On this episode, the host, Rafaella Lobo, talks to four other students to understand how the Covid-19 global pandemic has affected their lives and research, and how they have learned to cope with these new challenges.
Rafaella Lobo, 3rd year PhD student at Dr. Lisa Campbell’s lab
Rafa is originally from Brazil, where she got a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from PUC-GO. She came to the US in 2014, to get her Master’s in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. In 2016 she was hired by the Duke Marine Lab to do pilot whale photo ID at Dr. Andrew Read’s lab, when her podcast addiction started. She began her PhD in 2018 under Dr. Campbell’s advising, and they have been talking about launching a podcast ever since. She has volunteered, interned and worked with marine/environmental institutions, such as the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, and the World Wildlife Fund. She’s been the Alexandra Cousteau Environment and Global Climate Change Fellow, and the Duke Global Policy Fellow. Her PhD research focuses on international governance for biodiversity conservation, particularly at the intersection of North-South issues.
Julia Bingham, 4th year PhD student at Dr. Grant Murray’s lab
Julia has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and one in International Studies from Oregon State University. She has been an intertidal ecology research assistant at HatfieldMarine Science Center and the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology, developed environmental education plans for the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, helped develop social-economic indicators of coastal resilience in northern Cuba and has given numerous talks and lectures on social values and political narratives of fishing, aquaculture, and coastal restoration. She is a James B. Duke fellow and currently works on the role of social values, knowledge, and equity in coastal management
Gabrielle Carmine, 2nd year PhD student in the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab (Dr. Patrick Halpin)
Gabby received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Biology from New York University in 2018. She grew up in New York City and worked at the River Project and Sarah Lawrence CURB studying and teaching Hudson River marine ecology to grades K-12. She previously worked at the Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab under Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson before attending graduate school. She now studies corporate actors in high seas fisheries using Global Fishing Watch data.
Instagram & Twitter: @GabbyCarmine
Crisol Méndez-Medina, Post-Doc at the Coasts and Commons Co-Lab (Dr. Xavier Basurto)
Crisol’sbackground is in Sociology with a minor in Latin-American studies. She holds a Doctorate in Ecology and Sustainable Development from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Mexico). She is conservation scientist and institutional scholar who works at the interfaceof ecology, sociology, resource management, and policy to solve real-world natural resource management problem. She is a Fullbright Scholar (2017-2018) and MSC Fellow (2016). Currently she coordinates a participatory action research project in Mexico, working collaboratively with different stakeholders, NGOs, fishers, and scientists: The National Plan to Strengthen the Governance of Fishing Organizations.
Stephanie Valdez, 3rd year PhD student at Dr. Brian Silliman’s lab
Steph has a bachelor’s degree inBiology from the University of Washington, she has been a volunteer coordinator for a citizen science organization called COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team), a research technician at the University of Washington and a “mixed assortment of other odd jobs”before coming to Duke for her PhD. She is currently an NSF GRFP Fellow as well as a Luce Fellow.
Seas the Day – PhDeep – Episode 01 – Covid-19
Rafaella Lobo: Hello there, I am Rafaella Lobo, a PhD student at the Duke University Marine Lab, and also your host for PhDeep, a series on our Seas the Day podcast. If you missed our introductory episode, make sure to go check it out. It’s a 10-minute conversation between our Podcast team, where we took the opportunity to explain the concept of our umbrella podcast, our vision and hopes for future series, and motives for being involved in this project.
This is the first episode on PhDeep, a series that will explore and attempt to demystify the lives of PhD students. We thought it would be timely to launch with an episode about how the covid-19 pandemic has affected PhD students in our program. Covid-19, of course, is the name of the disease that has changed the world as we know it, and turned 2020 in the craziest year, possibly in all of human history, although this last claim has not gone through peer-review.
