Having grown up in the Washington D.C. area I have grown accustomed to meeting and being inspired by all the amazing movers and shakers surrounding me. I would have never thought that I would one day get the chance to work alongside them. Thanks to both the MANO Project and USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) I get the chance to put my foot in the door and pick the brain of people continuously working to improve both the local community and communities all over the United States and territories.
On my first day I was greeted by two other fellows whom I will be working alongside this upcoming year. We quickly made introductions and were then whisked away into the city to meet none other than the Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System for USFWS. Meeting Cynthia Martinez and grabbing lunch with her was both an intimidating and eye-opening start to my first day. Being able to listen to her journey with USFWS and receiving invaluable advice for our own journeys within the department helped set the tone for the beginning of our fellowship.
Over the course of the next few weeks I was able to meet even more people from both USFWS HQ as well as people from all over the country. I have attended meetings with the entirety of my department, listening in and participating in both monthly all-hands meetings and informational lectures from visitors both nationally and internationally. I have met with my mentor who has helped me plan out my roadmap for my fellowship and helped in making introductions with other who might help in my development. Finally, I have met multiple other fellows and interns within the MANO Project and other organizations. Getting to know the people that are in, or started in, the same position I am has helped me think about what I want from my own fellowship and has created a sense of community within the office.
I can not wait to see what this next year brings in this city I call home!