Monday, August 22, 2011

Maggie's Final Report

By Maggie Haseman, Outreach Intern

Maggie with her boyfriend Reid before seafood dinner in Corpus Christi, Texas
My experience as the Society for Range Management’s first in-office intern was always exciting, interesting, diverse and awesome. I had many goals I hoped to achieve through this internship program. Some of these goals were more personal things I wanted to develop such as communication, my social network, time and project management, and organization. Other goals were direct projects I knew I wanted to help with during the summer like populating the SRM social media, working on streamlining the Annual Meeting planning process, and assisting Aleta Rudeen with outreach efforts.

When I was growing up I was always somewhat shy and soft spoken toward people I did not know and I would cringe at the thought of something as mundane as ordering a pizza if it meant I had to talk to someone on the other end of the phone. It has been a personal goal of mine to improve my communication skills when conversing with people even before applying for this internship. I knew I’d have many opportunities to work on communicating because as the Outreach Intern there is plenty of interfacing with membership and other people. I learned to present myself professionally towards all people I came into contact with during my work hours and noticed myself acting more professionally outside of work hours as well.

Something that really helped me to feel more comfortable communicating with people I don’t know was surprisingly when I was the most uncomfortable: my ranch visits. I was outside of my knowledge base spending all my time with people I just met. Before I left for my first ranch visit I was nervous. My boyfriend told me that the best way to learn is when you put yourself into an uncomfortable situation. Turns out he was right; I guess it’s bound to happen on occasion.

Along with learning better communication skills I hoped to build my social network including professionals in the range community. I know that this goal is a continual process that will last a lifetime, however through this internship I got the opportunity to meet the Board of Directors, communicate with section leadership and heads of SRM committees and converse through email, over the phone and in person with many members whose names and faces I now recognize. I am very excited to practice my communication skills with my new acquaintances at the Annual Meeting in Spokane, WA next year.

One of my goals was to develop time and project management skills in order to complete multiple objectives. This goal was probably the easiest to work on because it was sub-consciously accomplished. Throughout this internship I was sometimes forced to oversee my own time and manage an inbox of projects and email that flowed like Niagara Falls. I quickly built a barrel to help me float above the flow and learned how to compartmentalize these overwhelming circumstances and complete projects in a timely manner. Another goal was to increase my organizational skills in my workspace. Something I discovered about time management is that you can’t get anything done if your workspace is not organized.

I also hoped to improve my writing organization. I have always loved writing; I used to write short stories, and essays and research papers have always been a big help to keep my grades up. However, I sometimes have more thoughts running around my head than I can put into understandable sentences. This internship gave me the opportunity to publish my writing onto the SRM Outreach Blog for anyone to read that just so happens to stumble upon it. This forced me to learn how to think in writing in order to more efficiently get my thoughts onto the page.

I recently took a journalism class at Colorado State University on professional writing so I had the basics on how to write professional letters, emails etc. (I think that’s why Aleta hired me; she didn’t have to teach me much) yet, there is always more to learn on this subject, therefore it was another goal of mine to expand my professional writing abilities in all genres. I accomplished this right off the bat when Aleta asked me to draft a letter on the first day of my internship. Throughout I have written multiple blogs, dozens of letter and about a trillion emails. The tricky part was learning the style of SRM, and writing to a bunch of people with diverse backgrounds who share similar interests in a way that didn’t offend or mislead the audience.

I have not been a member long so my knowledge of the society was limited before starting this internship, I was therefore curious about the internal workings of SRM. This took a little time to work out, like doing a puzzle; every once and a while I would learn something new. At the beginning it was a mess, nothing connected and my perception was all mixed up, as the summer has gone on though, pieces of information have begun to form something like a picture. I don’t think I have the whole picture of a society that has been around for almost 65 years, after only three month, but I’m getting there.

Something that was very important to me to take home from this internship is that I have left my mark on SRM somewhere, somehow. I think that this was accomplished in a couple of ways. I spent a lot of time in the front yard this summer trying to keep all of the plants (or most of them) alive this summer. I hope that when I am gone people will continue to enjoy the beautiful yard. I also hope that when people look at the wonderfully organized archived journals in the back room they will think, “Maggie Haseman organized these for us. She spent a full day in the dust and piles of dead bugs and mouse poop pouring herself into these shelves and enjoying a bit of history.”

Overall this internship has been a really awesome experience in every way I can imagine. I didn’t know what to expect coming in and I was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming atmosphere and the respect I received from those I worked with. I felt like people cared about my opinions while I was working here. I believe I was truly lucky to have stumbled onto such a great group of people working together in a fabulous organization.

1 comment:

Aleta said...

A huge thank you to Maggie for all of her hard work this summer for SRM!