Duke has been very supportive of us during this time. We are still funded and we have a variety of resources and people we can turn to for support. But like most people, PhD students are experiencing added stress and anxiety. And that stress and anxiety comes from a variety of sources:
Gabrielle Carmine: I grew up in New York City and have spent pretty much my entire life there, up until grad school. My mom’s a doctor in New York , she’s a doctor in Queens and Long Island…
Rafaella Lobo: that’s Gabrielle Carmine, who was in her the first year of her PhD program when New York became the initial hotspot for COVID-19. And let me say quickly, that Gabby’s mother is fine. The second the pandemic hit in March, obviously, New York was impacted pretty quickly, and that automatically spiked some anxiety, because having a mother in her mid to late 60s, just that alone… She’s in one of the risk groups so…
Gabrielle Carmine: What’s great about her hospital is that they had enough PPEs so she could stay protected, but it’s still very nerve wracking. Just knowing that my mom is in the part of the world that has, had some of the highest rates of covid. But she’s yeah she’s totally fine, but I think it was hard because my parents couldn’t interact, because my dad is also in his mid to late 60s. And he has a bunch of preexisting and it was also hard not being in New York, you sort of feel a little bit like a traitor for not being with your family, even if I probably would have been more in the way. I still felt like a traitor to my hometown for not going back. And… another thing that has been hard is also being from a city that has been so impacted by this virus and then living in a place where people don’t wear masks and I feel like… I’m being gaslit.
Rafaella Lobo: Gabby’s concerns about her family and being away from her family are common among students, but they take on additional meaning with international students. I talked to Crisol Mendez, a former PhD student and now post-doc at the marine lab, about their unique situation.
Crisol Mendez: International students like everyone else, we are struggling with the high levels of uncertainty, isolation, and fear. But also, some of the new immigration rules issued during these stressful times, have been increasing our fear and anxiety. Like, in my case, the pandemic caught me in the middle of my visa stamp renovation, and as a part of that process, I have to leave the United States at some point to get the stamp in the USA embassy in my home country. Now, the issuance of those stamps is holding up at least until the end of the year. This means even I have legal status while being inside of the country, if I leave, I could not come back. So, if something happens with my family, if my mom or sister get sick, and need assistance I would have to choose between staying here, continuing with my career, and my source of income or going home. And… I mean, I’m sure in my case I’d choose to take care of my family. So, we are facing important life decisions in the middle of the pandemic. Adding to this continued fear, which is a lot, we’ve been witnessing other regulations issuance like international students enrolled in an online program would have to leave the country. I know this rule was rescinded but in the meantime we live with anxiety and fear about what’s coming next, how our life and careers will be affected by this, will we be kicked out of the country, how our families are doing back at home, or if we get sick, will we have to face the illness all alone, far away from home?
Rafaella Lobo: As an international student myself, I can relate to Crisol’s concerns. I spend more time worrying about my family in Brazil than about myself, and I feel like leaving the US for any reason would be a bad idea, even with a valid visa.
These kinds of personal circumstances vary among PhD students, and shape our individual experiences of COVID-19 in different ways. But for the rest of the show, we are going to talk about an experience that many PhD students have shared: the disruption of carefully crafted research plans to collect data, one of the core activities of a PhD program. In the grand scheme of things, and among the many devastating impacts of COVID-19, I recognize that interrupted field work and data collection are not among the most pressing societal concerns. And as you’ll hear, PhD students recognize this as well. Yes, you’ll hear some remorse about lost opportunity and anxiety about getting back on track, but you’ll also hear about adaptation and resilience as students try to learn from these strange times we are living in, so Let’s get started:
Welcome, to Seas the Day
Rafaella Lobo: Alright, so up first I have Stephanie Valdez, she is a 3rd year PhD student at the Duke Marine Lab. Today, we will talk a little bit about her life, research, and the challenges of pursuing a PhD during a global pandemic. Steph, welcome to the show.
Stephanie Valdez: Thanks. Happy to be here.
Rafaella Lobo: So, before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself? Like, who are you, how old are you, where are you from, what is one interesting or weird thing about yourself… You know the drill.
Stephanie Valdez: Of course. So, I was born and raised in Washington State. I grew up in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, so the west side of the state. I was raised by a single mother. It was a magical place to grow up, had wonderful childhood, no complaints here.
Rafaella Lobo: Sounds beautiful!
