20 August 2020

Mapping Out My Next Steps

Written by: Jennifer Urmston

Next week is the last week of my DFP internship and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I’ve come to feel like I’m part of a team here in the USFWS, and I am going to miss everyone that I have been tele-working with.

The silver-lining is that I now have these incredible people in my network, and I know I can reach out to them.

Over the past 10 weeks, I have pumped the brakes on my Master’s Thesis research to make time for this internship. As I transition back to working full-time on my thesis, I am so excited to bring the skills I have gained from this internship into my school work. I was fortunate to have a DFP project that very closely aligned with my thesis research and found quite a bit of overlap between the two projects. The skills I was most excited about learning were ArcGIS Online, Story Maps, and Quick Capture.

While I have worked extensively in ArcGIS Pro, my experience with ArcGIS Online was limited. One of my project objectives was to create an interactive web-map to show Wedge-tailed Shearwater breeding colonies on Oahu. With the help of my team, I learned how to work in ArcGIS Online, and I created a web-map with multiple conservation-related data layers. However, one of my favorite things I did this summer was create a Story Map. This is an application through ArcGIS online where you can create an attractive webpage and embed your web-map to tell an engaging story about the project. I was surprised at how easy it was to use, and how professional it looks.

Last, I learned to use Quick Capture, which is another app through ArcGIS Online that allows for easy spatial data collection for just about anything. For my Masters Thesis, I documented the location of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters that were killed as a result of attraction to artificial light. During the last two weeks of my internship, I used Quick Capture to develop an app that simplifies the process of collecting this data. I am excited about the synergy between my internship and my thesis work and look forward to seeing how this app can be used to continue data collection in the future.

I am so thankful for the support that I have received this summer throughout my internship. The coordinators from HAF have been great about checking in and being available if I needed anything. My supervisor from USFWS was extremely supportive, and always made me feel good about my work. My project team was essential in helping me figure out how to use ArcGIS Online and Microsoft Access. Everyone I spoke with from USFWS this summer has been incredibly encouraging and kind. Overall, my experience as a DFP intern far exceeded my expectations. I learned so much, I met so many amazing people, and I am leaving feeling motivated and hopeful about a future career with USFWS.  

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Honolulu Refuges and Monuments Office

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