By Julian Close and Jennifer Garlesky, soon to be MES grads.
After two years of vigorous interdisciplinary learning, attending the salmon recovery conference in Vancouver, Washington highlighted our overall educational experience in the MES program.
History in the Making
Flash back to the fall of 2013 during the graduate Conceptualizing Our Regional Environment course, when we worked together studying the impacts of the Buckley Diversion Dam on the White River, Washington. Sharing a passion for rivers and both having southern roots we quickly became friends. We continued to take classes and write papers focusing on fish and river ecology throughout our time in the program. During Research Design and Quantitative Methods we had the opportunity to attend the Joint Aquatic Science Meeting in Portland, Oregon. Our main goal was to listen and learn as much as we could from the afternoon session on dam removal. When we got back from lunch the classroom was packed. Audience members poured into the hallway, so we decided to use the service entrance and enter the back of the room and sit on the floor up front. Our plan worked and we sat for more than two hours taking notes and listening to research on river and fisheries ecology.
Fast-forward to the present day
Jen-At the Salmon Recovery Conference Julian and I used our networking skills to develop leads on future career opportunities. We talked with several consulting firms, federal agencies about their projects and technology experts in the field of restoration and fish biology.
Julian-I attended the conference as a student intern assisting with several sessions. Other interns hailed from the University of Washington, Tacoma; Washington State University; and Loyola Marymount University. Highlights from the conference included opening statements from former U.S. Congressman Norm Dicks and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s new director Jim Unsworth. Furthermore, I ran into Evergreen alum and senior ecologist for King County, Mason Bowles, along with Evergreen MES alum and habitat biologist for the Yakima Nation, Scott Nicolai, at the Reconnecting Floodplains: Side Channels and More session. The research presented was enlightening and thoughtful. The conference has spring-boarded me into life after MES by providing the opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues and make new professional contacts.
Jen-I attended the conference on the second day. I used to attend conferences for my job prior to grad school and I never fully grasped some of the content. After completing this degree and completing my own research I was able to talk with experts in the field about my work. I followed up with some contacts and they requested to see my research. I feel proud of my experience and I know that it is only going to advance from here. The MES program has helped me in so many ways that cannot be summed up in just one blog post.
Jen-As we both get ready to graduate in a few days I know that we will continue to remain friends. We have both supported each other through our ups and downs over the course of the past two years. There is a common phrase around raising children: “it takes a village.” Well, it takes a village to complete grad school. We both recommend that current and future MES students invest in their classmates, and find those people that spark your fire and will support you.