Remote Work with the Ocean Protection Council

It’s been three full weeks since I’ve started my internship and it’s flown by. I’m so happy to be a climate change intern with the Ocean Protection Council (OPC). I’m working with the climate change team to scope out and research a critical infrastructure resiliency plan. This work will focus on examining the impacts of sea-level rise on coastal infrastructure and work to identify the solutions needed to adapt. This entails reading many vulnerability assessments which will lead to writing a white paper to inform the request for bid for the plan. This is incredibly relevant to my career goal to work on coastal adaptation and resiliency and it’s been a great way to explore this further. 

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Cameron & OC

Building Relationships During COVID-19

I, like many people, had reservations about working remotely for the entire summer. Would I be able to participate and network? Would I be able to prove my value in such a short period just over zoom? Would my work style be compatible? Well, I am happy to report that both of my internships are off to great starts. I would normally describe myself as professional yet amicable, much of which is part of my in-person personality. This experience has begun to challenge that but only in the best way. Our zoom calls with Ocean Conservancy are rare but I can attribute that to the trust our team has built and also confided in me. The first major milestone being an in-person, outdoor, socially-distanced lunch meeting in Santa Cruz. We were able to discuss my work so far, the ideal outcome and also my capabilities and interests which my team has respected and simultaneously pushed me on. I’m grateful for our in-person meeting for an elongated discussion and the ability to be a bit more candid about our expectations. I have high hopes for the rest of the summer.

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The Start of a New Adventure

It’s been an exciting start to being an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) intern! I have the privilege of working with the Oceans Program and Research and Development Team. I am assisting the Japan Support Team, answering questions and providing research and metrics for policy implementation. The position is flexible and on top of the work I am doing with policy implementation, I have also been given the opportunity to explore other aspects of fisheries policy in the form of cellular seafood research and the creation and integration of climate profiles into current research. I love having my fingers dipped into all the different paint pots! It’ll help me paint my own picture after grad school.

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Kelsey Shoup: Socially Responsible Seafood and Sustainable Seaweed

Seafood Solutions
Oakland, CA USA
June 1-August 17, 2020

Monterey Bay Seaweeds
Moss Landing Marine Labs, Moss Landing, CA, USA
June 1-August 17

This summer, Kelsey will be splitting her time between two organizations: Seafood Solutions and Monterey Bay Seaweeds. At Seafood Solutions Kelsey will support the Project Director to advance select projects of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions. She will focus primarily on supporting the Alliance’s goal to advance norms and guidance on social responsibility in seafood.

At Monterey Bay Seaweeds, she will work on multiple projects surrounding the production of sustainable seaweed including; social responsibility; sustainability in production and distribution, marketing and branding, fundraising, etc.

Janet Kung: Climate Change and Fisheries Management

Environmental Defense Fund
San Francisco, CA, USA
June 1- August 7, 2020

Janet will support EDF Oceans in developing country-by-country climate change sensitivity profiles and incorporating climate change impacts into fishery management tools. She will assist the Lead Senior Scientist, Oceans with reviewing peer-reviewed literature on climate change effects on fisheries, supporting research to advance climate-ready fishery management tools, drafting papers on critical topics, and coordinating research efforts among EDF staff and other institutions. By the end of the internship, Janet hopes to have expanded her skills related to climate change and fisheries management and will have a deeper understanding of how ideas and concepts for climate-ready fishery management can be turned into action.

Illeana Alexander: Fisheries Policy for Japan

Environmental Defense Fund
San Francisco, CA, USA
June 1 – August 7, 2020

This summer Illeana will be working with the Environmental Defense Fund as an Intern in the Ocean Program. They will be working with the Support Japan Team on the developing a way to evaluate the status of Japan’s effort to implement new fisheries policy. They will also help answer any follow up questions from Japan’s team in regards to the nearshore fisheries management paper.

Cameron Steagall: Climate Change & Plastic Pollution

Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA, USA

Ocean Conservancy
Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Cameron will be splitting his time between NPS and Ocean Conservancy over the Summer, June 1-July 31, 2020. At NPS, Cameron will work on military installation and adaptation measures against sea-level rise and extreme weather events. This position is reliant on research and outreach to all levels of government regarding policy analysis and policy development inclusive of innovative solutions. This role will also involve policy analysis, development, and coordination regarding the current US position and potential involvements in Arctic policies. He will have the opportunity to brief government officials and present his findings to the Naval Energy team.

