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Internal Assessments

Published onAug 23, 2019
Internal Assessments

Writing a masters degree can be confusing and disorienting - especially if you have the free reign to think about how to most effectively build a cohesive narrative around what you’re most passionate about. Every week seems to blur into the next one. Ask me what I accomplished last week, and I’ll return your question with a blank stare mainly because I’ve done so many things.

During a check-in with one of my incredible mentors at the Open Ocean Initiative, I told her about this early onset of amnesia that haunts my research. How can I tell explain to people why I do what I do if I can’t recall the specifics? She sent me a resource her husband uses in his research group - the 5-15 report. In a nutshell, the report should take no more than 5 minutes to read and no more than 15 minutes to write.

What got me thinking about trying this out for personal assessment (and to send to my triage of advisors and mentors) was the bit about how it can help….

  • Demonstrate awareness of next steps

  • Alert you on setbacks without asking for support

  • Communicate successes without feeling awkward

  • Capture important lessons

I’m very passionate about many things, and constantly go deep when I maybe I should be going more broad to understand larger scope. With my active field work plan, I’m all over the place. I think awareness of next steps and understanding where I repetitively get stuck would be a good tool to have in the belt.

Report 3

5-15 Report Name: une semaine de Ouf

Week Ending 9/5/2019

Accomplishments for the week

  • Pretty much finished the final rough draft for the Nature Sustainable journal. Editing with co-authors to happen in the near future (9/23)

  • Wrapped up some desk-based research with CI pre-trip

  • Helped launch the first blockchain ethics class (ever) 🥳

Priorities for next week:

  • Prep for post-training workshops in Guayaquil and social responsibility audits of crew members in Manta

  • Understand the social responsibility assessment tool that we’ll use during the training of CI’s Ecuador Team.

  • Compile a list of items that are required for interoperability of documentation in social responsibility for fisheries

  • Take good notes when chatting with the CI Ecuador group!

Challenges/ Roadblocks:

  • Training could require more time than we initially planned for (which would be a good thing!)

  • The fact that yo no hablo español, pero, not everyone in the CI Ecuador team is bilingual.

Lessons Learned/Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Re: Joi’s resignation, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on the process of grieving/confusion when also trying to be productive because the flow of the river doesn’t stop for you. You either get washed away or fashion yourself a boat and continue on (while continuing to acknowledge the grief as needed…)

  • During my exploration of how to conduct interviews with people of different cultures + languages, I realize how much I need to tone up my small-talk muscle. In the world of MIT (+ technocrats at large), I’ve been primed to cut conversations to the bare necessities. Beating around the bush with chit chat is not seen as effective or efficient in my MIT bubble. However, I’m re-learning that that is not how the world works. In some ways, I’ve had to relearn how to “be human” with total strangers. I’ve always thought of myself as an extrovert (one of those Myers–Briggs quizzes told me ENFP), but I truly feel that I’ve traded in my sense of enjoying a random conversation for a a sharper spear, ready and set to hit the target I’m after (usually, a piece of information or a contact I do not have). This train of thought feels important and I will explore this in a future post.

Report 2

5-15 Report Name So long + mahalo for all the fish 🎣

Week Ending 8/30/2019

Accomplishments for the week

  • Visited the Norpac fishery export processing facility

  • Met with Kydd Polluck from the Nature Conversancy (TNC) on the EM installs throughout Micronesia to discuss experiences

  • Met with a lead developer at SnapIt, a NZ-based startup building cameras + processors for real-time EM installs on vessels

  • Got to ask a lot of basic questions and gained a better understanding of…

    • The social and financial implications of EM installations on vessels

    • Pros/Cons EM provides for Captains

    • A lot of reality checks…

  • Submitted a talk proposal for the N. American Seafood Expo

  • Got a grant from Northrup Grumman + Conservation International 🥳

    Priorities for next week:

  • Send my co-authors for the Nature Sustainability piece the final-ish draft.

