Reflection: Throughout all of the craziness that has ensued from 2020, I am still so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a Sea Grant summer scholar and to have had the opportunity to work with the ODFW’s Marine Reserve Program. I’m thankful that everyone I’ve worked with has been so flexible with everything that has happened and that we all still pushed forward to make this internship happen. It’s pretty amazing to look back and see all of the work done by all of the other summer scholars as well.
Moving forward: Doing this internship only solidified that I’d like to continue in learning more about marine policies and marine outreach. With the recent wildfires that have happened across the Pacific Northwest, I only feel more motivated to engage more with the public on policies and knowledge of the environment.
Next steps: My next steps are to finish my couple of classes for undergrad. After finishing my undergrad, I am considering graduate school but I know I’d like to take a year off by either doing another internship, or working for a year for an organization that engages with the public about environmental education. It’s hard to solidify any of my plans though because we don’t know how long COVID-19 will affect travel, internships, jobs, etc.
As I move into the 2nd half of my internship, some things that I’ve learned on the job is that networking/meeting new people during COVID wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, I’ve gained insight in the inner workings of the ODFW Marine Reserves Program and being able to read/write more about statistics.
What has surprised me the most about this work this summer is the difficulty of doing remote work. I have done some remote work before and I knew that with doing remote work there is always more of a learning curve, but I am trying my best!
If I could start the summer knowing what I know now, I would search for more webinars to attend. There were several webinars I would’ve liked to attend earlier in the summer, but I did not know about them. I also wish I reached out to more organizations/summer scholars to sit in on their meetings to learn more about what they were doing.
My view of science policy hasn’t changed too dramatically over the past several weeks. I’ve always revered it. I have definitely grown a better understanding of how policy organizations work though, and also an even deeper respect and awe for it. There’s a lot more that goes into the process than I realized. It’s been really neat to sit in on the ODFW Marine Reserve program team meetings and see how the team comes together. I do feel like I understand more how science policy operates in the state of Oregon, at least for the Marine Reserves Program. They have partnerships with many organizations that are within the state and also out of state.
I wouldn’t necessarily see any tradeoffs in the organization that I’ve been interning at between serving the public good and being able to respond nimbly. I think that the Marine Reserves program has been doing a great job in trying to educate the public about the Marine Reserves but still being on the side of science. For example, my project that I’m working for is creating a summarized report of the visitor intercept survey. It’s important that I’m not biased and put my own opinions in the paper about why I think the Marine Reserves should be kept. I’m simply stating the facts of the data, then the readers of the report can make their assessment about it.
I am inspired to continue in this line of work in the future. I think it’s incredibly important to have these surveys implemented to figure out what the public knows and does not know. Understanding what the public thinks is crucial for education and implementation of new policies. Although I’m very interested in marine policies, I’m also interested in recycling/waste policies. But at the core of both of those topics are issues caused by humans.
Thanks for reading – I hope everyone is staying safe!
-Remind us what your project is: My project is to create a summarized report of the visitor intercept surveys that were conducted at the Oregon Marine Reserves from 2012-2015.
-What have you been doing in your first few weeks on the job? My first few weeks I’ve been reading relevant literature and reading about the Marine Reserves history (when it was created, how the surveys were administered, etc.). I’ve been attending the weekly Marine Reserves Program team meetings and the Human Dimensions team meetings as well. I’ve just received the synthesized data of the surveys on Wednesday so I’m starting to write the report now.
-Describe your daily routine in the time of COVID-19 remote (or in person) work:
Do you work 8 hours straight? I don’t but I think I’m going to possibly try that next week to optimize productivity.
Do you multitask? I do in a way. I think if my brain starts getting burnt out from reading one thing, I will switch things up and go through other material.
Do you have “coffee” with colleagues/co-workers/other interns? I don’t but I’m open to it! I joined in on Angela’s, Jenna’s, and Em’s last coffee hour this morning and that was great to check in with the other scholars and see how they were doing.
How often do you check in with your supervisor? I check in with him in the beginning of every week. We were doing Monday at 1030 am but sometimes push it to Tuesdays afternoon if our schedule can’t accommodate the Monday morning meeting.
How often are team meetings? Team meetings are every week as well. I meet with the Human Dimensions team every Wednesday at 11am for about an hour and a half then the weekly Marine Reserves Program team meetings are also on Wednesdays but at 130pm till 3pm.
How do you stay motivated (exercise breaks, phone calls with friends, walking meetings…)? To stay motivated I make lists. I write down what I need to read and get done. I also try to make sure I have a clean work space before I begin doing work so I’m not distracted by any messes around me.
-What is one downside or your COVID-19 work routine? This is a huge downside but one downside of my COVID-19 work routine is not being able to interact with people face-to-face. I’m sure many others feel the same way. I do appreciate we have Zoom and other forms of meeting with others still but it’s definitely not the same as in-person interaction!
-What is one upside of your COVID-19 work routine? One upside is that even though we are all doing remote work, I am still able to network and meet new people, and possibly meet people I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet if I was doing an in-person internship. I think that more people are willing to do meetings because of COVID. Mostly all of us are still doing remote work so I think that people are freer than they’d normally be.
This summer, I am interning with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on the Marine Reserves Program. I am working with the human dimensions team. My primary work duties will be looking at the visitor surveys that have been conducted in the past at the 5 Oregon Marine Reserves. After going over those reports, reading other relevant literature and the legislative history of the creation of the Marine Reserves, I will provide ODFW with a summary of my findings of the visitor surveys and connect it to the bigger picture of the program. Originally, my primary work duty would have been to conduct the last visitor survey of their report but because of COVID-19, that wasn’t possible anymore! I’m thankful ODFW Marine Reserves Program still kept me on and found work for me to do. Being a part of this internship also will help me network and meet people I’m not normally exposed to. For instance, I sit in on the weekly staff meetings and am able to converse with the whole team, even though I’m working primarily with the human dimensions team.
The project I’m working on will help ODFW submit their report to the Oregon legislature because the Marine Reserves will be evaluated in 2023. Those project goals help advance Oregon Sea Grant’s vision and mission because the Marine Reserve goals are about resiliency and sustainability for the coastal communities. ODFW’s mission statement is to “protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.” It’ll be really interesting to see how visitor’s interceptions have changed over the years, or if it has at all.