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Oceane Ringuette: Climate Change Team

Ocean Protection Council
Sacramento, California, U.S.A
June 1-July 31, 2020

Over the course of the 9-week summer internship, Oceane will work with the California Ocean Protection Council’s Climate Change Team to help meet the discussed climate change targets and actions explicitly identified in Goal One of the Strategic Plan to Protect California’s Coast and Ocean: COPC Strategic Plan 2020-2025. Primarily, this work will consist of the development of a white paper to inform the draft “Request for Bid” for the Beach Resiliency Plan and/or the Site-Specific Critical Infrastructure Resiliency Plan and will include project scoping for this plan.

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Elizabeth Francis: Analyzing Blue Carbon

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
June 1 – August 21, 2020

Elizabeth will be working with the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to analyze potential sources of blue carbon storage with a case study conducted on the Bolinas Lagoon. She will then analyze and assess the results of her findings in the Sanctuary and write international recommendations and guidelines for blue carbon storage in marine protected areas.

AWI Final Reflections

My last day at the AWI German Arctic Office

I will begin this post as I ended my first post with a picture of me and the German Arctic Office banner. My CBE Fellowship with the Alfred Wegener-Institut German Arctic Office is coming to a close.

My daily routine of bike riding, taking the 92 Tram to/from Kirschalle/Postdam Hauptbahnhof and then the 691 bus to the AWI on the Telegrafenberg and eating lunch with Dr. Rachold, Lisa and Gerlis of APECES everyday in Cafe Freundlich has come to an end. I spent time with new friends from IASS, ate Doner Kebab, currywurst, dranked German beer and visited several of the historical sites in Potsdam and Berlin (pictured below) while working for one of the best Arctic science organisations.

There were tough times in the beginning and I thought often about whether I made the right decision. There was not much of a cultural shock to me despite some significant challenges, but I’m glad I can say that I survived 2 months in Germany, and that I was able to complete a fellowship at the AWI. I fulfilled my dream of working with the AWI. I feel very accomplished! And I am so lucky! Here’s to next time and future collaborations with the AWI and my German Arctic colleagues.

Ich werde euch vermissen. (I will miss you).

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

My CBE Fellowship as an Arctic policy research intern with the Alfred Wegener-Institut German Arctic Office (AWI) located in Potsdam, Germany ended on 20 September 2019. As an Arctic policy research intern, my responsibilities consisted of assisting the head of the German Arctic Office, Dr. Volker Rachold and AWI/APECS project officer, Lisa Grosfeld with organizing an Arctic science to policy workshop taking place in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 2019. My primary work focused on conducting literature review on Arctic laws and agreements to formulate a fact sheet, called Governance in the Arctic. The project addresses fundamental questions regarding Arctic ownership, governance, the role of Indigenous Peoples, existing institutions and agreements, Arctic cooperation, the role of Germany in Arctic policy and science and challenges in the Arctic.

The experience at the AWI afforded me the opportunity to interview Arctic Indigenous representatives of the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway, the Director of the Arctic Centre in Lapland, Finland and the Arctic Governance group at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. Additionally, I was able to interact with representatives from the Germany Federal Foreign Ministry and the head of the MOSAiC Arctic expedition, Dr. Markus Rex. The final product of the fact sheet was well received by my AWI colleagues. We anticipate that the fact sheet will also be well received throughout the Arctic community, the German Federal Government, the Arctic States and the general public.

My last lunch at Cafe Freundlich. The meals here were so delicious!

Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally.

In 2016, I decided to apply to graduate school and focus on Arctic policy. I wanted also more than anything to work for the Alfred Wegener-Institut Helmholz Center for Polar and Marine Research. I can say with great pleasure that I can check these two items off my list. My experience interning with the AWI was extremly benefical to my career development. Prior to my relocation to Germany, I had been working as a CBE graduate assistant to senior CBE Fellow and Executive Director of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), Dr. Brendan P. Kelly. He has worked extensively in the field of Arctic science as a marine biologist and now focuses on the science to policy interface. This interface is part of my professional and personal interest.

