Wow, I can’t believe the Fellowship has already come to an end. These past eight weeks have been so impactful. From the virtual bootcamp, to working on communications projects at the National Wildlife Federation, each step has molded me into becoming a better communicator and advocate.

I must admit this year has been tough and wildly unpredictable. We are still quarantined due to the pandemic; civil protests are taking place across the country; unemployment is high; and an economic recession is on the way. This is not the world that I envisioned graduating into.

Amidst the chaos, my experience this summer as a Fellow was a silver lining. There has been no better time than now for public interest communicators to advocate for social change. It was motivating to be surrounded by the other like-minded Fellows who are just as passionate as I am about various social issues. My cohort and the people I have met this summer at NWF were friendly reminder that there is hope for a better future.

One thing that I have taken from my experience is acknowledging that strategic communications plays a big role in advocacy. It is important to establish a clear goal and follow through with targeted tactics to amplify your mission. At NWF, tactics such as blog posts, op-eds, letter to the editors, social media and press releases are used to communicate with key audience and achieve legislative goals. These were a few things that I had the opportunity to work on this summer.

When you effectively communicate with your target audience and give them the resources to take action, they will take action. It could be by signing a petition or urging their Representatives to vote for legislation. Smart communications tactics can drive real change.

I witnessed first-hand how impactful advocacy is when the House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act with bipartisan support this summer. For wildlife, passing this bill is a positive step forward. It also shows what we can accomplish when we use strategic communications and work together towards a common goal.

The skills I have gained and relationships I have made during my time as a Fellow have built the foundation for me to pursue a career in advocacy. Although the Fellowship is over, this is just the beginning for me.