Ten Weeks Packed Full of Learning

I can’t believe that my time as a Summer Scholar is already coming to a close. Working with the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN) has provided an amazing opportunity to see what my professional life will be like after I finish school. Within the OCOIN network, I have been able to gain a broader view of organizations working to provide for Oregon’s coast and have built connections with professionals within these networks. It has been a confirming experience working with people with common interests, with whom I can see myself working well with. 

My view this week, finishing up our updates to OCOIN’s Coastal Research Explorer.

While I don’t feel like I have a better understanding of what exactly I would like to do after school, I do feel more comfortable with the options before me. With OCOIN, I have seen a greater variety of professional tracks working within the environmental science realm. I have also learned valuable skills that will help me when it comes time for my job hunt. My biggest goal as a Summer Scholar was to learn ArcGIS, and I have gotten a deeper understanding of it than I thought was possible in just ten short weeks. Before this summer, I knew nothing about ArcGIS, but over my internship, I have completed many tutorials, had hours of hands-on training, been able to put my skills to use working on OCOIN’s Coastal Research Explorer, and have even had my share of troubleshooting to really gain a deep learning of this valuable skill. 

This fall, I will be starting graduate school at Portland State University, working towards my Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management. I will be a part of the Applied Coastal Ecology lab with Dr. Elise Granek. One of my goals as a Summer Scholar was to determine what I would like to research. While that is still taking shape, the vision of what it will be is much clearer. Throughout my internship, I worked hands-on with OCOIN’s Coastal Research Explorer, which hosts Oregon’s coastal research projects. This experience allowed me to see what research is taking place on the coast, aiding in my quest to find a research topic. I am grateful for the skills I acquired, the connections I made, and the hands-on experience I gained as a Summer Scholar. 

Resume Building

As a Summer Scholar, I work with the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN). Updating their Coastal Research Explorer tool and leaving my mark on it is one of my most significant tasks this summer. The tool uses ArcGIS, featuring an interactive map to present research along the Oregon coast. ArcGIS is software that I have not worked with before, but I have hoped for the chance to learn it. With OCOIN staff, I have had one-on-one trainings, tutorials to complete on my own, and an in-depth opportunity to put these skills to use as I updated the Coastal Research Explorer tool. I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn such useful software in my field, fulling one of my goals this summer of learning a technical skill that I can add to my resume. With OCOIN, I have learned additional software skills, learning ESRI’s Survey123, Mailchimp, and becoming more proficient with the programming language R.

Working remotely, I get to take breaks in my garden.

Over that past year and a half, I have gotten used to working remotely. However, before this summer, remote work could get lonely. Working with OCOIN, I have daily meetings with staff and Zoom work parties with the other intern Charlotte. As a Summer Scholar, I have learned a new, more inspiring form of remote work, collaborating with those in my network.

Prior to my internship, I wished I realized that professional development could come from additional sources other than those directly related to OCOIN. While getting acquainted with OCOIN staff and tools, there was some lag time before I could work on my projects. I was invited to outside organization meetings, informational interviews, and offered training materials during this time. I was assured that while I could not start my projects yet, professional development was equally important. It has felt amazing to feel support during my internship to learn what I need. One of these learnings has been a deeper knowledge of the programing language R, even though it didn’t directly relate to my placement with OCOIN. Since this onboarding period, I have been quite busy with my OCOIN projects and have still been able to work through the expectations laid out for me while also fulfilling some additional professional goals for the summer.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

It has been a great few weeks interning with the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN). OCOIN is run by volunteers, so I have had the opportunity to meet professionals from many organizations throughout Oregon. My first week was spent meeting the members of the Steering Committee to learn a little about them and their role within OCOIN. I have since begun to dig into some of the projects that I am working on this summer. The project that I am most excited about today is helping write OCOIN’s newsletter. I get to interview a researcher that I have wanted to meet, and we get to talk about their research.

