These past few weeks have been a roller coaster of responsibilities, emotions, and experiences! I have attended many Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife agency meetings and better understand the inner workings of their mission and obligations to the public. What I have learned is that there are pros and cons to working for an agency. The collaborative and “team” aspect of agency work seems the most fulfilling. However, the biggest con of working for an agency like ODFW is that as the face of the agency, an employee needs to directly reflect the agency’s mission in all professional actions. To some degree, I would like my future career or professional goals to allow me the freedom to be an environmental advocate or activist. Also, there will always be some level of inefficiency within agency level work at the state or federal government level. I have realized how collaborative ODFW is with other working bodies like Oregon State University, PISCO, and other organizations.
I would say I have learned a lot about science policy this summer. Historically, there has been a gap between science and policy communication. I think during my lifetime and beyond, this gap could either widen or narrow and that it is our responsibility as future scientists and policy makers to realize these will always be interconnected. Win/win scenarios can occur with policy and science. It is still a very complicated dilemma, and many of us already realize this from our experiences this summer. I see state level agency work potentially weaving in and out of my future. However, I will always be a steward of the earth and our environment and this will truly be what guides my career direction.
Overall, I have learned a lot from working with ODFW and have met great people with different educational and career backgrounds. By far, my interactions with the individuals within the Marine Reserves Division of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have been genuine and sincere. I hope to one day carry that much passion and grit in my future endeavors.