Pause for 10 seconds and think of the first scenario that comes to mind when you think of the word “access.” What do you access every day? A lifetime of access, positive or negative, led you to where you are now. It is a word I hear in passing but never thought about how much it intertwined in my life. Recently, I noticed it as the center of what has brought me to work and do for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Water Resource Branch in Anchorage, Alaska. Somebody pinch me.
I found comfort in choosing to pursue an environmental science career but felt directionless as a first-generation college student seeking to find her place. It seemed as if I was always one step behind my peers. Where do you begin with the endless opportunities the world has to offer? The MANO Project lined up with my identity as a Latina in STEM. A sigh of relief. An organization with the immigrant in mind. I do not think I would have been able to see myself working towards such a meaningful career without the bridge of access the Hispanic Access Foundation built.
I am creating a protocol to manage water quality data alongside an amazing team. Although a data management plan might sound like a formality within an agency, it is mainly for the accessibility of others. Standards and procedures in place help us increase scientific transparency by producing clear, organized, and accurate data to the public. Data is our most valuable resource, especially as a region that holds some of the largest wildlife refuges. The world is changing!
We live in a time where an abundance of information is at our fingertips. How do you believe this accessibility has impacted you? I ask again, what does “access” mean to you?
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP
Location: Alaska Regional Office