The blessing & Struggle of self-design

The blessing & Struggle of self-design

Nearly a month ago, I went on my first ever field hitch to deploy bat detectors in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Since then, I’ve: published a bat protocol brief, slept in a haunted cabin, learned about the endemic species of the Mojave and Great Basin deserts, witnessed the southwest drought, drove a Ford 5-150 Raptor, and saw the many and diverse effects of climate change firsthand. This internship has been fulfilling–and busy, so let me catch you up.

What’s my job exactly?

Truthfully, at the start of my internship, I wasn’t sure either! The job description was clear: science communication intern who will engage first hand with monitoring field work. And yes, that is an accurate description of my time at MOJN. The inner workings and details, however, were not set at the beginning of my internship. They were set by me. As a MOSAICS in Science intern, I work closely with my supervisors to come up with a Work and Mentoring Plan that aligns closely with my passions and interests. Although choosing your work is always a dream come true, no one ever tells you how stressful and overwhelming it can be to decide which projects to pursue. For every interest I had–traditional ecological knowledge, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, park management during climate change–Linda and Jenn (my absolutely wonderful supervisors, if you’re reading this: heyyy!) had at least one resource or contact for me to pursue. What do you do when you get everything you ask for!?

First, you shut down. Then you start to digest a bit of everything, a link here, an article there. You think seriously prioritize. You ask, what can I do well? And finally you decide on how to approach all of your interests without overworking yourself.

Social media was always going to a part of my role at MOJN. So, I decided to integrate my interests into my work and share the scientific and non-scientific stories I was passionate about on MOJN’s social pages. I also wanted professional development to be scheduled into my work day, so I joined a diversity and inclusion working group and signed up for online webinars and classes. Since field experience was a major priority for me as well, I was scheduled for hitches for each summer monitoring protocol. The description of my job then became: to create informative, inspiring, and engaging content that aligned with both MOJN’s interests and mine while developing my ecological knowledge and understanding of the National Park Service.

What have I been doing and how can you follow along?

As a Science Communications intern, the easiest way to keep up with what I’m doing is to follow the Mojave Desert Inventory and Monitoring Network on Facebook and Instagram, @npsmojn and @mojnnps, respectively. Since the Black Homesteaders post mid-June, I’ve created content that highlights climate change, queer history in the National Park Service, endemic species, and, of course, MOJN specific research. With exactly one month left in my internship, it’s my hope to share more of MOJN’s research, improve audience engagement with our content, share traditional ecological knowledge and management, and overall place a spotlight on the diverse work and community that is the National Park Service. With exactly one month left, there’s a lot of moments I have yet to share with you all, and I hope to do so through MOSAICS blog posts. So, stay tuned for my blog posts titled Science Communication Saves Lives; it’s a three part blog series that highlights the big moments from my internship so far.

Talk to you soon!

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