Stephanie Valdez: It was, it was wonderful. I am currently 28 I started my PhD journey PhD journey at 26. And something odd about myself… Hmm… I played the trombone in my high school marching band and actually marched a seven-mile Pasadena Rose Parade about 10 years ago,
Rafaella Lobo: That is so cool. Okay.
Stephanie Valdez: It was fun!
Rafaella Lobo: And how did you end up at the Duke University Marine Lab
Stephanie Valdez: So this might be a little bit of a longer story than you anticipated, but here it goes. I went to undergrad at the University of Washington, while I was there, I did some internships volunteering and then my last couple of years undergrad I was a research tech for Dr. Jennifer Ruesink. She is the one that opened up my eyes to ecology and ever since then I’ve been hooked. So, my plans after graduation were really to go into grad school start immediately like jump in, but like covid, life had other plans for me.
Rafaella Lobo: Doesn’t it always.
Stephanie Valdez: Doesn’t it always. And unfortunately, I had a traumatic life experience with some family members, and it made me reevaluate my life and what I wanted to do. So, I decided to take some time off. I worked some odd jobs, retail, I was dog walker, you name it, I did it. While at that time. I also continue to tech for Dr. Ruesink, and over that course of that like four years, I think it was, I really realized that science was my passion and that was where I got most of my joy from, so I decided to go back to school. And in this process, I sat down with her one day and a couple of other mentors, I think it was over a glass of Horchata at the local restaurant, and I showed her my list of like 40 schools and 50 to 60 advisors.
Rafaella Lobo: That’s a little excessive…
Stephanie Valdez: Yep. Type A personality. I was I was all in. So, I basically it was like, what do I do, how do I go from here? She gave me some advice. I picked my top Choices at the time, and cold emailed them, started to have conversations back and forth for several months, talked to their grad students visited… And after that, like, I don’t know, it probably took me a little over a year with all of this, I decided that Dr. Brian Silliman and the Duke marine Lab was the place for me.
Rafaella Lobo: That is so cool. Okay, since you love science so much. It’s time to practice your science communication skills. Can you give us, you know, your elevator speech? What is your research about?
Stephanie Valdez: Great question. Broadly, I study the impact foundation species have on their ecosystem. So currently, I focus on what mechanisms dictate species coexistence in North Carolina seagrasses and how that influences community structure and functions in hopes that we can use these interactions to promote recovery and improve restoration success.
Rafaella Lobo: That was a really good elevator speech.
Stephanie Valdez: Oh, thank you. I practiced a few of times.
Rafaella Lobo: Yep. That really sounds cool, but it also sounds really hard on its own. So how has the coronavirus pandemic affected your ability to pursue your work?
Stephanie Valdez: Yeah, so when this all started, I was in the midst of my second year, and for those not particularly aware of what a PhD second year is like, I spent most of my time finalizing questions, writing proposals, trying to get funding for my field season. So, I was like, in the midst of this ready for my field season to come to and then covid happened.
Rafaella Lobo: Oh, man.
Stephanie Valdez: And covid… So, for those that don’t know our North Carolina seagrass season is roughly March to October. So that’s right when the US started to put in their implement… like, implementations. And I was really psyched to start doing fieldwork that this was going to be my formative field season, and I was going to collect all of this data for my dissertation and basically set up the entire thing. And that of course…
Rafaella Lobo: You couldn’t do it
Stephanie Valdez: Totally changed. So, I obviously panicked a lot. I was like, oh my goodness, I’m not going to… So in the third year, I was like, going to prelim early, going to get it out of the way, and then I basically was like… Well. That might not happen.
Rafaella Lobo: Oh my God…
Stephanie Valdez: Yeah, so, and Duke rightfully so, has been very cautious to letting us go into the field and do any work which I totally respect. But on the other hand, it was like, I wish I could have been in the field and doing all this stuff.
Rafaella Lobo: So how have you coped with that? How did you adapt?
Stephanie Valdez: So I was really lucky that one of my big chapters and one of my big hopes for my dissertation actually started back in November of 2019 so I had an experiment going, which was kind of self-running at this time, like I didn’t get as much data or put as much effort, as in I didn’t keep, upkeep it as much as I had hoped. But I… It was there. And it should be on track for the most part,
Rafaella Lobo: Great.
