Inside the intern, Resuming 4 months in SES-LINK

by Lea-Deborah Kolb

To share an office with a political scientist and an economist (aka Kirill and Laura) is only the first depiction of the interdisciplinary research that has awaited me during the four-month internship that I did in the SES-LINK group between March and June.

I recently had graduated from a Bachelor’s program of Geoecology in Brunswick, Germany, and was curious about what people that work in science actually do. At the same time, I had always missed a scientific approach to observe social and political implications of the findings of natural science. Given my interest in landscape ecology and system science, as soon as I heard of SES-LINK and the SRC, it seemed worth a try.

Naturally, I discovered more and different things during those months than I had expected. With Maja and Romina, I had two very patient and open supervisors. Both let me choose the topics I wanted to work on, which was a big plus for my orientation in a new field.

Trying to spot new heights in the Stockholm archipelago

Trying to spot new heights in the Stockholm archipelago

Which projects did I end up doing? One was working in a project of Maja, scoping possible cross-scale interactions. That was new territory for everybody and included talking to researchers at the SRC about their case studies, the social-ecological conditions those were embedded in and the change they were exposed to. Beneath gaining insight in people’s projects, it was interesting to clarify the terms “cross-scale” which could be channeled into a fruitful discussion with the team. Secondly, I worked with Romina and dealt with the Rönneå catchment and concepts around ecosystem services. I could generate a GIS map, get an overview about ongoing assessment and mapping projects such as the TEEB report and enter the discussion around the assessment of nature’s function and value.

Thirdly, I feel that it had been an activity on its own to be part of SES-LINK and the Resilience Center, with numerous talks, presentations and capturing readings. The great working atmosphere, the constant curiosity and a broad horizon displayed by the researchers and students had just been thrilling! I was kindly hosted, inspired and encouraged to follow my interests. Had I been hesitating to deal with social-ecological questions because they were beyond my former education, I observe that my thinking has gained a new angle by now. As it goes, time was passing fast and the internship seemed to end at its own and Swedish weather’s apotheosis, though I’m now looking forward to gain new skills for my toolbox when I start my master in autumn (it’s still open, where exactly). Thanks to all that gave me insights and made me feel so welcomed at the SRC!