What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?
This summer I worked with the of Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) on a variety of activities, but as my main project I organized and shared a database of sources which SEARCH participants will use as they research and write publications. While I assisted SEARCH’s directors and executive committee with meetings and other activities, this task was for the most part mine to lead. I collected articles, reports, essays, books, and other sources and entered them into the database to make them easily available to everyone involved with SEARCH. I also created an instructional video for all team members showing how to use the database, and presented my work to the executive committee. I hope that as they continue researching, writing, and publishing their products, SEARCH participants will benefit greatly from the convenience of the newly organized database.
Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally.
This experience has been hugely beneficial to me both professionally and personally. At online and in-person SEARCH meetings, I’ve crossed paths with a diverse multitude of highly knowledgeable and experienced people working on environmental, human health, and policy issues in the Arctic. As someone at the beginning of my career, this has been a fantastic learning experience where I’ve practiced skills like teamwork, communication, time management and project planning, travel organization, flexibility to assist with unexpected tasks, and networking. On a personal level as well, these opportunities to learn from SEARCH’s assembly of experts in Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, natural and social sciences, and public policy couldn’t be more valuable. Not only have I practiced many critical skills, I’ve also developed my own large-scale understanding and opinions on the issues addressed in my work.
Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?
Although this kind of work can sometimes feel distanced from direct conservation, I’ve realized that work which helps conservation organizations operate effectively is essential. With SEARCH I’ve become part of a team of people whose work I admire, and I’ve used my time to contribute however I can. I wouldn’t quite call this an unexpected discovery or epiphany, but I’ve come to understand and appreciate this this idea more deeply.
Photo: Sunset at 11pm on Cook Inlet and Dghelishla (Mount Susitna), Anchorage, Alaska, taken during meeting of all SEARCH participants in June.