Stephanie Valdez: Which is great. Like one thing not lost.
Rafaella Lobo: Right.
Stephanie Valdez: However, the other three or four experiments that I had anticipated putting in are now pushed off into the future. But I’ve also been really lucky that I live on a marsh. So, my system isn’t marsh systems. But I live on this really cool marsh that has some seagrass in it, and I thought it was a really unique interaction. I just started taking some data on my bored days off. Like I was just out there and like totally was learning about this new novel system. And even though it might not play a big part of my dissertation, like, it probably won’t be a chapter, it was really good to start to understand some North Carolina wildlife and marsh systems.
Rafaella Lobo: So, you’re collecting data on your backyard.
Stephanie Valdez: Correct.
Stephanie Valdez: Gotta do it with what I can.
Rafaella Lobo: Is this going to affect your graduation timeline? Do you think your PhD is going to get delayed?
Stephanie Valdez: Yeah, so I don’t… I’m not totally sure about the ramifications, what are the full ramifications of what this will mean for my dissertation. In theory, it pushes off my second and third chapters and the fourth chapters into next summer because that’s our field season again. However, I’m trying this next month or two to set up some late season experiments that I can have run for the full year and therefore not necessarily lose a ton of data.
Rafaella Lobo: Right… Did you take anything out of this whole experience or is it all just panic moments and just trying to, you know, live one day, every day.
Stephanie Valdez: Yeah, so, I like to believe that I’m a pretty positive person, and there were definitely those moments where I’m like, what am I even doing here. This is so stressful. But I really think this ingrained in me a sense of science and how we have to deal with science in general that… And I think any advisor will tell you this. Experiments never go to plan, you have to be ready to adapt and to change your, your situation. And I think for me as a young grad student covid was like that defining moment where it was really, you have to change your plans. There’s no way around it. So I think that spinning this positively. I might not have the dissertation that I had planned six months ago, but I have an important scientific lesson that I can carry through the rest of my career and life.
Rafaella Lobo: That’s a beautiful inspirational message on resilience right there.
Stephanie Valdez: Thank you.
Rafaella Lobo: All right. And what about on a personal level, you know, we’ve all had to adapt, and figure out ways to cope with all the extra time we spend home and you know, the social isolation… I for one have become crazy plant lady. Have you developed any new passion, or hobby to help you ope and pass the time?
Stephanie Valdez: Well, as you know, I also enjoy my plants and gardening and my,
Rafaella Lobo: Plant friends!
Stephanie Valdez: Yes, so many plants. It’s definitely grown probably exponentially, and my garden is looking gorgeous my pumpkin plants are growing wildly, I currently got the pumpkin like the size my head already, super excited about it… But on the other hand, I’ve always been an avid cooker and baker, and in a PhD, that hectic PhD life that kind of goes to the wayside, most weeknights,
Rafaella Lobo: Right
Stephanie Valdez: So I’ve had the opportunity to kind of pick that back up. I bought myself a cast iron Dutch oven, which I’m really proud of
Rafaella Lobo: Fancy!
Stephanie Valdez: And I’ve made so many good meals with that, so that’s been a really good stress relief when I’m just like, done looking at the computer for the day.
Rafaella Lobo: That is so cool! Well, it was great talking to you Steph. Thank you so much for coming to the show. We really appreciate your insight.
Stephanie Valdez: Thanks again for having me.
Rafaella Lobo: Up next, I talk to Julia Bingham, she is a 4th year PhD student at the marine lab. Just like in Steph’s case, the coronavirus has affected Julia’s ability to collect data, and it disrupted her planned timeline. Julia, however, is a social scientist, and so some of the challenges and implications are different in her case. Julia, welcome to the show.
Julia Bingham: Thanks Rafa, I’m so excited to be here.
Rafaella Lobo: So first, can you tell us a little bit about yourself like who are you, how old are you, are you from, what is one odd or interesting thing about you, you know,
Julia Bingham: Um, sure I am generally from the West Coast… I’m 26 so I guess going into my fourth year at the marine lab… That means put me on slightly at a younger age for a PhD… I skipped the Master’s step.
