As Senior Researcher Lisa Gonzalez approaches her last few days here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, she took some time to reflect on her eight years with the Community Broadband Networks Initiative. Lisa is our team's secret weapon, and though we are sad to see her go, we wish her the best of luck in her future position with the State of Minnesota. Read her farewell below.
As I write this, it's March 2020 and the world is in the early days of a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 have stranded many students and parents at home where they are working, streaming, and trying to "flatten the curve" to limit infections. As a result, our country's Internet networks are being pushed and tested. In many ways, this sort of situation is an ideal time for this Senior Researcher to pass the torch.
With feelings of bittersweet excitement, I'm accepting an opportunity which will allow me to use all the great knowledge I've soaked up at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance to work for the State of Minnesota. I'll miss sharing with you stories of local communities, their investments in community broadband networks, and the innovative approaches they take to improve local connectivity.
Eight years ago, the country was coming out of the Great Recession, and I had been unemployed for more than a year. As a single parent with two young kids, I was finding that my law degree and limited experience working in politics wasn't helping me find employment at a time when employment was hard for everyone to find. I had even been turned down for a stint as a part-time dog walker!
Then I came across a posting for a Research Associate position for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance with a special emphasis on Internet access and telecommunications. When I attended law school, I had planned on focusing on intellectual property law and had developed a curiosity in how the Internet might affect life and work for artists. Years earlier, I had finally earned my theatre degree and wondered how computers and live performances might influence each other. With nothing to lose, I applied and got the job.
I'm not ashamed to admit, and Christopher can confirm, that...Read more