What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?
This summer I interned with the Environmental Defense Fund out of the San Francisco office. I assisted the Research and Development team of the Fisheries Solutions Center with three projects. For one project, I co-authored a white paper advising Japan’s Fisheries Agency on management strategies that could be implemented on their nearshore fisheries to comply with their new federal fisheries reform law. For the paper, we examined case studies of similar coastal fisheries and strategies that have worked in terms of applying science-based targets to diverse fisheries and using input/output controls as well as some ideas for quota allocation and the potential for live releases of vulnerable species. For another project, I expanded upon a database of case studies examining interactions between fisheries and aquaculture. EDF will conduct a loop analysis on the database to determine what factors contribute to symbiotic relationships between fisheries and aquaculture and which foster negative interactions. In addition, for my final project I developed a database which compiles information the governance and policy conditions associated with aquaculture practices by country with the goal of creating a resource to facilitate access to information about aquaculture and to potentially conduct a similar statistical analysis as the other database to glean trends between governance and good aquaculture practices.
Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally.
My experience interning with the Environmental Defense Fund was extremely beneficial to my career development. Firstly, I had the opportunity to work directly with experts in my field of fisheries management. EDF ensures that their interns participate in team meetings, strategy sessions, and workshops to expose us to the work that they are doing. In these sessions, we were able to contribute our ideas to EDF projects. I also gained experience with writing white papers directed to government officials and how to quickly compile information to develop case studies. I also had the time to pour through the literature on fisheries and aquaculture and feel I am consequently significantly more informed on these topics than I was before the start of my internship.
Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?
Before this summer, and prior to my time at MIIS, I primarily worked in field biology and environmental education. This summer was my first experience with a regular 9-5 office job. I was surprised by how normal and welcoming this office environment felt. They really put in effort to ensure all of the interns get the most out of their experience and host many events to make us feel part of the staff and to have the opportunity to learn about all of the exciting projects that EDF is working on. I was also surprised by how much I loved San Francisco. I never considered myself a city person, but found that I could definitely happily live in San Francisco.