I cannot believe how fast eight weeks go by! I remember arriving at Dulles Airport and in a blink of an eye, I was at back at the same airport heading home. This Fellowship has only brought me new opportunities, new chances, and new experiences to me. As my time at the National Wildlife Federation and the Karel Fellowship have come to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the goals that I wanted to gain from this experience. There were two goals in mind, I wanted to learn to be a better advocate and explore the realm of public interest communications. 

This summer has taught me how interconnected communications is with advocacy. At the National Wildlife Federation, I was able to explore the issue of sea level rise and particularly how it affects island nations. I was not only given the chance to uplift the voices of my community but learned about similar experiences across different island nations that weren’t in the South Pacific. 

It showed me the importance of understanding how one issue can affect many communities similarly but also very differently. I learned the importance of lifting the voices of communities and showing up in the way that these communities want you to. I learned how translating information can assist with bringing awareness and educating different audiences. Most importantly, I learned how communications can play a vital role in bringing attention to and calling to action around issues. 

Below I wanted to point out key takeaways I had about communications: 

  1. Exposure to communications is vital. From someone who comes from a non-communications background, the Karel Fellowship provided me the opportunity to explore endless avenues within the communications world. There was not one person I met this summer within the communications realm who followed the same path to get to the position they were in. Each person had a unique touch to their story and how they arrived at their respective careers. And that’s how communications appeared to me, everyone has a story to tell or a message to spell out. Rather it is how we tell our stories, how we show our message, and how we incorporate our unique touch that can help accomplish our goals. 
  2. Communications is universal! The practical skills that I have learned, from learning how to put together a press release to be more concise within blog posts, are skills that can be used in any setting. In a different setting, I might not be writing a press release but I could be writing a message with a particular audience in mind. This would push me to understand if my audience would be willing to read my whole message. These are skills that can be utilized in any setting and can be extremely effective in trying to bring awareness to certain topics.
  3. And lastly, more diverse voices can change the narratives that are dominated by one lens. The communications field isn’t popularly recognized and often doesn’t depict the different backgrounds that exist within the world. Especially when it comes to framing certain events that are impacting communities, these diverse voices and people from different communities can assist with changing the narrative and uplifting the voices of various communities.