Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jon Bowen - Charles Darwin Foundation

Name: Jon Bowen

Major & Minor: Geography
UWEC Standing and Expected Graduation Date: Graduated December 2012
Interests and Hobbies: Guiding Whitewater, whitewater kayaking, climbing, making maps, scuba, hiking, traveling, mt biking, and anything fun that keeps me moving

Internship Employer: Charles Darwin Foundation
Length of Employment: 3 months in the Summer of 2012
Basics : Was your internship paid or unpaid? Did you register for credits? Why or Why not? Did you create the internship or was it advertised? Where did you hear about it? It was unpaid but I was there through a fellowship program that Biology arranged. I did not register for classes because I didn't know I could and I had plenty to graduate the following semester. It came to be through many of my other research experiences and passion for adventure travel. I heard about it through my advisor and she heard about it through the Biology department.

What were your specific job responsibilities?
I was in charge of geographic support for the Research Station. I had a variety of tasks while I was there. It started out slow, sifting and organizing the hundreds of geospatial data they have accumulated. After that was done we started to take on a cartographic edge by creating locator maps for the supporting scientists who work down there. We then started to take on a field aspect to the position by accompanying the marine biologists in order to find a GPS tracking device that fell off of a large fish they were tracking. We then took on a support role for all of the geographic knowledge they store in their database. This was interesting because we started to use many different open source GIS solutions to store, access, and manipulate their data. From there and with difficultly in the connection of these systems we trained the in house scientists how to access and manipulate geospatial information. This included a standardization on storing their information so others could accurately know what they were dealing with.

What do you think gave you to edge to get the internship?
I had done previous biodiversity research with Christina Hupy in Honduras which incorporated allowed for a great base layer of international work and the strategies to help in conservation. I also worked at the Environmental Adventure Center which created an adventurous edge to my academic pursuits.

Was it a valuable experience?
Every experience is valuable. It was a great opportunity to become exposed to an international level of conservation. Having worked in a country and even more so an island you start to appreciate the little things that you don't realize in a University setting. Living in an environment where people vacation opens your eyes while adjusting your idea of normal to a whole new level. It's also an experience that was so rich with new information and ideas that upon return it's hard for others to gain perspective if they weren't there with you. It helped me grow not only academically and as a geographer but allowed for me to take on new aspects of my own character and push myself to where I am now.
How did the logistics work for you? Did you have to move?
Logistics were handled by the Biology professor who accompanied us for a short period of time when we were there. I ended up moving to Puerto Ayora, a small town on the island of Santa Cruz for the summer months. It was one of those things where you can't pass it up and then things happen so quick your all of a sudden sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean saying to yourself "Wow, I'm here. This is real."
 What advice can you give to those who are looking for an internship?
First, college is an expensive way to help foster your passion. Passion helps you learn your character. If you have a half ass attitude towards what you like in life your going to get a job that shows that. If you want something, work towards steps that will get you there. Once you know yourself it's easy to start going in a certain direction because one thing leads to the next. Do something that pushes your passion and don't just do it, do it with heart and the stoke for the sole fact you like doing it regardless of the money. That fact right there will get you further than anything. Put your heart into something and it will reward you. Let your happiness to be doing something be part of your paycheck. However, nothing will start to happen unless you don't get up and do it. Break out of your comfort zone. I'm looking at a quote on my desk right now that says "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Yes it may suck that what your currently doing isn't fun or cool but as long as it relates to your goal it is teaching you things that you need to acquire before you find your zen job. So my advice to those looking for an internship is that you shouldn't be looking for an internship if your mom wants you to or your professor is posting them. You should be looking for something that drives you, rattles your bones, and allows you to go 100% at it because your passionate about it. Get up, set goals, and get up each day with the intent on pursing those goals. Life is great so learn, fail, adventure, seek, explore, and do what ya love because your only here once. 

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