As a ’90s kid, my romanticized idea of living in San Francisco was inspired by scenes from Full House, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the Princess Diaries. While San Francisco today is nothing like it was in the movies and shows we grew up with, it’s been an adventure with more culture and history than I could have imagined. Luckily, I arrived a week early to explore the city before starting my summer fellowship. I took that time as my opportunity to see sights I hadn’t been to before, get lost, and learn the transportation system.
By Monday, I was settled in and ready for my first day at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Our office is on the top floor of a LEED-certified building on Mission Street—complete with a panoramic view of the Bay Bridge and the East Bay. This summer, I’m a part of the Research and Development team for the Fishery Solutions Center of EDF’s Oceans Program. My interest and previous experience in marine conservation in the Philippines led me to working on two Philippine-based projects in collaboration with EDF’s regional team.
My primary focus is to assess coastal locations that would co-benefit from a sustainable aquaculture operation. This project addresses crucial livelihood and food security issues as 38% of animal protein consumed by Filipinos is from fish and 34% of fisherfolk and aquaculture workers live in poverty. As a Filipina-American, I’m engrossed by the environmental and social injustices that my home country continues to face and I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute towards solutions that work.
I’m lucky to have the support of my supervisor, liaisons, and three in-country consultants including the Philippines’ Country Director. I’ve been able to direct my many questions to them and I’m continuously learning information I can’t access through online research. While this is the first cubicle/office job I’ve ever held, I can already tell that the scenery and the company culture will be hard to beat!