So much to blog about

Ladies and Gentlemen, after weeks of harping on how I didn’t have enough to do, I am happy to announce that I am now overflowing with tasks to complete. Hooray! Many things have happened in the past couple weeks and I’m under a bit of a time crunch today so I’ll have to skip writing you a novel today. This weeks post will be in the form of Q&A.

What’s changed between last post and now?

The main thing that has changed that has given me lots of tasks to take care of is that consensus was finally reached among all the various luminaries that influence my project. As I’ve mentioned before, my project was stalled because it has been difficult to A) get schedules of head-honchos to overlap and B) get them all on the same page of agreement when they do get together. Throughout the last week, some crucial decisions that affect my project were made and now I finally have a green light to move ahead. All of the work I had prepared to move forward with 7 weeks ago can finally be put into action! I have 3 weeks left with Oregon Sea Grant so the rest of my time will definitely be a race to see how much we can move forward on before I leave.

What are you doing now?

Well, my tasks that I’m up to are not as glamorous as wrangling sea turtles, but they are important. Right now I’ve been working on developing an event agenda, finalizing catering, reserving the venue, figuring out the logistics of registration, and other event planning tasks. In addition to event planning, some of my impact statements I’ve worked on need more refinement, so I’ll be hard pressed to finish that task before next week.

Didn’t you go do some sort of presentation?

Yes, this week was the final symposium for the Summer Scholars. For all the other interns, they will be done by the end of next week with their projects. Because I took some time off to go on vacation, I have extended my time to where I will be around until Sept 2nd. Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked, back to the presentation. Yesterday, I went out to Newport to the Hatfield Marine Science Center to spend all day listening to my fellow interns present about their projects. I kicked off the event (thankfully the last name of Adams always gives me the privilege of going first, which I love.). Overall, I feel good about my presentation. I had wanted to invest more time in it, but I had been filled with lots of other tasks to take care of this week and had a 10 hour day at work the day before the event. However, my feedback forms that I got back from my presentation indicated that everyone liked it for the most part.

Giving my presentation on policy to an audience composed of mainly scientists brought up a couple frustrations I continually run into when I give policy related presentations to a scientific audience. First, I always get a comment that someone wishes they would have seen more “results” from my work. For science, this is easy to do. You do your science, carry out your methodology, crunch your numbers, and then you’ll have some graphs and statistics to slap on a powerpoint to show your audience what you have done. Policy, particularly in regards to the projects I have been given, is not that concrete. Last summer, I helped produced a government recommendation. This summer, I’m assisting developing a workshop. There isn’t a way of representing those things in a graph. Instead, I explain what those items are about and their implications, but that never seems to satisfy a scientific audience.

A second thing I get comments on is having more pictures of my own. Unfortunately, policy does not have the glamor of running around with cute baby animals or standing in a lab with sophisticated equipment. If I took pictures of me in my “natural working habitat” I would bore my audience to tears with pictures of me sitting in front of the computer, or on the phone. Heaven forbid I try to take pictures of the meetings I go to. I would get some seriously weird looks saying “Who is the creep taking pictures?” It’s just something you don’t do. As a result, I have to rely on trying to spice up the text of my powerpoint slides with stock photos or pictures I scavenge from Google.

It would be interesting to give my speech to a room full of individuals who are in policy on a regular basis and get their feedback. I’m sure their response of what I should work on would be different.

Did you get the turtle job?

Stay tuned next week. I’ll know if I have the job by then.

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