The most difficult position that you can be in, is one that you feel you don’t belong in. Whether it’s in academia, mainstream media, society, or the institutions that surround you. The identity that you hold and the position that you maintain will continuously be watched, ignored, and judged. There’s no doubt as a first-generation American, first-generation college student, and a Pasifika woman from a low-income household, that the barriers in society continue to grow. A continuous cycle of proving oneself to others, a continuous battle with yourself and the world. And even the strongest fighters continue to battle these barriers.

But when given the chance, what would you do?

The Frank Karel Fellowship and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) have provided that chance for me. When I first dove into the communications world, I truly did not know what I was getting myself into. But with guidance from the Fellowship, I was equipped with the necessary knowledge to jump in and start this journey.

As someone who is continuously learning to truly embrace what’s important to me. NWF has opened the door to endless opportunities of working on projects with subject matter that is close to my heart. I am encouraged to explore the questions and issues that come into mind. I am empowered to craft my experience and to gain what I find the most meaningful. In my last couple of weeks with NWF, I have found every encounter and information to be intriguing and helpful.

Climate change at the forefront impacts all avenues and walks of life. As a Pasifika woman, climate change has always been a matter that has truly affected my community and is an issue that affects everyone and stems into many issues whether it be gentrification or racial inequity. NWF has been an avenue to research and discuss the impacts of sea level rise on island nations and in coastal areas. Being assigned tasks like writing blog posts has allowed me to choose what direction to discuss sea level rise like the influence of tourism within islands that affect the response to climate change and response to disaster recovery to being given the opportunity to write a Letter to the Editor through my own lens.

I have been given the chance to shine light on island nations who will take the front of the damage that climate change has to offer. Through this, I further understand not only my community but various communities that will be impacted by climate change. I also learn the impacts on habitats and wildlife. But most importantly, I am learning to be a better advocate and how to shine light on the issuesand the voices of those who are impacted.

NWF is an organization that advocates for all, working not only on the conservation of wildlife and habitats but how climate change affects indigenous groups, urban areas, low-income areas, and many others groups. They explore the interconnection between people and the environment that we live in. I truly am excited to be interning there and cannot wait to see what else is in store for this summer.

Because if given the chance, wouldn’t you take it?