On my time as an Oregon Sea Scholar…

Final Weeks

So, we made it! It’s been a very strange year and under the circumstances, it makes me especially grateful that I’ve been able to be a part of this program. I’m particularly thankful for the Sea Grant team and my mentors at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

In these upcoming weeks, I have my last translations to work on which feels bittersweet. My lexicon with shellfish and estuarine ecology has grown a lot; it’s easy to see how far I’ve progressed with my documents as mile markers. I have a much better understanding about the shellfish populations in coastal Oregon and how important it is to the community on a recreational and commercial level. I’ve also been working with a SEACOR team member on best practices while using R, she’s been a huge help.

A final focus of mine is a better look on how projects are funded. My mentor Dr. D’Andrea is showing me his previous proposals and explaining the process. As a hopeful scientist, this information will be necessary when my own projects need to be funded as well as understanding why some topics are rigorously studied while others may not be prioritized.

My workspace when the sun isn’t so strong.

Last Thoughts

I reflected a little bit in my previous post on how great the resources at Sea Grant are and the many benefits but the best part was learning about Oregon. I’ve really appreciated the larger perspective I’ve gained in resource management and the role of science in a community. I’m finishing this internship even more keen to go to Oregon.

In the future, I hope to be attending graduate school studying biological oceanography or marine ecology. Coming in, I had this goal but it’s been solidified and seems more attainable to reach. As for those interested in this program, I highly recommend it. The Sea Grant team wants each one of the Scholars to succeed and they will help wherever they can.

Finally, thank you for reading and for contributing to my experiences this summer.

Progress in my ODFW Experience


I’ve been learning a lot about myself in this internship. With the pandemic, I had to adapt to the constraints of my current project and how to work remotely. I’m now equipped with the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t while working independently, and while this situation persists, this will definitely help me in future endeavors.

In the latter half of my internship, I’ve been continuously working on each new document quicker than the ones from the beginning. Learning about estuarine and marine issues in English and Spanish has made me a more culturally aware scientist. I believe that this may help me in the future to connect with people and places that couldn’t have been reached otherwise.


I’ve gotten more comfortable with the demands of translation and can now focus on my R training. I’m happy to be meeting with SEACOR team members to work through best practices and understand how they use R as a tool. It’s been great having the time and support to develop important professional skills.

Starting page of an R computer program that I’m learning from called Swirl

Coming up next on the translation front is a document that is of priority to SEACOR and seems heftier than the previous brochures I’ve had to work on. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Although time seems to be going faster now that I’ve settled into my role, I’ve still got a lot to look forward to in my internship and I’m excited for what’s coming next.

My next brochure will be about crabbing!

My advice for upcoming Scholars with Sea Grant

Some of my best moments in this experience came from attending lots of webinars. So many people are farther ahead on the scientific track and their insight can prevent you from making the same mistake they did. Also, I happen to think the webinars are very interesting as well!

I’m glad that I was able to set up some meetings with the Scholars and bond even though the pandemic has made this quite difficult. I hope to connect with the people I have met even after I’m finished with this experience.

If I were to start this internship over, I would take more advantage of the resources the Sea Grant provides. Don’t be afraid to ask if you need help. As I am going through grad school applications, I wished I asked for more support for the Sea Grant staff however I’m changing this while I still have time left!

Thanks for reading!

Environmental Stewardship in Policy

A lesson from my Oregon Summer Scholar Fellowship

At the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), I’ve learned about the bureaucratic process necessary to make changes to rules and policies. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) is the entity responsible for creating new policies concerning the recreation and harvest of natural resources. However, ODFW does have an important role in providing background, evidence, and advocating for (or against) rule changes. The process can be summarized briefly by the flowchart below: 

Flowchart of OFWC Rule Making Process

Rule making can also be initiated by the public through a proposal (for sport rule changes) or testimony/comment.

This bureaucratic process can be tedious and slow, but if rushed, can lead to misinformed decisions. Data collecting over time using both fisheries dependent data and fishery independent data (in SEACOR’s case) allows for better informed decisions based on science for management of natural resources. An example is that of the Bay Clam Fishery in 2016 where the cumulative pounds of harvested bay clams in the last years were hitting the limit within the first months of the season, shown through data collected by ODFW. In response, the regulatory rules of bay clam harvesting were adapted by OFWC from their last change 20 years ago to reflect the new data of changing harvest patterns, newer clam stock assessment data, and differences with recreational users. 

