30 July 2021

DFP Reflections – Looking Back on a Summer Well Spent

Written by: Suzanne Banks

As I write this, I’m overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. Today marks the last day of my DFP fellowship with USFWS.

I’m sad because I’ll miss so many people I’ve met and gotten to know this summer. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside so many dedicated and passionate Service employees and grown accustomed to the regular conversations with my kind-hearted and inspiring supervisor. 

I’m proud because I’ve worked really hard this summer - and there is a lot to show for it. While compiling a list of my fellowship deliverables, I was reminded of everything I’ve learned and the vast scope of my accomplishments.

I'm humbled because working in Headquarters, I’ve had several unique opportunities that I’ll never forget. I met high-level agency leaders, including the acting USFWS director and deputy directors. I shadowed the assistant director of External Affairs (EA). I even got to sit in on preparations for the deputy director’s congressional testimony – a highlight of my summer.  

I’m thankful for the many people who have supported me throughout this process. This includes USFWS’ DFP leads at NCTC, my DFP career advisor, my supervisor, the multitude of employees who indulged my questions in informational interviews, HAF staff (especially Nina!), and way too many others to list. 

I’m hopeful because I can see a future home for me at USFWS, several in fact. I believe I’ve made some positive lasting impressions and I hope to build upon them in the months and years ahead. 

I never anticipated learning so much and having so many valuable experiences to connect with others across programs and pay grades, and build upon my skills this summer. I won’t pretend to know what the future has in store for me. Only time will tell. I can say that the past 11 weeks have helped me grow as a person and reinvigorated my passion not only for wildlife conservation, but also for writing, congressional affairs, and human rights.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, Washington Office

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