Astoria-Megler Bridge. Photo by Luke Brockman.
Astoria-Megler Bridge. Photo by Luke Brockman.

Hello, readers! Luke Brockman here, and it’s now the middle of August. My position as an intern with Extension’s Forestry and Natural Resources Fire Program is soon coming to an end. Oregon’s fire season, however, is in full swing. Just about all of the Pacific Northwest is in historic drought conditions, and more than 18 wildfires are still burning in our state. Incredibly, and thanks to the collaborative efforts of so many people fighting to contain them, a few major fires including the Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon, are close to 100% contained. Working for the Fire Program has been hugely informative for me, not only in my understanding of the work that goes into forest management and fire education but also by awakening me to the hugely diverse array of geographic areas that make up our state, each of which requires collaboration between many different agencies in order to properly manage. 

Working for Extension has also been an amazing professional experience. I’ve learned more fully the importance of teamwork, communication, and creative problem solving, in a refreshingly professional setting. Something that surprised me about my supervisor (who holds the title Regional Fire Specialist for the Coast Range) was the spectrum of different groups he collaborates with, and his ability to lead and provide appropriate input no matter the situation. Much of the work of the regional fire specialists involves doing planning, meeting with other specialists and partners, and doing a ton of technical writing. In the classroom, doing such planning and collaborating (especially via Zoom) can feel sort of dull, when questions are posed and sit lingering in the air waiting to be answered.  

My experiences this summer in the myriad of collaborative group settings allowed me to witness the ability that Extension professionals have to provide guidance, information, and problem-solving relative to their specialty areas. It was especially refreshing to see this sort of collaboration and problem-solving applied to a field with obvious, and growing importance and sensitivity: Oregon’s forests, and the people who inhabit the land and play important roles in the use of our natural resources. 

What I wish for you all to know about Extension is that it’s really, truly, a resource for the benefit of your community. The people who inhabit the Extension office in your county are very knowledgeable and inspiring, and the work they’re doing behind the scenes is important and impactful. The challenges we face in our changing environment are vast and complicated, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience in Extension, it’s that there are so many people working on solutions, right here in our state! 

Hello everybody, my name is Luke Brockman, and I’m humbled and excited to introduce myself as an intern this summer in the OSU Extension Service. I’ll be working under the supervision of Aaron Groth, Extension regional fire specialist for Clatsop and other northern counties in Oregon’s Coast Range. I’ll also be working alongside the rest of the team members in OSU’s Extension office here in Astoria.

Here’s a little bit about myself: I’m 23, and I’m a senior at OSU. My primary area of study is biocultural anthropology, with a bachelor’s in sustainability. I’m originally from Kodiak, Alaska – a large island in the Gulf of Alaska, situated due south of the opening of the Cook Inlet. My family moved to the small town of Triangle Lake, Oregon (about 50 miles southwest of Corvallis) when I was still an infant, but during the course of my childhood, I spent enough time visiting Kodiak to consider it home.  

It’s late June, so normally I would typically be on a commercial salmon fishing boat somewhere around Kodiak Island, searching tirelessly for salmon returning to their streams to spawn and continue that amazing, cyclical spectacle of biology. This summer will be the first since I’ve graduated high school that I’ll be staying in Oregon instead, and I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with Aaron. 

When Aaron is in the field doing community outreach, speaking at workshops and at meetings with stakeholders, I’ll be there too – shadowing him, meeting people, and taking notes in my journal. Already I’ve gained insight into both the career world at large and into the work of OSU Extension, as well as the Oregon community of forest owners and stewards. Although I’m not a student of Forestry and natural resources, I’m confident that the curriculum in both of my undergraduate fields of study will prove useful in assisting with the projects and concerns of the boards and individuals that Aaron and I will be interacting with this summer.  

I think it’d be awesome to have the chance to write a newspaper article having to do with fire awareness and education, and the diversity of landowners and stakeholders in the Coast Range. I love both writing and doing field research and I’m particularly inspired by ethnography and analog photography (one of my main creative outlets). Prior to stumbling upon this internship opportunity, I knew very little of OSU Extension. I assumed that the office in Astoria was some sort of liaison for researchers working at OSU to access resources and an office space. Now that I know what OSU Extension really is, and what its goals and objectives are for our diverse Oregonian communities, I’m very honored to be part of an organization whose community-oriented philosophies align so closely with my broader ethical ideals as a person. 

Hello, my name is Angeleen (Leen) Somoza. I’m 21 years old and I have two younger identical twin siblings: Happy and Shai. We live with my mom in Astoria, Oregon, and I’m doing my summer internship at the Oregon State University Extension Service office in Clatsop County. I’m currently finishing my associate degree, with a major in biology, at Clatsop Community College. I’m very excited and enthused to have this opportunity to work with OSU Extension.

Angeleen (Leen) Somoza

My favorite subjects include anthropology, biology, mathematics, psychology, sociology and religious philosophy. I aspire to be research biologist, but I also just crave experiences and to try everything. I just want to learn from my surroundings. I enjoy knowledge and structure.

My impression of Extension in Clatsop County before I started was that it was in a small office in a big building with programs such as Master Gardeners, 4-H, and fisheries. It was where I applied – and won – a Master Gardener’s scholarship in my senior year of high school in 2017.

View of Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River.
View of Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River.

In my Extension internship, I’ve been working with Lindsay Davis, administrative office manager and local liaison for Clatsop County Extension. I’ve been doing case studies on small businesses in Astoria from a psychological and sociological aspect. I then create social media posts, blogs and other things they need to communicate to other businesses.

I’ve become a social media “consultant” for OSU Extension in Clatson County. I meet with Joyce Senior Angulo, who works in Extension’s  Family and Community Heath and SNAP-Ed programs, the Latinx/Latino Club at Clatsop Community College, and may other things. Joyce has me being a fly on the wall, so to speak, during the Latinx meetings on Mondays and she’s available whenever I have questions and concerns. Finnware

At the same time, I’m working with Lindsay with two small businesses in Astoria – Finn Ware and Forsythea. We recently had our assessment needs meetings with both businesses  and we’re planning to do a few different things in social media case studies.

 

In the short time of working with Extension, I have felt that doing one’s research is extremely import to the Extension office. The research they’re doing is impacting the community in many ways that we as the residents are not aware of – even though most of us participate in the activities that Extension offers, such as the Clatsop County Fair, and many other events. It is very eye-opening as an Astorian and an Oregonian.