Feeling Appreciated & Appreciative

I had my “exit interview” this morning with my supervisor, Anna, and our Human Resources contact, Dana, both of whom have been super supportive throughout my work here with IDA. Since it’s my last day, we reviewed all the projects I worked on, and I feel immensely proud of what I could accomplish in the month I was here in the office. I reiterated to them both that it felt like a very symbiotic relationship—I helped them move further along a few projects while getting to learn so much information that is directly related to the population I conduct research on, all while improving my writing, translation, and (honestly) my critical thinking skills. We launched into a really interesting conversation about the role of the Global Partners committee and how it can be a little tricky.  

Wearing my CLSC shirt on my last day of work with IDA in Towson!
Wearing my CLSC shirt on my last day of work with IDA in Towson!

For example, I expressed to them that I felt challenged (in a productive way!) when I was collecting some information about organizations that shared journal publications with outdated/widely disproven information about the connections between visual impairment and dyslexia. On the one hand, it is frustrating to see the dissemination of this type of information knowing that it’s false and sometimes even harmful to those who are struggling with reading, not any physical impairment related to vision. I kept wondering about how this can be better monitored and how exactly the committee addresses this in their partnership. On the other hand, Anna reminded me that this is why the partnership is so crucial. The committee exists to support these organizations in their efforts through access to more evidence-based resources and helping them meet certain criteria as they grow more stable and involved in the community of people working towards best practices in dyslexia intervention. Her words were helpful in shifting my understanding of how the committee not only identifies organizations that are already doing great work, but also mentors these smaller organizations through the services they’re providing to their respective communities and the avenues they’re taking to access the different research studies, articles, and testimonials that they share on a public platform.  

We can’t expect everyone to know everything all at once, right?  

So over time, the hope is that we can build these organizations’ credibility and infrastructure using updated, evidence-based findings and a set of criteria that are culturally responsive and appropriate as well. I felt comfortable in the way I could express my concern, feel heard, and receive genuine feedback from Anna and Dana. Beyond that, I received praise and gratitude for the work I completed, along with the feedback I provided on office culture and other elements of my experience here.  

Ultimately, Anna has been nothing short of a wonderful mentor, and I feel ultra grateful to have had her guidance throughout this work!  I think I’ll quite miss our little daily routine of good mornings, check ins, me telling her a fun fact, and debriefing at the end of the day. I think she truly embodies IDA’s mission and that of someone who cares deeply about each person being able to reach their full potential. She is so patient, kind, and thoughtful, all while managing dozens of responsibilities, and with a smile on her face. She inspires me to be confident in what I care about and to invest myself entirely, something that can be a little frightening as I try to navigate what purpose(s) I want to serve in my career. Of everyone I had the pleasure of meeting here, I will certainly miss Anna the most. 

— Valeria Rigobon