We’d like to introduce our new intern, Isabelle Eddisford, an HSU Student who is helping AEDC with projects regarding the Covid Economic Resilience Committee, Childcare Task Force, and CalSPEED. We got the chance to sit down with her for an interview and here’s what she had to say.
Where is home for you?
I was born in Southern Humboldt, and I moved to Arcata when I was eight. I love living here, can’t see living anywhere else! Humboldt has so much diversity in what you can do—there’s a good mix of careers, interesting people and interesting things to do.
What are you studying at HSU?
I’m a senior at HSU, studying political science. I am also a first generation student and daughter of a first generation immigrant.
How has COVID impacted you as a student?
It’s definitely been a challenge—online classes just aren’t the same. Luckily, as an upperclassman, most of the classes I’m taking are within my major, so I’m engaged in the work. I work from home for my job and school and the lack of change in scenery is hard.
Thinking about life after graduation is challenging. Before COVID, I was thinking I’d want to travel a bit after graduation, or keep my job working in the registrar’s office. Neither of those are super viable options right now, so I’m looking into graduate school programs.
Tell us about your internship. What projects are you working on?
The first project I’m helping on is the Humboldt Emergency Response Child Care Task Force. I’m attending the meetings, and try to keep everyone in the loop and understand how COVID has impacted the need for childcare in our community. I am also working with Susan to research what policies and practices can support working families. I am creating a “policy menu” that businesses can look over and hopefully implement.
It’s very interesting so far—it’s nice to see that even though there’s so much uncertainty with sending kids to school/daycare, lots of schools and programs are open, and are offering hybrid options to engage students. It’s nice to see a big push to support parents and help kids to keep learning.
And the other project?
I’m assisting the CalSPEED project. I work alongside Connie Stewart and Sean McLaughlin to help promote this program.
CalSPEED has an app you can download from your desktop or mobile device to track your internet upload and download speed. This tool will help us advocate for better broadband, because right now, those speeds are only recorded by the internet company.
This is more important than ever with so many people working and learning from home. I’m going to do a communication campaign and PSAs to encourage people to use it, especially in rural areas, but even around Arcata and Eureka.
How does this fit into your class goals?
Doing these projects has helped me just be a part of these professional meetings, which has been somewhat easier because we’re meeting online. I can participate in meetings happening throughout the county that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to join.
How is this work shaping your thoughts on your future career?
Our world is moving to a more and more digital space, and there’s really a gap in who has access to technology and efficient technology. And this is more and more apparent. I'd like to think things are going to go back to normal, but more likely, this is our new normal. It seems like Covid has been the push to moving a lot of our professional lives to online space.
Before, it seems like you had to be in person to do business. Zoom has opened doors, but if people don’t have access to that technology, they won’t even be able to participate. CalSPEED is a step to equalize that, and I am interested in pursuing that question—how can we keep the playing field relatively level?