Rafaella Lobo: I feel like a lot of people do that nowadays though.
Julia Bingham: Yeah, I feel like it’s more common, but it did mean that I had a ton of course work to do at the start, especially because I switched fields from natural to social sciences, so I basically
Rafaella Lobo: That was gonna be my next question. How did a biologist come to the social sciences cottage?
Julia Bingham: I did intertidal ecology research. So, I was doing a lot of stuff with like barnacles, snails and tide pools in the rocky intertidal on the Oregon coast. With Mark Novak and Alan Shanks, and as I developed my like undergrad thesis and the research following that, I got really involved with working with a lot of stakeholders. I don’t know. I guess I wound up more and more curious about the decision-making side and the outreach and community-based side of coastal sciences and I was really concerned with understanding how to try to build interdisciplinary approaches to coastal sustainability. I didn’t really know anything about going into the social sciences, but I knew that there were questions there that I felt I wanted to get into, especially because I started feeling like, you know, no matter how much I absolutely love being out doing fieldwork for ecology and getting deep into the natural sciences, It felt like if my data wasn’t going to go anywhere because either there was a hold up on the governance side or stakeholders aren’t represented in the decisions like, what, what, what would it matter in the long run.
Rafaella Lobo: Right.
Julia Bingham: Yeah, so that that made me think really differently about how I would pursue grad school and I basically just started sending queries out to different potential PIs, who do interdisciplinary work and Grant immediately responded! He was a new PI at Duke at that time and building his lab. So, I kind of just got lucky in finding someone who I connected with and was like looking for a student. Yeah, yeah. So, I feel super lucky. Especially since he is such a great advisor. Yeah.
Rafaella Lobo: Perfect timing. Okay, that’s a good segue then for the elevator speech about what your current research is about.
Julia Bingham: Yeah. So generally speaking, I work on the role of social values, knowledge, and equity in coastal management. So, there are a few different avenues of interest for me there. And one of them is about how we integrate the values and the knowledge that stakeholders bring, and that community members bring, into coastal management. Meaning fisheries governance, restoration practices, conservation, that kind of thing… And how we do that in a way that is both representative of all voices and all rights – holders and basically, a little bit more innovative and equitable in terms of integrating knowledge, potentially beyond the sciences. So, that’s a very broad general idea. And what my dissertation works on specifically, is the integration of First Nations knowledge and rights into salmon fishery management or governance on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Rafaella Lobo: Julia, can you clarify for our listeners the term First Nations?
Julia Bingham: Oh yeah, totally. So, the indigenous communities are people who have been in North America since long before white settlers came. We in the United States might refer to them as Native Americans, and you might call each distinct group a tribe, or a nation. Canada formally recognizes those indigenous communities as First Nations, like nations of people who were living in the lands that are Canada, first.
Rafaella Lobo: That makes sense. And do you work with a specific nation, or group of nations?
Julia Bingham: Yeah, so the nation I most closely work with is called Tla-o-qui-aht. They are one of 14 nations indigenous to what is now called Vancouver Island. Those nations share a lot of overlap in language and world view and as a group are the Nuu-chah-nulth. So, out of the Nuu-chah-nulth, I work mostly with Tla-o-qui-aht, especially with some of their fishery and natural resource admin, but I most closely work with an organization called Ha’oom. So that’s an
organization which does the formal management of the commercial fisheries for Tla-o-qui-aht and for four other Nuu-chah-nulth nations. Each nation and Nuu-chah-nulth as a whole has their own traditional governance structure and they absolutely have robust means of managing their fisheries. Ha’oom is there as basically an agency that the Canadian government, or that DFO, more officially recognizes as a fishery management capacity.
Rafaella Lobo: Thank you for that clarification. Now, your research topic sounds fascinating, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it also sounds like you’re very dependent on being physically present at your research site. Right, it’s very site-specific. So, how has the pandemic affected your ability to pursue this work?