I had the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Rachold and communicate with other science and policy practitioners on this topic. I connected also with directors from other Arctic organizations and was introduced to representatives from the German Federal Foreign Ministry. We discussed the importance of a sustainable Arctic. I met also Dr. Hugues Lantuit at the AWI, who is a geologists and permafrost expert guiding the Nunataryuk Horizon 2020 permafrost project. I will collaborate with Dr. Lantuit on this project in my current position as a project assistant at Grid-Arendal in Arendal, Norway. The benefits of my professional and personal experience working at the AWI has afforded me opportunities I didn’t think would be available to me this early in my professional and graduate career. I have further expanded my Arctic network by building relationships with others in the Arctic community. Additionally, I was fortunate to attend the Arctic Futures 2050 conference in Washington, D.C. during my fellowship with the AWI. Here I connected with other like minded professionals to bridge knowledge gaps between the science, indigenous traditional knowledge holders and policy makers. I am grateful to Dr. Kelly and Rachold for allowing me to be apart of these experiences. Through every experience I gain a new mentor, colleague and friend. I am glad to be a professional member of the Arctic community.

The AWI is already great! I just liked this sign on Dr. Lantuit’s office door. (:

Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?

Not to dwell on the negative because it leads one down a rabbit hole but my experience in the country of Germany began as an unwelcoming one. I was met with unkindness at different levels by locals and native Germans. This was my first time traveling to Europe. I was disappointed. I did not have unrealistic expectations and I was not expecting to be met with such terrible disturbances. These moments preyed on my mental state. However, I thought about the girl from  2016 who declared that she would work for the AWI. This girl told her MIIS career advisor that she would become the first MIIS student and alumni to work for the AWI and she did. This girl is me. After rebooting and centering myself I was not going to allow these outside disturbances to interfere with the thing I love most – my Arctic work. I persevered. I gained more from this experience with the AWI and living internationally than I could have ever imagined. I learned a lot about myself and others. The environment on the science campus and the AWI was very supportive and welcoming. The AWI German Arctic office is small. It consists of three people. I was glad I could work in such an intimate setting with my colleagues. We ate lunch together every day and learned much about one another. Dr. Rachold put in a great deal of effort to make sure I was comfortable, welcomed and made me feel part of the AWI. The AWI was everything I envisioned it to be, and I am forever grateful and indebted to Dr. Rachold for inviting me to intern under his direction. I am glad to call him a mentor, colleague and friend.

My last hours at the AWI. The fact sheet is complete. Dr. Rachold is happy and so am I.
The German Arctic Office is located in the building behind me.

Mandii Hoffman, Anzhela Safina and I walking the grounds of Sanssouci
Doner Kebab in Berlin
The famous German Currywurst
One does not go to Germany and not drink a German beer
Leftover Berlin Wall

Berlin Brandenburg Gate
The Chinese House on the grounds of Sanssouci Palace
Goodbye for now! Auf Wiedersehen. Next stop Norway!

AWI Fact sheet continued…

I am in the second half of my fellowship with the AWI and the literature review continues, but the fact sheet is coming together very well. Dr. Rachold and I converse biweekly regarding progress, content, formatting, and imagery of the fact sheet. All of the AWI fact sheets include a cover photo to represent Arctic scenery appropriate to the theme. Dr. Rachold and I agreed that a representation of the Arctic region was appropriate for my fact sheet, Governance in the Arctic. We decided that an Arctic map would be best. This was the perfect opportunity for me to put the GIS skills I learned at MIIS to use. I met a wonderful gentlemen and AWI GIS wiz, Sebastian Laboor. Together, we created an Arctic map. The map represents the economic exclusive zones of the eight Arctic States, the North Pole, Arctic Ocean, Arctic Circle and the Arctic Marine Assessment Program’s (AMAP) boundary line (see image above). The AMAP is a working group of the Arctic Council. The boundary lines are especially relevant as there are different definitions of the Arctic based on the context of the region. The Arctic Circle boundary circles the globe at 66° 34′ N of the equator. Some use it to describe the Arctic region as the area above the Arctic Circle. The AMAP boundary defines the Arctic region as the marine and terrestrial areas north of the Arctic Circle, north of 62°N in Asia and 60°N in North America, and includes elements of the Arctic Circle, political boundaries, permafrost limits and major oceanographic features. https://www.awi.de/en/about-us/publications/brochures-and-reports.html


