For years I envisioned a career for myself influencing policy. While I was unsure as to what this career might look like or even how to pursue such a path, I knew I was passionate about environmental sustainability, the social sciences, and matters important to Indigenous communities. It wasn’t until I was selected as a CSU COAST summer intern with the California Ocean Science Trust (OST), a small non-profit that delivers scientific guidance to policy makers and legislatures, that I realized such a career existed where I could fulfill my passions.
The projects I’ve undertaken at OST have encouraged leadership, independence, creativity and have provided me the opportunity to work collaboratively alongside a team of incredible scientists, whose hearts and minds are truly in the right place. I’ve had the pleasure of working on a variety of projects with varying involvement related to delivering science to California legislators and informing policy decisions. I am most proud of my main initiative at OST, writing the Land Acknowledgement statement for the organization. The process of facilitating conversations and writing a statement that encapsulates authentic sentiments of team members, organizational values, and genuine intent to shift science and policy toward a more equitable landscape is one of my proudest accomplishments as a student and a steward of social and environmental justice. Through this effort, I collaborated with OST staff members to explore opportunities to incorporate Indigenous expertise into OST’s work, including how such expertise could engage on the OPC Science Advisory Team.
Other projects I was involved in include the Legislative Science Services where I created member profiles, updated staff on bill changes, and monitored Legislative staff changes. Science Advisory Team recruitment entailed working with staff on outreach strategies and brainstorming ways to expand expertise included on science panels. DEI meetings provided the venue to learn and brainstorm about equity and inclusivity in science. I was excited to take part in SeaGrant’s National DDT workshop as a notetaker. The conference took place over two days where scientists, experts and stakeholders were able to share research needs and necessary considerations related to the recently discovered offshore dumpsites of DDT off the coast of Southern California.
My internship experience with OST has been one of the most influential experiences of my educational journey. Through my time here, I’ve come into a new sense of clarity around my pursuits in career and education. I’m committed to deepening my knowledge of the complexities that exist between the social and policy realms and desire to continue exploring the work of boundary spanning organizations. I am extremely proud of the work I have done over the course of my internship and am incredibly grateful for the mentors and team members who have generously shared their expertises with me.