Friday, February 28, 2020

Professional development adventures with Kathryn Frens

Hi everybody! Since my last post was about a regular day in the office, this one is about the cool stuff outside the office that you get to do because you’re a Knauss Fellow. Professional development (PD) encompasses a lot of things, from conferences to tours of Congress to communications workshops. All fellows get some money to spend on PD, and host offices give you time for it. So how did I spend my PD money?

I went to Michigan and networked. I did eight informational interviews and a tour of GLERL (the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory) in three days. This was not glamorous but was extremely informative and I’m really glad I did it now that I’m applying for jobs. 

I went to West Virginia and took a class about planning for climate change. This training course was focused on planning processes in general and also on scenario planning, which has been a big part of my fellowship research. It was held at the National Conservation Training Center, which is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s training center/summer camp in the woods.

I went to the Gulf of Mexico and fished for sharks. This was probably the coolest thing I did during my fellowship, and it was also practical in that it gave me some hands-on fishery experience (I didn’t have any before.) I learned how a longline works and how to pull otoliths, among other new skills. Also, SHARKS!!!! 

Sharks! Photo: Kathryn Frens
I went to Hawaii for a really great conference. The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) had its annual conference in Honolulu this fall. SACNAS is a conference about diversity/inclusion in STEM. It was energizing and inspiring and I made some good connections as well. 

Leis and lanyards at SACNAS in Hawaii. Photo: Kathryn Frens
Other PD-related activities happened closer to home. I took notes for a meeting of the leadership of NOAA Research, which was like getting to be a fly on the wall in The Room Where It Happens. I attended a training about salary negotiation, toured the White House and Congress, went to some briefings on the Hill, and was part of the Knauss Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. 

The Knauss cohort. Photo: Kathryn Frens
This is my last post for this blog, and I think you’ll hear from the new Fellows soon. I’ll be defending my dissertation in a few months and then, I hope, will be able to find a “real” job. If you are reading this post because you’re thinking about applying for the Knauss, you should apply. I feel like the fellowship set me up for success both in the fellowship year itself and for afterwards.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.