Julia Bingham: Right, so, Yeah, it’s a super, super local specific case study, like the idea is it’s more broadly relevant to other coastal management questions, right. In terms of how do we do sustainability and rights recognition, value and knowledge integration…. but to do this specific work well requires me to be on site, and I can talk more about why that’s necessary, but basically, the main thing that the pandemic has done, it has prevented me from getting up there, right. So, I’m going into my fourth year, this whole year was supposed to be fieldwork, like, all the time, basically living up there. I usually go up for a couple weeks at a time, to do some research planning, some just like, interactions with people for building trust, building the research plan collaboratively with the community… So, I’m a white researcher, right, and I’m walking into an indigenous space. And even though I’m also doing observations of the DFO process, that’s like Canadian fisheries governance body, so I’m also doing observations of the DFO process, and the white, or non-indigenous spaces… like stakeholder spaces, my primary collaborators are indigenous, and the First Nations concerns are central to this particular research case study. And so, it’s really important that I give agency in my research to those indigenous leaders. Like, how to make sure this research turns around and benefits them,
and that I’m not taking knowledge that’s not mine, or misrepresenting, or trying to tell a story that’s not mine, and that when I’m trying to understand how indigenous knowledge is integrated, that means I need to understand what that is, and so it’s also learning from them continuously. So, it takes a lot of pre-work. And that pre-work so far has looked like pretty frequent, at least every couple of months, visits for anywhere from one to three weeks at a time. But the transition to in-person data collection, which looks like extended interviews and sitting in on meetings and basically being there every day just to… its institutional ethnography, it’s a form of ethnography, so you have to be there.
Rafaella Lobo: Mhumm.
Julia Bingham: That was supposed to be…trips in the, mostly spring and fall, because that’s the peak, like either planning or assessment season for the fishing season, haha
Rafaella Lobo: Right.
Julia Bingham: And to be there from anywhere from two to five months at a time. At one point I was considering just being there for nine months straight to stay through the fishing season. And so, none of that. None of that happened this year, nothing
Rafaella Lobo: Wow. And how have you coped with that?
Julia Bingham: Oh well…. It’s just funny because the question like, how are you dealing with it. My, my initial responses like, oh, you mean in an emotionally? Because that’s been a roller coaster.
Rafaella Lobo: Haha I can hear the nervous laugh haha.
Julia Bingham: I know, it was a… it was really, really, really concerning at first, and I mean, I pretty much immediately was like, alright, this means that I have a minimum of an extra year. So, we’re in a five-year program, right. So, I was already thinking that this kind of in-depth, long-term, place-based research, that requires so much field work so much long-term work before I can even get to analysis. So much collaborating with other humans. That, combined with having had to take a bunch of coursework at the start, I already anticipated thinking all right, I might need more than five years. And then the pandemic started, I was like, oh, I need more than five years. This is, I might lose a field season I might lose three months… So, I probably will need into my sixth year, if not the full thing. We’re… I mean, it’s been months more than that, and there’s, you know, the US is on the uptick for cases, there’s no real end in sight for when I get to go back up. And one of the biggest concerns I had like honestly, the thing that scared me the most was like, okay, if I’m gone for that long, and they don’t see my face, they won’t think that I’m dedicated or willing to be there or someone to work with, or someone to trust… Like all of that pre-work of the last year and a half, two years, goes out the window. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to have been the case. I have a wonderful local liaison up there who works within the Tla-o-qui-aht community and works with and for Ha’oom as well. And my other contacts up there have been very gracious about this. And we’ve been working together to kind of shift what the permissions look like for me to sit in on virtual meetings. So after the first two-ish months they started changing their meeting structure and moving from all in person to all online. Which I didn’t expect, honestly. Like, the DFO space is well equipped for doing virtual work. I mean, that’s a federal government space a lot of governments are having to adjust to that. The First Nation space, It’s not like traditional practice in Nuu-chah-nulth governance structures including Tla-o-qui-aht which is the specific community that I partner with, is to do everything in person, like that’s the formality. Everything is traditionally done via oral storytelling, via in-person communication shared meeting spaces, even in like formal governance spaces that now look very much like a Western government space. Even those have some element of traditional ceremony old practice to them. And that has to do with framing everything within the Tla-o-qui-aht worldview, right. Everything is very relational there. All of their belief and knowledge systems, and communication, and governance, all of that has to do with relationships. And so, there’s been a lot of resistance to doing things virtually, which means that things take longer up there. But with how things like Zoom and other platforms have progressed to be able to so easily hold virtual meetings that are more than a phone call.
