As I’m approaching the end of this internship, I’ve been thinking about what EcoFaith means to me and everything I’ve learned from this experience. At the beginning of summer, when I started this internship, I didn’t really know what to expect. Being a non-religious person coming into a religious organization was scary for me, but I soon learned there was nothing to be scared of. Everyone that I met through EcoFaith welcomed me with open arms, and I will forever value the relationships I’ve made here. Even though the Thursday morning meetings were over zoom instead of in person, the genuine conversations that I had with the other leaders made me feel welcome and wanted. I think the most important thing I learned was the power of connecting through storytelling. The weekly practice of telling a story and then having time to reflect on it one-to-one with someone else was a valuable new experience for me. I really appreciated the structure of the meetings. The set time for grounding and reflection on environmental and racial justice issues gave me the space to process these kinds of events and personal experiences I’ve had. Another new experience for me was scheduling and having one-to-one conversations with other leaders with the focus on getting to know one another on a deeper level. Asking and answering hard questions with someone you barely know is always scary, but for me I ended each conversation with a smile. It was almost therapeutic for me to have a back and forth with someone who had the same goal or motivation. I also had a few amazing one-to-ones with people who didn’t regularly attend the Thursday meetings this summer and fall who helped a lot with my research. I am extremely grateful for all of the support I’ve gotten with my research project, and the freedom I was granted to study something important to me. I am so excited to share everything that I’ve learned these past months. 

Kira, who is a psychology major at Willamette University,  is researching intergenerational trauma in the context of leadership and storytelling. Learn more about Kira here.

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Reflection on Internship with EcoFaith from Research Intern Kira Sato

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