12 July 2023

My Journey as a Data Resource Assistant

Written by: Makeda Nurradin

Being part of the MANO project thus far has been a wonderful learning experience. Through the MANO project, I am a data management resource assistant (RA) in the US Forest Service regional office in Vallejo, California.

I am a Ph.D. candidate at Auburn University studying climate smart agriculture and agricultural literacy. My bachelor’s and masters are in plant and soil science specializing in environmental science. Agricultural literacy is possessing knowledge and understanding of food systems to analyze and communicate general information about agriculture. I also volunteer with food pantries and aim to increase knowledge about our food systems. During these times, I have conversations and educate food pantry clients about their food. Some of the conversations are about the meaning of organic and local foods, food deserts, and labeling nomenclature.

The orientation was held in Copper Mountain, Colorado. In orientation, I had the opportunity to learn more about the forest service including tribal relations, history of the forest service, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Other topics in orientation included conflict management, financial literacy, and federal resumes just to name a few. I also appreciated being able to network with other RA’s, RAs in my region during the breakout session, and others working through Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF). In the HAF breakout, we learned about various types of working styles. In a group, we attempted to build the tallest marshmallow structure which was fun and a good team building activity.

In my assistantship I’ve been doing training on different forest service applications, one being Natural Resources Management (NRM) which holds a plethora of documents and archives. NRM stores data related to many recreation sites such the number of camp grounds, ski areas, etc. which is important to store and highlight for the people to know which sites to visit and the uses of Forest Service sites. I am working on a project to survey sites and gather accessibility information for inclusive recreation.   I have also networked with people from different roles in the Forest Service. This is my first experience working with a government agency and am elated for the future. Being part of HAF has opened so many doors for me with the Forest Service-during orientation the demographics of the forest service was shown and the efforts to increase diversity-which aligns with the mission of HAF.


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