When I first stepped off the plane, I had this feeling that this trip was going to be one I’d always remember. The first night we stayed at the apartment we tried our best to adjust to east coast time. However, our best efforts failed and we stayed up late catching up on all we’ve missed these past three months. Makiah made us dinner (as usual) and we started reminiscing on all our New Mexico memories.
The next morning we woke up bright and early, surprisingly energetic, and headed to the conference. When we arrived we received our nametags, got breakfast, and started talking to other people at the conference. The amount of people at the conference was amazing especially the range of diversity differing in age and race. The first speaker was so talented at engaging the audience. Her talk was about how in order to engage the public we must consider incorporating interdisciplinary components of conservation and make “spider-web” connections. I felt like this talk was most applicable to me because my interest in conservation as an electrical engineering and computer science major is unfamiliar and I don’t have a direct connection to conservation.
After the first day of the conference, Makiah, Fernando, Ryan and I all went to explore the city. We walked around Harlem and went to central park. We walked around until it got dark and decided to call it a night because we had an early morning the next day. The second day was a lot of graduate students presenting their research and networking. There were themed lunches and I chose interdisplinary studies. During this lunch I talked to one of professors and she was from Yale and recently won one of the biggest awards Yale has to offer. When we were going around the table I introduced myself and my interest in conservation, she said she was very impressed by my ability to do such heavy science and also be interested in social issues surrounding conservation. As I talked to her about my future she recommended the Helen Fellowship to me, and this fellowship is kind of everything I want to do for my future. She gave me her email and recommended that when my senior year arrives she could put me in contact and perhaps get me in touch with some of the people who run this fellowship. It was reassuring that there are some opportunities for me in this field and I felt like this conference really helped me gain motivation for my future. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to go to New York and hopefully I’ll be back soon.
-Savannah Longoria, 2016 Cohort