After several weeks working for OCOIN, which centers around research on the Oregon Coast and surrounding areas, I’ve learned how important it is as scientists to not only make your research applicable to policy, but also making it very accessible to the general public. Environmental policy doesn’t just take into account scientific research, but overall public opinion as well. This makes it really important for researchers to educate the public with their findings.
I think this internship has given me a better idea of how policy organization works, despite not having been to an agency-level meeting (yet!). Since I work more on the technical side of things, I’m getting first-hand knowledge on how important it is for websites and presentations to be visually appealing, easy to understand, and very organized. (The organization part benefits us too during the editing process!)
With this being my last week working for OCOIN, I can honestly say that I’ve really enjoyed working with such intelligent and passionate members of the scientific community, on the research and policy-making sides. Every person I’ve met that’s involved with conservation has valued the well being of animals, humans, and wants to keep the world healthy. So by definition, they tend to be really kind and passionate people :) Based on this positive experience, I do think I’d like to continue my involvement with scientific policy in the future, at least in some capacity.
This summer I’m working with the Oregon Coastal and Oceanic Information Network (OCOIN) and aiding in improving their website and updating research information. I typically work four hour shifts Monday through Friday and often use my best judgement for what tasks should be completed first. Every Friday, the other interns, Em and Angela, join me in a Zoom meeting to reflect on what we’ve done during the week, help each other with resumes and overall success in our professional goals, and occasionally talk about books. Turns out we all really like fantasy! I also check in with my supervisor every Monday to make sure I have the resources I need for the week and receive further direction if it was not clear.
Listening to music and audiobooks helps keeps me motivated during my work shifts, and I like to take breaks to stretch and play with my dogs. The main downside of my routine during COVID-19 would probably be emailing questions instead of being able to ask in person. Zoom has been super helpful with this, but we still have to schedule times instead of all being together. An upside to this routine is that my hours are determined by me, which has been pretty nice considering my brother has had various car problems and I’ve had to pause work to help him!
As a Summer Scholar, my primary duties will include communicating with researchers to update information on Oregon Coastal and Oceanic Information Network’s (OCOIN’s) Research Explorer tool, aiding in finding speakers for our annual meeting, and collaborating on blog posts and newsletters. The summer project I am working on will help connect researchers and policy makers to make sure that decisions are made with the most up-to-date information. My personal duties will help with OCOIN’s mission statement by making sure that all the information on the Research Explorer tool is up-to-date to make it easier to access for the general public. I know that OCOIN’s goals align with Oregon Sea Grant’s mission because the research primarily focuses on the Oregon Coast to help shape policies in the Northwest.