This summer I divided my time between full-time, intensive Swahili language studies for my Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS), my role as NOAA Science Camp Coordinator for Washington Sea Grant, and preliminary data collection for my thesis.
Although my thesis has a local focus (Washington), I’m ultimately hoping to apply my experience and the research skills I’m gaining in an international setting. My primary area of interest is East Africa, so I was very excited to be awarded both the Summer and Academic Year FLAS for Swahili. I’ll continue my Swahili classes throughout my second year at SMEA and hopefully be positioned to work in the region after graduation.
NOAA Science Camp is a two-week long day camp for middle and high school students hosted by NOAA and facilitated by Washington Sea Grant. It’s an amazing opportunity for students to get hands-on experience with real NOAA scientists in their offices and meet other kids who are interested in STEM. For the last several months, I’ve been consulting with the education team at Washington Sea Grant to fine-tune their camp evaluation tools, and I was excited to help them move that initiative forward during my third year of involvement with the camp this summer.
For my thesis, I attended and observed two working group meetings for the Washington Maritime BLUE task force initiative within the Department of Commerce. In these meetings, task force members discussed issues and aspirations for the Maritime BLUE initiative ranging from decarbonizing ferries to barriers to workforce equity. I’m excited to be able to use these discussions as a jumping-off point for my qualitative thesis research on equity in the maritime industry.
It was certainly a busy summer, but I made sure to get in some down time as well! My husband and I did a weekend in Friday Harbor and a Granite Falls camping trip with friends, hiked Mt. Pilchuck, spent a week on the East Coast, and had a long weekend with family in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Somehow three summer months have flown by and I’m excited to be back for my second year in SMEA!