The first week in Seattle has been very exciting! Although it's only been a week, I have already fallen in love with this place!

Let's talk about work first. I am working at Washington Environmental Council (WEC), specifically, with the People for Puget Sound (P4PS) team. We are going to plan and develop a series of training sessions for the community members living in the affinity of 5 different aquatic reserves in the Puget Sound area. 

First day of work was a lot of fun! I arrived a little bit earlier than expected, and Rebecca, one of the Puget Sound team members, gave me a warm welcome by showing me around the office and introducing me to everybody. Everyone was so nice and friendly that my slight nervousness had completely disappeared by the time I met my supervisor, Maddie. After a short introduction, I was invited to their weekly meeting, where everybody shared the progress of their projects. Something intriguing drew my attention while Shannon, the  Voter Education Program Manager, was presenting some statistics about the composition of members affiliated with a community of environmental groups in Washington. She pointed out that Asian and Hispanic representation in the member base is unproportionally low as compared to that in the general population in the state. This led me to think about whether environmental awareness is ever related to races. If it is, why? While I was thinking about this, Shannon went on talking about how agencies now can calculate the probability of people voting in a particular year based on their voting histories and other information. With that, organizations like WEC are able to reach out to potential voters more efficiently and make a bigger impact. As a statistics major, I felt super excited about what she said, because I had never really seen that my major can be linked to the non-profit field in this way before. And it opens up my mind to some really exciting ideas about applying my knowledge to areas that seem not conventionally related to statistics.

In the afternoon, Maddie and I talked more about my work plan over the summer. We connected really well, probably because we are about the same age and are both very passionate about environmental conservation. Later, I met Rein, my other supervisor, who went to an ice cream factory and a brewery in the morning. The special thing about these two places is that they are all built based on the idea of "low impact development (LID)". For example, the ice cream factory was built on pervious concrete which allow water to seep through and effectively prevent surface run-offs that bring harmful dirt and trash into the Puget Sound. And of course, Rein brought ice creams back to the office and they literally sweetened my day by a lot. :)

The rest of the week went on pretty smoothly. I learnt so much about the Puget Sound and the aquatic reserves by reading the management plans and digging into some very informative websites. My understanding about how an environmental organization operates and cooperates with other groups to make a difference has also deepened from observing the people around me making phone calls and discussing with their colleagues. The whole experience has been very different from what I have had in the past, especially in terms of coming out of the school environment and stepping into the professional world. And so far, I have really enjoyed it!

We are going to have a training session for all the summer interns in WEC next week. Super excited about meeting more new people!

Now, the non-work stuff...

Seattle is amazing in a lot of ways, but I think the best thing about it is that it reminds me of my hometown in China --- Qingdao. Both of them are right besides the water, both have cool summers, and both have numerous people on the street... I used to mourn about not being able to go back home this summer; but now, I feel like back home already. :)

Duke has a group of super awesome alums in Seattle! It was really nice to meet some of themon Thursday . They introduced to us a lot of fun stuff that we are definitely going to try out in the next couple of weeks. :P

I love Chinatown, not only because of the great food, but also because of the rich history it carries. It is located very close to my office and I can just walk there after work. As expected, there is a big Asian market where I got literally everything I need (or don't need)!

The farmer's market is also a fun place to go. But things there are quite expensive...... Nowadays, it takes money to be organic.

We are going to volunteer as a group for Northwest Harvest tomorrow morning. AndSunday......The Pride Parade!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Qi Dong (Tracy)
Duke Student '15

07/03/2013 4:19pm

Tracy, I love how excited you are about your placement. Your positive attitude and friendliness are the first things I noticed about you, and I'm sure everyone at your work has noticed and appreciated how special that is. I am so glad that you've loved Seattle thus far, too! Thanks for such a detailed entry :)


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