INternships: An Integral Part of the Nicholas School Experience
For students, an internship offers an opportunity to gain practical skills, contribute to solving real-world problems, and expand your network. For organizations, hosting an intern represents a chance to get fresh ideas, find future job candidates, and benefit from our students’ diverse backgrounds and experience.
Ben McCormack did his summer internship at CLIF Bar & Company. His job: To help the company create its first Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) report, a critical step toward achieving its emissions-reductions goal. Ben explains, "The CDP report is a 45-page document outlining all of CLIF Bar’s carbon emissions and the actions they’re taking to be more sustainable. It establishes a big picture of where the company currently stands on sustainability and where it wants to go. CDP reports are important because they can help companies establish science-based targets for lowering emissions even further. I was able to provide a preliminary benchmark of these targets for CLIF Bar as well."
Sunny spent her summer working on The Endangered Species and National Parks Act for The National Parks Conservation Association in Washington, D.C.
Ryan Valdez, director of conservation science and policy at NPCA, was Sunny's supervisor for the summer and praised her work, "The Endangered Species Act is a monumental, bedrock piece of legislation. To understand its relationship to national parks and estimate the number of ESA species accessing parks, we consulted with Sunny Qiao – armed with incredible skills in GIS, data analysis, and research. Sunny worked with several departments at NPCA, including communications, government affairs, conservation programs, and externally with Defenders of Wildlife. Sunny left us with excellent deliverables we can now use – and are in use – to empower our campaign to protect the ESA. Sunny’s data analysis is what is behind esa.npca.org!"
Bhargavi completed her summer internship in Washington D.C., helping communities around the U.S. connect to their environment with the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) as a part of the Urban Refuge Program. She researched different community partnerships that successful urban refuges have, and looked for other refuges that need assistance.
There are more than 100 refuge areas close to urban areas, serving as important access points for locals to be outside and appreciate the natural world. Bhargavi's work aimed to raise awareness of these important areas to their surrounding communities, especially marginalized ones. Then, these communities can feel more empowered to take control of their surrounding lands and develop a strong sense of place.
For her summer internship, Alex served as a Global Sustainability Intern for Nike, at their world headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
Alex joined the Sustainable Product team working on marketplace integration. Her internship project was to create a strategy to integrate sustainability into Nike’s membership program that is 170 million members strong.
Alex said, "I was paired with a team that gave me a lot of trust and responsibility. Because of this, I got incredible opportunities to be a true project manager. A highlight for me was designing and running strategy workshops for my project. Getting key stakeholders in the room and ideating on the best way forward was exciting and extremely helpful when proposing the strategy."
Ashley Brasovan assisted Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) in meeting its carbon neutrality goals in Phoenix, AZ through the Environmental Defense Fund's Climate Corps program. After conducting an energy audit on the main campus, Brasovan identified and recommended a variety of energy efficiency projects such as retrofitting the exterior campus lighting to LEDs, converting the interior lighting to a lower wattage T8 bulb, adjusting thermostat set points, and transitioning to better computer power management practices. If implemented, the projects could save the college approximately $111,000 to $210,000 in annual operating costs, as well as up to 2.9 million kilowatt hours and up to 1,600 metric tons of carbon emissions each year.
Melissa Bauer spent her summer at N/a'an ku se Wildlife Sanctuary, 45 km outside of Windhoek, Namibia. Melissa completed an operational and integration assessment in an effort to help the research, marketing, and fundraising departments work better together. This internship not only provided an amazing opportunity to see how on the ground conservation is being done in Namibia in a for-profit benefiting non-profit model, but also has afforded her once in a lifetime field work with African wildlife such as cheetahs, leopards, African painted wild dogs, lions, and baboons.
Martin Ramirez was the Latino and Hispanic Liaison Intern in the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). During his internship, he designed the outreach strategy in order to incorporate and engage the Latino community with TNC's programs. He conducted research with leading organizations and community leaders to develop a framework to improve TNC's message to reach the Latino Community. The Latino community is the fastest growing minority in the US and the buying power of this community has increased more than any other minority.
Michael Rinaldi worked as the Sustainability Intern for Zappos in Las Vegas, NV and completed projects focused on energy, water, recycling, supply chain, green building operations, and outreach. For one such project, Michael calculated Zappos’ first carbon footprint and classified emissions as Scope 1, 2, or 3 as defined by the GHG Protocol. This allowed Zappos to understand where its carbon impact can most effectively be reduced and to focus on projects in those areas. Michael’s internship at Zappos was also featured on the Muse.com.
Corrine Schrall interned at the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) as the Farmland Protection, Local Foods, and Farmland Transition Intern via the Duke University Stanback Fellowship Program. During her internship, she worked directly with farmers and learned about land trusts’ ability to help maintain the state’s agricultural traditions. CTNC believes everyone has a role in land conservation. It was a privilege for her to advance such an important message.
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