Week two effectively started to push me outside my comfort zone. After a week of background reading to get myself acquainted with the history, organization, and workings of Sea Grant, I found it was time to jump into the task at hand. That is, I needed to start figuring out who to talk to this summer, what information I’m interested in, and how to effectively compile that data.

I say that this has pushed me outside of my comfort zone because my background and undergraduate training is in natural science from the academic perspective. The type of reading I’ve done is biological primary literature, and the type of work I’ve done is field monitoring and lab research. To plunge into the matter of collecting qualitative information through interviews and grapple with evaluating that data to produce an evaluative report is a totally new endeavor for me. I feel both excited and terrified (don’t worry, the terror is wearing off with each work day).

In my reading this week, I have found the literature on engaged scholarship and evaluation to be both interesting and helpful. Some of the conceptual flow charts and evaluation matrices I’ve come across are helping me build a framework for moving forward. Additionally, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine who has a background in anthropology, ethnography, and the collection of information through oral interviews. Her perspective, advice, and excitement was really helpful and gave me a big boost in confidence!

I’m feeling ready to sit down for some conversations! I’m excited about the opportunity I have to talk to a wide range of people this summer–researchers, extension agents, Sea Grant staff, OSU outreach and engagement personnel, and perhaps some community stakeholders. The experiences and perspectives people will share should be varied and fascinating. I’ve already sent out my first batch of emails and am prepared to fill up my calendar and hit the road (whether on foot across campus, or by car to the coast)! I’ve got one meeting set up so far, and lots to go.

Apologies for the lack of media this week–the inside of my office hasn’t changed much since the last post, but I’m sure I’ll have more beautiful things to share in due time. Stay tuned.

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2 thoughts on “Prepwork

  1. There is nothing like working outside of your primary discipline to get the brain cells firing! I’m glad that you’ve sought out some cross-disciplinary collaboration – that’s a key for success.What was the most surprising thing that you learned from talking with your friend?

  2. I echo what Sarah said! I think you are doing all the right things to get yourself on track for the summer. Have you found that your academic background has given you the information you need to effectively talk to researchers?

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