My Summer Internship: Research for the Forest Collaborative

Oct 11, 2012

This summer, I had a wonderful three months working at RESOLVE as a policy research intern and completed my first-ever independent research – exciting, rewarding, and unforgettable!

My paper is a case study on the amount of public participation training in accredited forestry degree programs in New Brunswick, Canada. The working group within the Sustainable Forest Community-University Research Alliance (a.k.a. “Forest Collaborative”) asked me to research and answer the following question: Are there enough courses provided in New Brunswick to engage forestry students in public participation and to prepare them with necessary skills to work in the forest planning industry? The answer to this question will help the working group propose solutions for enhancing the region’s forest planning.

When I was first assigned to a group of Canadian stakeholders discussing forest planning and public participation, I literally had no idea what they were talking about. It took me almost two weeks to get familiar with terms like “collaborative efforts” and “public engagement.” Cathy Lu Wall - Map!It took me another two weeks to absorb all the other information I needed, including the state of forestry education, forestry planning practices, and the geography of  Canada  (I did hang a huge map in my office and it’s still there). Meanwhile, I started designing the survey and began conducting phone interviews. I ended up spending more than a month talking to about 20 Canadian scholars, educators, foresters, and government officials over the phone – the first-hand notes I took in the one-on-one interviews really helped me develop the structure of my research! Thanks to their diverse perspectives, I was able to have a broader view of the issue.

Two months after I first stepped into the office, I had read and heard enough about what the issue was – enough to get me started writing.  The information I had collected, however, was just so overwhelming that I didn’t even know where to begin. My supervisor, Juliana Birkhoff, spent a lot of time helping me get on the right track. To provide a model for my paper, I looked up the work of others who have done similar analyses; some scholars from the Forest Collaborative team generously provided me with their previous working papers as references. The actual writing time was not as long as I thought it would be – it helps to have a concrete idea of what you would like to say! My lovely RESOLVE co-workers helped me review the draft paper, as did the group members of the Forest Collaborative.  The final 14-page research paper has been delivered to the working group to review. I hope this research project I did over the summer can be of help to the advancement of forest planning in Canada.

- Cathy Lu

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Comments Off

The Summer Intern Team; THANK YOU!

Sep 12, 2011

RESOLVE’s senior mediator, Martha Beanwho works remotely from her professional home in Seattle, WA had the opportunity to speak to RESOLVE’s four fabulous summer 2011 interns- Ana, Eric, Maheen and Maya- as they are getting close to the end of their time with RESOLVE and will be heading back to their undergraduate and graduate studies. Through this casual phone lunch with Martha they had the opportunity to ask her questions beyond the typical discussions around their projects. In her own words she describes her conversation and her experience with the interns at the EPA Community Involvement Training Conference in Washington, DC and remotely on a variety of projects throughout the summer.

clip_image002

I had the honor of talking with our interns Ana, Eric, Maheen and Maya at a virtual lunch on Friday August 12, 2011. They asked me questions about my perspectives, profession and work life. And I held forth for much of the hour – they were generous with their time. Here are key things I would like to pass; things I learned in our lunchtime discussions:

RESOLVE’s work environment is one where people clearly *like* and respect each other. RESOLVE’s interns saw up close and personal how important this is, and will seek to work in places that exhibit similar camaraderie. RESOLVE clearly values its interns.

Each of RESOLVE’s interns had the opportunity to work on and learn about a variety of programs, people and issues. It has been interesting for them to watch real collaboration happen through the work of RESOLVE facilitators, mediators and program staff.

RESOLVE interns valued working on challenging, meaningful projects.  They were generally not given busy or clerical work. They noted this isn’t true for every internship out there, and they appreciated that RESOLVE took the time and trusted them enough to have them work on important, impactful projects.

The role of technology is changing how we do collaborative work. Our interns see that they can add value, be creative, and be entrepreneurial by being on the front end of this change.

While collaborative processes are the nuts and bolts of RESOLVE’s work, our interns see that effective collaborative practice has applications across a wide variety of professions and issues.

Might there be a position or another internship in Seattle? Not at this time, I answered. Someday, perhaps – they should stay in touch to be sure!

These folks are great. I heard their praises being sung again at a meeting I attended at EPA Region 10 last week. The lead community outreach person for the Port of Seattle http://www.southparkbusiness.org/contributors/view/34attended the conference session in DC and was particularly complementary of Maya, Maheen, Eric and Ana. I hope and trust that RESOLVE’s interns will take advantage of the good will and networks they have generated while with RESOLVE to find their future academic and professional ‘homes’.

With gratitude to RESOLVE for the experience of working with these fine folk,

- Martha Bean

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Internship Opportunity

Mar 14, 2011

RESOLVE is seeking an intern for the Summer 2011 semester. This is a paid internship lasting through August 2011. We are looking for a Masters or Ph.D. student who has completed at least one year of coursework focused on collaboration or public policy, and who has some collaboration experience.

Interested? Please submit your application.

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged | Comments Off