  • Do background research in preparation to leave for Guayaquil + Manta

    • Expected worker health/environment conditions in Ecuador

    • Expected fisheries sector worker education in Ecuador

    • Submit final piece for ICCV conference

    • Create framework for user study for climate change + ML paper

  • Challenges/ Roadblocks:

    • Hectic scheduling T-TR this week (and classes begin!)

    • TA’ing for Blockchain Ethics will introduce unforeseen tasks in the moment.

    Lessons Learned/Opportunities for Improvement:

  • On the more personal side, I’ve observed that traveling a lot for work = tough to stay healthy and keep consistency (sleeping, eating habits, exercising etc.). I need to halt the caffeine and auto default to decaf. Hatha yoga is a mental/physical tool I need to use more often.

  • GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is the main hurdle the seafood sector faces when trying to track bait to plate commodities for a more transparent supply chain. The demand is there - privileged consumers want to know that their seafood is caught slavery-free and sustainably. How to differentiate between slavery and debt bondage?

  • Next week I will interview crew coming off vessels in Manta’s port. What are conversational tools to keep in mind when conducting a social audit?

  • Still trying to figure out where to go deep for the prototyping aspect of this project. Candidates include:

    • On-vessel node for time-stamping data collection from sensors (magnetic sensor (rutter/reel), VMS transponder, GPS).

    • On-vessel camera with real-time processing to clip video footage

    • IPFS for fishermen crew documentation. On-port node for collecting and enabling access to certain documents for certain stakeholders.

Report 1

5-15 Report Name Longliners, Pier 38, Bigeye Tuna, oh my.

Week Ending 8/25/19

Accomplishments for the week

  • Did a 2-day drop cam training with the Open Ocean Initiative and National Geographic’s exploration technology team.

  • Toured a on-vessel electronic monitoring (EM) system on a longliner that is part of the Hawai’ian Longline Association (HLA) + met with Matthew Carnes and his team who work on PelagiX, a smart system for on-vessel EM systems

  • Wrapped up the initial assessment of existing EM systems on longliner vessels in this article.

  • Toured the Pier 38 Fish Auction to better understand how fish are sold right off the vessel and the tracking process throughout the sale.

  • Touched base with Juno from the CI team about social justice gaps in the fishery sector.

  • A couple art submissions to the ICCV conference were accepted 🥳 check them out here and here

Priorities for next week:

  • Meet up with Kydd Polluck from the Nature Conversancy about existing blockchain + EM systems

  • Tour the Norpac facility to see how EM systems are developed

  • Submit the Nature perspective piece on the Landscape Assessment of blockchain Technology in Fisheries

  • Submit a talk proposal for the N. American Seafood Expo

Challenges/ Roadblocks:

  • The perspective piece is not complete because of xyz feedback that requires adjustments.

  • Fatigue/lack of motivation from travel.

Lessons Learned/Opportunities for Improvement:

  • I can feel an opportunity to shift my thesis towards understanding how to track, expose and avoid social responsibility failures in the fisheries sector. A lot of by-catch is counted using traceability technology, but there isn’t extensive existing work using that technology for social justice.

  • There are projects in the blockchain space that aim to fraud-protect confidential data. Could a similar model be used to give access to the people who need it the most - the immigrant fishermen with no papers?

  • What does this mean for the prototype-side of my thesis work? On-deck cameras can be used to capture snapshots of working and living conditions, but nothing keeps a crew member (or captain) from accidentally tossing a camera overboard.

    Template 5-15 Report

    5-15 Report Name something radical

    Week Ending x/xx/xx

    Accomplishments for the week

    • [List completed activities and notable accomplishments. In general, what is working? What is your current state?]

    Priorities for next week:

    • [List priority tasks for next week. Be specific.]

    Challenges/ Roadblocks:

    • [Imagine and describe potential challenges that may impede planned tasks.]

    Lessons Learned/Opportunities for Improvement:

    • [List any areas that may benefit from improvement. What questions are you trying to solve? What is a lesson that you recently learned or relearned?]

Lani Langton:

Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man, Keep it up.