Rafaella Lobo: Right.
Julia Bingham: Some of them have been really responsive to that, because they can see each other’s faces. So, you can see you can still have some element of personal communication that would otherwise be lost.
Rafaella Lobo: That’s good!
Julia Bingham: Yeah. And so that was promising, to know that they’ll still be doing some meetings. And so now the process is about getting permission to sit in on those meetings spaces. There is some sensitivity about bringing an outsider into their government spaces and so it’s taking a little bit longer to make sure that the other five nations with Ha’oom are totally okay with me being there, it sounds like verbally that’s all been confirmed, but there needs to be formal recognition from Ha’oom’s board of directors, which only meets once a month. In the meantime, there have been other third party hosted meetings with broader stakeholders and the non-indigenous stakeholders that I’ve been able to sit in on, which have been fascinating. And I could, at this point, start interviewing DFO folks remotely.
Rafaella Lobo: That’s good, I’m glad there’s a silver lining there, you know, that you’re able to at least keep going,
Julia Bingham: Yeah…
Rafaella Lobo: Even if it’s at a slower pace than you thought…
Julia Bingham: Yeah…
Rafaella Lobo: And talking about moving forward, let’s go back to the coping question, but now the way that you interpreted it the first time. I know that you like to run a lot, has that just increased exponentially, or have you developed any new hobbies? How have you coped from, you know, a mental health perspective.
Julia Bingham: Yeah, I mean, running has always been, like, ever since the start of undergrad, when I stopped playing soccer so regularly, I feel like running has been key to my mental health.
Rafaella Lobo: I’m so jealous
Julia Bingham: When the pandemic shut down the gyms, that was terrible because I also prefer to split some of my cardio at the pool, or on a bike, and I like to lift, so I usually am a little bit ridiculously active, and it’s definitely a coping mechanism.
Rafaella Lobo: Oh man I’m so jealous, I cope with wine and chocolate.
Julia Bingham: Oh, there’s been plenty of that too. The other day I ate a whole pint of ice cream, so, you know.
Julia Bingham: But, um, yeah. So, there’s been some workouts, which have been good, but it’s so hot now it’s hard to do… And otherwise, I did put in a garden this year I got one started last year and it went pretty well, and I learned a bunch from that experiment. So, I’ve made it much bigger this year, because I’m just… around.
Rafaella Lobo: Awesome.
Julia Bingham: So, I’ve got fresh garden veggies almost every day. I did, I jumped on the sourdough train. Yeah, I’d say baking, gardening, and running have always been good coping mechanisms for me that I just ramped up. That and the occasional, you know, tear filled phone call to my mother.
Rafaella Lobo: Oh yeah, those are pretty normal too, I think, but um, gardening and baking seems to be popular.
Julia Bingham: Yeah…
Rafaella Lobo: Well, Julia. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us and best of luck with whatever developments come your way.
Julia Bingham: Thank you so much. Thanks for let me just chat on and on.
Rafaella Lobo: Haha My pleasure!
Rafaella Lobo : We hope you enjoyed our first episode of PhDeep, a series in our podcast, Seas the Day. From now on, we will release two episodes a month, from various ongoing series, and our next release will be the first episode in our Conservation & Development series.
If you want to know more about our plans, make sure to check out our introductory episode, released last week, or visit our website at sites.nicholas.duke.edu/seastheday. A quick reminder that it is seas, as in portions of the ocean that are partly surrounded by land, and not seize, the verb to grab. You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter @seasthedaypod, and subscribe to our listserv at email@example.com
This podcast was written and produced by me, Rafaella Lobo, with great input from our Seas the Day podcast team – Lisa Campbell, Janil Miller, and Stephanie Hillsgrove. Many thanks to Jeffery Priddy, our IT support. Joe Morton composed and recorded our beautiful theme song, and Stephanie Hillsgrove is the talent behind our artwork.
If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend. Thank you for listening.