Week 8: We Did It!

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Sunday, July 25, 2021


Hannah Wistrand

This was it! This was the week! We had our two training sessions for members about combating the spread of scientific misinformation, and especially misinformation about vaccine hesitancy. There were two sessions, held Monday and Thursday evening. The first session was purely informative, and the second session saw our members interacting with one another, practicing their new communication skills. For these training sessions, APS partnered with the organization Critica, a “community committed to making rational decisions about health and security”.


When I started working with this team at APS this summer, the decision had just been made to postpone these training sessions, due to an unexpected drop in member registration for the sessions. We decided it wasn’t fair to ask Critica to put in so much work for only 12 people, when we had originally expected around 30 participants. After postponing, it was my job to figure out a way to gauge the interest level of our members in the training sessions and campaign topic of vaccine hesitancy, and then suggest a strategy to ensure participation and measure engagement. After this week, I feel like I did a pretty good job figuring out how to maximize participation, with more than 50 participants in Monday’s session and over 30 in Thursday’s. 


It’s been a difficult summer at some points. I have definitely felt blocked at times, not sure if the work I have been doing has been having any sort of impact. But seeing this difference in participation and engagement because of the work I have done has really boosted my self-confidence. I can’t believe we are almost to the end, but I am so incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity to work with this team of Public Engagement and External Affairs at APS, and can’t wait to see where this work goes in the future.


Now for the personal updates. This week ended on a really great note, as 2 of my best friends came back into town for a few days. We haven’t been together for over a year and a half, when they both left Mines to pursue other things. It was amazing reconnecting with the both of them, and really rejuvenating to be back in that dynamic of friendship with them. One of the best ways I have found to re-calibrate my mind, my energy, and my confidence is to reconnect with friends. I would suggest you take some time to do just that this week - it may be just what you or that friend needs! 


And, as always, stay curious, everyone

Hannah Wistrand