Into the Swing of Things

D.C. is cool and all, but being back in Baltimore (to live) and Towson, Maryland (to work) has to be one of the best feelings ever. I jumped right into an Orioles baseball game at the Camden Gardens Stadium before taking the next day to familiarize myself with my bus route to Towson and my housemates in Baltimore. Everything is at ease, and I could not have hoped for a better start to my experience here!

Even getting on the wrong bus (only once so far!), I can feel the smile on my face and the untamed excitement about being able to live in a place that's buzzing, to work in an office that's full of people who truly care about what they're doing. I'm not a morning person, but that first day of work, I practically jumped out of bed 20 minutes before my alarm was even scheduled. I got dressed and paced a little anxiously (in the good way) before I decided it was time to catch the bus. With my lunch in hand and backpack already starting to soak up my sweat, I felt READY... so ready that I arrived an hour early for the first day. 

I took the opportunity to try a local cafe nearby, and had a really nice time just people-watching from the window before it was actually time for me walk over to the office. When I saw Anna's rosy face at 9:30 a.m. on the dot, I could tell she was feeling some of my excitement about me starting as well. Anna is the person who oversees the Global Partners Committee, so she is the person I'll be working with most closely throughout the summer at the International Dyslexia Association. I had already met her when I visited Towson earlier this year, but this time, I felt more comfortable having exchanged a few emails and phone conferences with her throughout my preparation to come work with IDA. She immediately made me feel so welcomed in the office, showing me my workspace (a spacious desk with my own computer) and the facilities, as well as introducing me to all the staff, each of them so sweet in their own way. Then we sat down to review what projects I would be responsible for, and here's where my butterflies really kicked in! Translating fact sheets and journal articles, researching the policy and current intervention/assessment practices for dyslexia around the world... simply hearing her reiterate what we had talked about in the past few weeks was such a relief and simultaneously an enormous surge of energy for me, just knowing that I had really arrived and felt sincerely prepared to take on this work. I have very rarely felt this confident going into a new work situation, but Anna has been so transparent with me about our plans that I truly had very few things to doubt or feel nervous before coming in.

So, I have begun working on my first translation project, which is focused on making the fact sheets about universal screening for dyslexia, assessment, accommodations, and literacy available online in Spanish. I find it both fun and challenging to work on these documents because I get to learn more about the ways parents and instructors get involved in their children's reading remediation while practicing my Spanish skills at a higher level of grammar and vocabulary. Some of my supporting research revolves around the technical/field-specific terms since I'm unfamiliar with some of them in Spanish, which also gives me an opportunity to chat with my colleague, Nuria, who studies reading development with Spanish-speaking children in the Canary Islands. I met her at FSU when she was a visiting scholar, but we still keep in touch, and I know she can be instrumental in aiding my understanding of Spanish terminology and the way it fits into my translation work. I look forward to sharing some of my research with her and seeing how we can collaborate to figure out the best ways to communicate the information we aim to share through the organization's website.

Overall, I wake up giddy every day and fall asleep feeling fulfilled by the work I can accomplish and share with others. It's tremendously rewarding to not only feel like I can play an important role in this organization that I respect and admire, but also that I can contribute to someone else's understanding of an issue I care about, one that MANY people (parents, educators, administrators, politicians, etc.) should know and care more about. My work here is merely one step toward spreading that sentiment with knowledge and resources — and what a big step to partake in, am I right?

— Valeria Rigobon