A Time Of Reflection

By a happy coincidence, the writing of this blog coincided with the start of a new year and the last semester of our graduate program (almost there!!), setting the stage for some reflection on how the past year and a half has prepared me to embark on my professional journey.

 

One Year Back…

This time last year, my cohort and I were nose deep in projects, presentations, and peer-reviewed literature, protesting for the sake of our sanities. However, once my internship started later that year I was immensely grateful for the rigorous training, both in terms of academics and being able to turn theory into practice. There were three aspects of CEPs 1st year training that I found particularly useful during my time at Jadora: our environmental policy and law training, the J-term in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the presentation training workshops with Sara Nowlin.

 

The Teachers:

As an international student (with an undergrad in STEM to boot) I was completely new to American political discourse, and Monique Segarra’s policy classes (Environmental Politics and Policy I and II) ingrained in me the political history and context I needed to engage effectively with my field. The storytelling style of reporting that I practiced during assignments for this course is the one that I have used most often in my professional career for writing white paper documents, feasibility reports and literature reviews.

 

The Trip:

An afternoon of regrouping with Prof. Segarra in Oaxaca, Mexico

Another experience I that found invaluable to my academic training was our cohort’s January term trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Not only was it my first experience collaborating internationally over environmental concerns, it was also an insightful introduction to how risk assessment and policy formation happen in politically complex regions. This insight was very helpful when I later went on to work on writing policy papers focusing on the Democratic Republic of Congo, an intricate country recovering from civil war. The concession protected by Jadora is communal land owned by the indigenous Congolese tribes that live on them. Though lessons learned from Oaxaca don’t directly apply in the DRC due to differing cultures, they do sometimes allow for a better understanding of the communities’ concerns with regards to food security, land use, and frequent epidemics.

 

The Talk:

Lastly, Sara Nowlin’s workshop on stage presence conducted towards the end of our second semester (right before we went off to intern!) was one of the best skill building exercises that I participated in last year. I worked through the same slide deck with her several times, each time meeting with her to go over the presentation itself and my delivery. After working with her I have really started to think about my stage presence, and this has helped me feel a lot more prepared, and therefore confident about presenting. I hope to use her advice in many future presentations, small and (*fingers crossed*) big.  

 

Coming Back to this Year…

I was fortunate enough to get a healthy dose of academic and professional life last year, with the former occupying the first half and the latter occupying the second, and I suspect there won’t be many more years in my life where that happens. Being able to immediately apply freshly learnt theories and skills helped cement these concepts permanently in my mind and also gave me an opportunity to test the depth of my understanding in the fields I had been studying. I am very thankful to my CEP teachers and my co-workers at Jadora for irreplaceable learning opportunity. It has been a good year!

 

Signing Off –

Uroosa

 

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