picture of chairs on ground

Private

Public

Last month, 19 thoughtful DDCSP Alumni change-makers gathered at White Oak Conservation Center to develop the culture and community of the DDCSP Alumni Network. At the Alumni Leadership Cohort 2, alumni began planning catalyzing projects that will engage the network in dialogue and action. Here are some reflections from Camille, Citralina, and Andrea on their experiences of ALC 2.

 

picture of 3 alumni sitting in grass

"It is rare to be in and share space with a group of people who seem to be presenting their authentic selves, flaws and all. That is exactly what happened during ALC2." - Citralina

 

"[ALC2] was very unique in that there were a lot of different personalities. [D]espite external differences and beliefs we were all brought together by a similar passion, which is increasing diversity and inclusion in the environmental field, as well as beyond it. This simply solidified the power that is created when inclusivity is prioritized in any area. The experience also helped me better understand the efficacy of open communication and the greater need for it." - Andrea

 

"ALC2 helped me to remember some of the reasons why I am so passionate about conservation that had taken a back seat to the humdrum of every day rushing, working and learning." - Citralina

 

"The experience of ALC 2 made me feel more connected to the people in conservation fields and more impassioned to make a space for myself. I could finally visualize myself as an actual conservation professional. People identify in so many different ways-surprising ways-and it’s always exciting to experience new perspectives and I had so many available to me (it was like a buffet up in there!)" - Camille

 

"Having the experience of ALC2 also liberated me in a sense. I am more aware of an inner desire to present myself more wholly without hiding behind my shyness. Instead I’d like to offer others my whole, unadulterated truth, acknowledging that being vulnerable is a strength that can give others the courage to do the same." - Citralina

picture of chairs on ground

 

"During one afternoon at the retreat we had an activity where a participant was asked to create a power dynamic using a set of chairs. The student laid all of the chairs on the ground except for one, and to me it was obvious that the chairs on the ground were subordinate to the one that was left standing. I created this symbolic narrative and was so convinced by it that I didn’t see an alternative to it. Another student contrasted my own thoughts by suggesting that it was the chairs on the ground that had the power because they were united. This might seem like a silly activity or realization, but it really stuck with me because it made me realize that sometimes you can be blinded by your own ideas, and because of this, it is extremely important to be proactive about asking others for their perspective and suggestions." - Andrea

 

"I also really enjoyed conversations that were open and honest about race, gender, etc. in the workplace because that is a very rare thing to find nowadays; it was really helpful to hear how people in the same generation as me we’re handling the issues that I was experiencing now." - Camille

 

"It’s motivating and inspiring to meet other scholars and hear about the great opportunities they’re participating in and sharing those experiences with one another. So not only is ALC a fantastic opportunity to network with more Doris Duke Scholars, it also gives you the opportunity to sit down and reflect on your strengths and weakness as a leader." - Andrea

 

"I’d say if [alumni] were already established in their field or lucky enough to work in a diverse workplace, then they wouldn’t need [ALC]. But for the majority that aren’t as lucky and experience constant discrimination, stereotyping, etc., they would really benefit from meeting other people who were in the same boat. I also don’t think people who are past learning about ideas such as power dynamics or imposter syndrome and are now more action-oriented would have the patience for something like this; this is more of a retreat focused on personal growth and creating a community." - Camille

 

"I would tell any alumni considering [ALC] to have an open mind! And if they’re not getting what they are seeking, they should express that and make an effort to steer the conversation/activity towards a topic that they would like to discuss. Do not be a silent observer! Participating is the best way to reap all the benefits." - Camille

 

Over the next 4 months alumni will be meeting in pods and leadership teams to advance projects for the alumni network. Below are the different projects being worked on:

 

 

Leadership Committee

Purpose

Contact

Instagram

sharing alumni stories and highlights via DDCSP alumni network Instagram account

Kim

Hanna

Food Zine

Showcase the diversity of the DDCSP community by sharing our stories and connections to food.

Kelly

Grad school peer review

Help DDCSP alumni with essays for graduate/scholarship/ fellowship/career opportunities

Karalyn

Mentorship DDCSP alumni - DDCSP scholars

Facilitate connections between alum and current scholars

 

Guide to current legislation / advocacy campaigns to support

Relay and provide insight into important upcoming legislation/regulations

Joia

Book Reference Club

To create more awareness of conservation topics and introduce members to articles and books of interest.