My Home Office

OCOIN, being run by volunteers, was primarily operated remotely before the pandemic. While it would be nice to meet people in person, I feel as though I flourish in the flexibility of this environment. Another Summer Scholar, Charlotte, and I Zoom with while working to make our workday seem a little more personal. It is sort of like sharing an office with someone; I feel lucky to have such a wonderful “office-mate”. We also get to have weekly meetings with each committee within the organization, whether it be the whole committee or just a one-on-one meeting. My workstation can take place in a variety of locations. Typically, I am in the comfort of my home. However, this coming Monday, I will be wrapping up an inspirational trip to the coast. With the flexibility of my work location, I will be able to work with a view of the ocean, which is central to the work that I am doing. 

I have been encouraged to provide an outside perspective to help shape OCOIN. It feels inspiring to share ideas that I have to make a difference within the organization. I have been offered many professional development opportunities: sitting in on meetings, informational interviews with organizations I see myself working for in the future, and training to help develop the technical skills that I am looking for. Not even halfway through my internship, many of my goals already seem to be taking shape. I am so grateful for the opportunities provided thus far as a Summer Scholar.

Summer Scholar with OCOIN

This summer, I am interning with the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN). OCION is a network that helps facilitate relationships between researchers, policymakers, and managers. I am proud to be a part of an organization that promotes the use of science in decision-making.

Joshua Fackrell : Remote working station

This summer with OCOIN, I will primarily focus on their outreach team, where I will be working to encourage participation with the network. To accomplish this, I will be helping to update OCOIN’s tools, the Coastal Research Explorer and the Oregon Explorer. In addition, I will be preparing newsletters and helping plan OCOIN’s Fall 2021 annual meeting. I will be working with another Sea Grant intern, Charlotte, who will be primarily working on the technical side of OCOIN. It has been great starting to collaborate with her and learning from one another. The OCOIN steering committee is made up of volunteers who work for various organizations throughout the state. So far, this has provided a fantastic opportunity to network with people and is providing so many new things to learn.

My work with OCOIN is perfectly situated with Sea Grant. By increasing collaboration between science and policy, coastal communities and ecosystems can receive the care they need. At the core of OCOIN is collaboration; I feel honored to be a part of their outreach team, helping to expand the users that participate with the network.

Starting the summer at OCOIN!

My transition from a year of online coursework at the University of Oregon to being a Summer Scholar with the Oregon Sea Grant has been seamless, as the process happened in my own room! This summer I am working as a remote intern with the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network (OCOIN) as a member of the Technical Committee.

My workstation for the summer. On the larger screen is OCOIN’s Coastal Research Explorer tool, while the smaller screen displays OCOIN’s network directory.

OCOIN as an organization is a professional network that aims to connect and facilitate collaboration between scientists, policy makers, and managers who are all involved in coastal and ocean affairs. This goal is accomplished through two tools, the Coastal Research Explorer and the Oregon Coastal & Marine Data Network Directory, as well as outreach efforts such as an annual webinar. The Coastal Research Explorer is a digital platform that allows the sharing of past, present, and future research taking place on the Oregon coast. Researchers and policy makers alike can use the maps and tables within this tool to view and explore research projects across multiple topics. Alternatively, the Network Directory facilitates contact sharing amongst the large OCOIN network.

The three main facets of the Oregon Coastal and Ocean Information Network.

As a member of OCOIN’s Technical Committee, I will be doing a lot of data management this summer: from updating research information in the Coastal Research Explorer and optimizing user capabilities, to updating the Network Directory. Over the first two weeks I met OCOIN’s many steering committee members, began the data updating process, and completed ArcGIS Online classes to prepare for working with the Coastal Research Explorer tool.

I am also excited to do outreach work with Joshua, my fellow Sea Grant Scholar working at OCOIN this summer. Together we will write two newsletters for OCOIN members and assist in the planning of the annual OCOIN webinar. Outreach is essential for sharing new and ongoing coastal research and maintaining the vast OCOIN network. 

The key intersection between the work I will be doing at OCOIN this summer and the Oregon Sea Grant’s mission is the promotion of discovery and understanding for Oregon coastal communities and ecosystems. The sharing of novel research and coordination between researchers is essential for creating new research projects and understanding research that is ongoing or already completed across Oregon.

Jenna Livingston: Intern at OCOIN

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.