Wednesday, April 5th, 2017
Megan Godfrey is currently working on the Arctic Policy and Governance Educational Partnership, an innovative collaboration between Universities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Alaska, and indigenous organizations. The Partnership seeks to enhance the effectiveness of Arctic policy and governance by advancing new approaches to the policy-science-indigenous knowledge interface.
Why did you choose to apply to IPSS?
One of the main reasons I chose to attend MIIS was for the IPSS program. The opportunity to apply my academic knowledge and skills in a professional setting was one I could not pass up!
How did you find your organization and why did you apply to it?
I started working for Dr. Brendan Kelly at the Center for Blue Economy on campus early last fall. Dr. Kelly is the Executive Director of Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) and also works for the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), where I am currently doing my IPSS assignment. I greatly enjoyed working with him and learning more about the Arctic– and when he mentioned the Alaska Arctic Policy Partnership, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The partnership is a new collaboration between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state of Alaska, and indigenous organizations that seeks to facilitate better interaction between institutions involved in natural resource management management in Arctic Alaska. It is based on a framework that builds trust and respect by establishing a policy-science-indigenous knowledge interface that emphasizes collaborative problem solving, knowledge sharing, and policy formation in Arctic Alaska.
What is something unexpected that has happened or a challenge you have faced (job duty, culture shock, etc) and how has that impacted your experience?
I’ve been very lucky in this internship to have very supportive supervisors and mentors who’ve helped guide me and my work. I suppose that the greatest challenge for me was preparing myself for the move from beautiful Monterey. I was pretty nervous about moving to Fairbanks, Alaska in the middle of winter– long dark days, COLD (hello -50F!). Once I got here, I realized I had nothing to worry about. I absolutely love it here! Fairbanks is beautiful. Blue, sunny skies, lush spruce forests, amazing cross country ski trails and hot springs. Basically paradise for an IEP student. A few weeks ago Sorina and I (another IPSS student) rented fat tire snow bikes and went mountain biking. So much fun! Needless to say, I’m hooked on Alaska.
How do you see this internship helping you reach your future career goals?
This internship has shown me what it’s like to work with diverse groups (academia, scientists, the federal government, etc.) and the importance of relationship building and collaborative problem solving (working together, identifying problems together, and brainstorming solutions together). Since my internship began in February, I’ve attended two conferences; the Alaska Forum for the Environment and The North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings, which have been extremely valuable networking opportunities.
What skills from MIIS have you found most useful in your current position?
In addition to having the background knowledge in natural resource management and economics, I need to do my work, I have found that presenting has been a huge! Being able to effectively and clearly communicate ideas to large audiences is absolutely vital in the work that I do. I used to hate doing presentations at MIIS, but now I see why good presentation/communication skills are absolutely essential. Thanks MIIS!
What advice do you have for students preparing for their IPSS practicum search?
Pick an organization that you are interested in or that works with something you are passionate about! IPSS is a stepping stone towards a professional career and gives you a taste of what it’s like to work your dream job– take it seriously. Also, it’s important to find a faculty advisor/mentor that can support you and help you out along the way.
Thank you Megan! We wish you continued success in the future!