Arctic Experts and Interviews

In addition to my constructing the Arctic GIS map, I conducted interviews with members from the Institute for Advance Sustainability Studies (IASS) Arctic Governance team in Potsdam, Germany, the Arctic Council’s Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat located in Tromsø, Norway (IPS) and the Arctic Centre located in Lapland, Finland (see below images). I am very appreciative and grateful that each of them we willing to speak with me and discuss at length the future of Arctic governance, perspectives, ownership, Indigenous youth, culture, language, resources, challenges and positive relationships. These wonderful people provided feedback and reviewed the content of the fact sheet for accuracy and clarity. I’d like to thank Michaela Stith, IPS Associate (not pictured here) for providing comments and review of the fact sheet as well. I am forever grateful for their time, engagement and for enhancing my thoughts on the realities of the Arctic region. https://www.arcticcentre.org https://www.arcticpeoples.com/ https://www.iass-potsdam.de/en/research-group/arctic-governance (The images below were obtained from the organisation or the world wide web)

Arctic Centre Director, Timo Koivurova
Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat Executive Secretary, Anna Degteva
IASS Arctic Governance Research Associate, Vilena Valeeva
IASS Arctic Governance Intern, Anzhela Safina and I at Sanssouci Schloss in Potsdam
IASS Arctic Governance Research Associate, Marianna Pascale Bartels

Arctic literature and presentations


Arctic issues – Potsdam Summer School

https://potsdam-summer-school.org/

A few weeks ago, I connected with public policy professionals from the Potsdam Summer School. I attended only the Arctic Issues session where Dr. Rachold and other AWI scientists and researchers gave presentations. The Arctic Issues session took place on the AWI campus. The session was highly constructive and informative. A lot of the content is known to me, but I learned a great deal from those participating in the summer school. The Q/A and discussion period led to great conversations. This was another highlight of my time at the AWI. I met professionals from all walks of life with different policy interests, and I learned more about the Nunataryuk Permafrost Horizon 2020 project. https://nunataryuk.org/

I will contribute to the Permafrost Atlas for the H2020 project in my current role as project assistant in the Polar and Mountain program at the Grid-Arendal in Arendal, Norway. https://www.grida.no/about

There are several international partners for the permafrost project but the AWI is responsible for project coordination.


The AWI presentation at the Potsdam Summer School
Dr. Hugues Lantuit of the AWI, Permafrost Project Coordinator
Dr. Volker Rachold (left) giving the German Arctic Office presentation
Arktischer Rat and Schifffahrt in der Arktis (Arctic Council and Shipping in the Arctic) are two fact sheets created by the AWI

Arctic Futures 2050 Conference

Busy times ahead… Dr. Rachold and I flew to Washington, D.C. to attend the three day Arctic Futures 2050 conference hosted by the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). This conference bought together Arctic scientists, Indigenous Peoples and policy makers to explore the knowledge needed to inform decisions concerning the Arctic in the future. I am grateful to Dr. Brendan Kelly, Executive Dir. of SEARCH and my CBE graduate supervisor for sponsoring my travel to/from AF 2050. I was especially glad that I could attend as the objective of the conference aligns with the topic of my master’s project for the Applied Professional Practicum at MIIS. This was an extremely informative, educational and professional experience for me. This experience will no doubt contribute to my career and professional network. I had the privilege of networking with policy makers, Indigenous Sámi and Inuit representatives and Arctic researchers, not to mention absorbing the variety of knowledge in the tent (below). https://www.searcharcticscience.org/arctic-2050/conference-2019

Arctic Futures 2050
Dr. Rachold on a panel discussing informing Arctic policy
My poster was accepted for presentation at AF 2050
The AWI German Arctic Office poster was also accepted for presentation.