02 July 2024

A diversity of experiences within the RA program

Written by: Iana Grullon Penkova

In my last blog I talked a little bit about how I got to my current position with the RA program and how the path has been anything but straightforward in this career development process. And while that may seem challenging it can also be very interesting and diverse in terms of the experiences and opportunities I have had.  

This time I would like to share with you how these 5 months of the Resource Assistants program have been so far. Each month has come with an opportunity for learning, growth, and exploration that has either presented on its own, or that I have pursuit with the support of my mentors. 

One of my goals for this internship was to learn about the work the other units within the International Institute of Tropical Forestry are doing, I had been working with IITF for close to 6 years and did not know what other colleagues were doing. So, in the process of learning so I have engaged in the following list of activities:  

  1. Helped coordinate and host a visit to the Institute from the University of North Carolina Catalyst program focused on mentoring school students to pursuit STEM careers. 
  2. Participated in information table part of the International Days of Forests, activity planned by Fundacion Amigos del Yunque in March. 
  3. And then a second similar activity for Earth Day in April.  
  4. Participated of a nurseries tour with the State, Private and Tribal Forestry unit, and was able to learn about the different techniques used for plant germination in the tropics. 
  5. Additionally, I served as a panelist in the panel titled “Bridges to Better Collaboration” part of the Luquillo Long-term Ecological Research Program Annual meeting in June. 
  6. And lastly, did some electrofishing with our colleagues from El Yunque National Forest.  
  7. Among others. 

Each one of these experiences has allowed me to meet new colleagues and learn about the work they do, get new information on methods and techniques used for research, collaboration, and any other type of work done in the natural sciences discipline. And lastly, it has expanded the scope of my internship. My current position is divided between administrative and research tasks, with a strong emphasis on administration; however, IITF and El Yunque National Forest has a lot of opportunities for learning beyond your daily tasks that it will be hard to fit them all in your agenda. 

My experience so far has been one tailored to learning. Without neglecting the responsibility of the positions tasks I have been able to explore many other roles and meet people in different positions that has opened up a world of opportunities in the federal government; and I am grateful for that. 


About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Contact Us