This week we’re wrapping up the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. Today, Heidi Olds reflects on what taking part in the inaugural cohort has meant to her. You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here.
Posted by Heidi Olds, Technical Activities Administrator for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).
Wow! This year has been a whirlwind of new adventures. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the 2017 AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program as part of the inaugural class! We explored new depths of community management and I am walking into 2018 feeling empowered and more confident than ever.
But it wasn’t always that way…
Let me tell you a bit about my j-o-b! My position with the Society of Petroleum Engineers is centered around member engagement. Engagement is this year’s hot word. What does it mean to me? Engagement looks like our members networking, dialoguing, resource sharing, and connecting all the time! The upstream oil and gas industry has showered SPE with the brightest stars and it’s been my greatest privilege to support these folks. But it can feel like a big task for one person. After all, I am only human. Going into the fellowship year would mean a lot of things to me.
Here’s what was going through my mind before heading to Washington D.C. to meet the cohort:
This is where I get to tell you about how this fellowship impacted my career, my confidence and my life! 11 months ago I took a leap of faith and joined an amazing cohort with fellow community managers experiencing the same struggles as me. As me! We, as an amazing unit of community leaders, did something spectacular – we created an impenetrable force to be reckoned with. We rallied support for each other. We offered guidance when a fallen comrade needed it the most. We listened. We empathized. We encouraged. We finally found a safe place to be heard.
Here’s what was going through my mind as I headed to Washington D.C. to meet the cohort for the last time:
To come full circle, I’m walking away from this fellowship with the support of a life-long cohort. To my supportive cohort: I’m so grateful for the chance to have worked with such an amazing group of individuals. I have been challenged to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. I am better equipped now with the tools needed to do big things with my society. I’m looking forward to taking this knowledge and sharing it with my team– the tools and resources but more importantly, the experience.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, #CEFP2017!