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.
Aislinn McLaughlin spent her summer interning with American Rivers, a river conservation organization, in Durango, Colorado. McLaughlin worked on several different projects including an evaluation of watershed health programs and policies in other Southwestern states that might be replicable in Colorado, and an analysis of equitable access to rivers. She also had the opportunity to work with some of American Rivers' partners in the area on initiatives such as water quality sampling for designated Outstanding Waters.
American Chestnut Foundation & The Wild Bird Research Group
Israel Golden spent his summer interning with both the American Chestnut Foundation and the Wild Bird Research Group in western North Carolina.
Golden's summer experience with the American Chestnut Foundation was funded through the Stanback Fellowship Program.
“The Nicholas School helped me during my internship search by providing opportunities to explore interesting conservation work being done by a diverse set of organizations. In particular, the Career and Professional Development Center helped me hone my cover letters and provided helpful interview advice," said Golden.
Sierra club, N.C. chapter
Savannah Artusi spent her summer as a policy fellow for Sierra Club’s North Carolina chapter. Artusi supported the chapter's policy work – from monitoring relevant bills to writing legislative updates. She also represented the chapter by providing public comment on updates to surface water quality standards for North Carolina.
"It has been very exciting to get to know more about government in North Carolina and to watch policies grow from ideas to enacted legislation," said Artusi.
CLIF Bar & Company
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."
National Parks Conservation Association
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!"
National Wildlife Refuge Association
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."
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