Netarts Bay Clammers, photo can be found on ODFW SEACOR website

The SEACOR team’s stock assessment data is vital for benchmarks on whether these regulatory rules were a success or not. The longer a study goes on, the more reliable the results can be. In this way, ODFW plays a role of environmental steward; I can definitely see myself in a similar role investigating populations of species in marine and coastal areas. I also realize that conservation scientists and regulatory agencies such as ODFW cannot be the only stewards affecting the policies that govern how we interact with our environment. The more people involved and educated on their state’s and county’s natural resource policies as well as the more people who interact responsibly with nature, the better we can connect and take care of our environment. Aldo Leopold, a champion for the idea of stewardship, put it best when he wrote

“I have purposely presented the land ethic as a product of social evolution because nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written’… It evolves in the minds of a thinking community.

Thanks for reading!

“A Day in the Life of…” Kelly Soluri!

Remind us what your project is

I’m tasked with translating outreach documents for the Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) team at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)

What have you been doing in your first few weeks on the job?

I’ve been reading up on background information on the ecology of different shellfish species such as Dungeness crabs and razor clams. This background reading helps me understand the context of my work as my first document is on crabbing. I’ve already begun the process of translating and I’m on my second draft. 

Describe your daily routine in the time of COVID-19 remote (or in person) work:

Do you work 8 hours straight?

I maintain my hours flexible so I don’t get burnt out quickly. I like to section off my day with tasks instead of basing my productivity on strictly on time, although there are times that I do work through 8 hours. 

My workspace supplied with my agenda, notebook, computer, water bottle, and a glass of iced tea.

Do you multitask?

I split my day with different tasks but while working, I’m focused on that task. 

Do you have “coffee” with colleagues/co-workers/other interns?

I did join a “coffee hour” celebrating the last day of the internship for Em and Jenna. I’d like to have other events like this in the future to bond with the other interns.

How often do you check in with your supervisor?

My supervisor and I have a weekly meeting on Fridays at the end of the day where we check in on my progress. I can ask any questions I’d like during this time and we finish the meeting with a presentation by my mentor on an aspect of the field work that I would have been participating in as my original project before the covid-19 modifications. 

How often are team meetings?

SEACOR team meetings are weekly. I had my first just last week! 

How do you stay motivated (exercise breaks, phone calls with friends, walking meetings…)?

I like to take small breaks throughout the day. During breaks, I’m usually outside, taking in the sun while having a popsicle or fruit. I also use my agenda to not lose track of deadlines and meetings. 

My break spot during a sunset.

What is one downside or your COVID-19 work routine?

I would have loved to get to know all the interns in person or to have started all at the same time but I’m looking to remedy some of it by reaching out to people for coffee hours.  

What is one upside of your COVID-19 work routine?

The flexibility of my routine is a nice benefit although you have to be disciplined to complete your tasks everyday.

Thanks for reading!

Beginning of my Summer Sea Scholar Internship with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

As a Summer Sea Scholar, my primary duties will be working in the science communication aspect of the Shellfish and Estuarine Habitat Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) Program in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) by translating outreach documents into Spanish. I hope that this project will involve the Oregon Spanish-speaking community in the enjoyment of the state’s natural areas and activities. 

Being my first week on the job, the on-boarding process has me doing a lot of reading on the topic to get specific context on what I will be working on. It has been very interesting learning about shellfish ecology in the Pacific Northwest and how Oregonians interact with these marine organisms. 

Having linguistically diverse outreach will inform a larger audience of the Pacific Northwest’s marine environment, regulations, activities, and ODFW’s work. It may interest Spanish-speakers to get more hands-on experiences with environmental science and perhaps inspire future scientists. This project aligns well with the ODFW mission of enhancing Oregon’s natural areas for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. As an organization that encourages discovery and scientific understanding within Oregon’s coastal communities, the Oregon Sea Grant’s mission supports the goals of my project. I’m excited to get started!

Thanks for reading!