote speech about symbiosis and scientist’s life stories was beyond captivating. Plus, it was a bonus to have a signed copy of his new best-selling book…winning!!! I also had the pleasure of speaking to a group of Albany high school students participating in the OSU Upward Bound program about college opportunities and experiences. It was a little difficult to anticipate how interactive this audience would be, but to my delight they were very inquisitive and had quite a list of questions concerning topics related to financial aid, scholarships, tuition, and so on.
Even though my project has had some bumps in the road, I am thankful for being able to be a part of this project and to help OSU further carry out their mission of providing higher education opportunities to communities in need through diversity and inclusion initiatives. After several meetings and a lot of hard work, I have been able to design two new surveys for our project that will be administered to students and parents as part of the program objectives. Even though I will be leaving before the surveys and focus groups can be administered, I am glad that I was able to help contribute to this portion of the project in some way. Hopefully, I will still have the opportunity to visit the Siletz reservation before my departure and to attend their annual Pow Wow next weekend.
In the meantime, I have continued my exploration of Oregon with a stellar trip to Crater Lake where I watched the sunset and the sunrise with a couple of hours of sleep in the back of a Subaru. Two weeks ago, I went on the camping with the other OSG summer scholars and despite a little mishap we managed to have a great trip that involved hiking through an old growth forest, marionberry picking on a farm, and swimming in the Willamette river. Last weekend I managed to make my way to the Silver Falls state park where you can walk pass 10 different waterfalls along an 8 mile-loop trail that is simply spectacular! Afterwards, I went to Portland for a day to remember what it is like to be in a big city (I believe there has only been two weekends where I have not slept in a tent) and to eat some delicious ramen and read some books at Powell’s. If you do not know what Powell’s is…well you should know (if you are a true book lover)! To capture some zen before the hectic schedule that is about to ensue these last couple of weeks, I will be camping at Mt. Hood and taking in as much as Oregon has to offer while I can.
Have a great weekend everyone and go exploring!
P.S. I am FINALLY a proud tent owner and lifetime member of REI!!! ☺