VISTA Spotlight – August Delforge

August_IAmVISTA.JPGName: August Delforge

Host Site: California State University, Monterey Bay Science and Environmental Policy

Alma Mater: California State University, Monterey Bay

Major: Environmental Science, Technology, & Policy

Background: I graduated from California State University Monterey Bay with a degree in Environmental Science, Technology & Policy (ESTP), and an emphasis in watershed systems, in May of 2014. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I enveloped myself as much as possible in seeking training outside of the classroom to facilitate my career trajectory. In the summer of 2012 I secured my first internship through the Council of Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST) working alongside biologists and field technicians monitoring Salmonid habitat, abundance, and distribution for the California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG) now known as Fish & Wildlife (CDFW).

After my first internship with the DFG, I worked in the watershed geology lab at CSUMB under Dr. Doug Smith as a lab and field research assistant for the Hollister Hills SVRA erosion project, Santa Lucia flow monitoring project, and San Clemente Dam removal sediment transport monitoring project (View publishing’s at: http://ccows.csumb.edu/pubs/). My experiences from these versatile assignments equipped me with a strong set of technical and scientific skills including: maintaining, repairing, and operating various surveying instruments, as well as researching, establishing, and conducting scientific protocols. Moreover, participating in August Professional Self 2.jpgstudies allowed me to not only collect data but run post-analysis spatial and statistical test using programs such as R statistical software, Microsoft Excel, and ArcGIS, linking the theories and programs I had learned in various classes and applying them to real-world studies with data I had actually collected.

Ah-ha moment: The biggest “ah-ha” moments, for me, come when a student reaches out to me for advising. I see many students throughout the year who only have a general idea of what they want to do… or so they say. I have learned, however, that most students can work out what they want to do by themselves as long as I let them lead the conversation and give them the right tools to start out with. I have spent over an hour just talking to a student about how they like to fly fish just to end on a note where we browse the Department of Fish and Wildlife website and find an internship where they could spend all day in a river.

August Professional Self 1.jpgLessons Learned: When I first came into my position I wanted to make a distinction between August the student and August the professional. I wanted to use professional language like: synergy, and collaborative efforts. I have since learned that although collaborative efforts are important (synergy I’m not-so-sure about), being the genuine version of yourself is much more important. Though it might not always be the most “professional,” being true to yourself resonates with others and helps create stronger relationships.

Future Goals: This position has given me wonderful insight into the importance of logistical concepts such as leveraging resources, creating common dialogue to solve common problems, and holding accountability for oneself. I do plan on going back into my original field of environmental science with a hopeful emphasis on riverine restoration, and I feel that I will a more prepared, versatile, and adept scientist with the knowledge and skills acquired through my current position.

 

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