This summer, I was lucky enough to spend three weeks as a research volunteer on African Impact’s South African wildlife research and conservation project. Since I eventually want to conduct my own animal behavior research with African mammals, this experience was the perfect lead-in to this kind of career. One of my most memorable days on the project was a conservation morning. On these days, we would spend a few hours doing physical work to improve the game reserve. This particular day was only my second one on the project, so I was still learning a lot. We were doing bush clearing, which basically meant removing thorny plants from the road with machetes. Never in my life have I wielded such a weapon, so that in itself was an experience. After about an hour and half, we were all very sweaty and sore. The drivers were moving the cars up when we heard a branch snap a few hundred meters to our left. After craning our necks, we finally saw that it was one of the reserve’s Southern white rhinos! It was one thing to see these impressive animals from the cars, but since we were all on foot with nothing but our machetes, it was both exhilarating and terrifying. We had to immediately get in the game drivers, but it was a moment I will never forget.
I worked for the renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) sPower. They are a new company that was founded in 2012, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Essentially, sPower either through origination or acquisition, operates and sells wind/solar power to utility companies (like Southern California Edison). I was the first “un-paid” intern ever at sPower, so my experience was quite unique, but everybody there welcomed me with open arms and had lots for me to do. I worked with business development/project management to oversee both potential and operating energy projects (sPower has over 150 operating projects). Some of my various tasks included conducting “due diligence” as part of the acquisition process, finding the “right” numbers for the finance team so they could input them into their financial models, and assisting the accounting team with filing paperwork/documents into the appropriate dropbox files. It was a great experience because I got to participate in several different divisions of the company giving me a broad overview of how/what the company does.
The compiling effects of carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the atmosphere is the most severe threat facing our planet today. When I began to consider consensus predictions of energy consumption by source around the world in the next 30 years, I realized how urgent it is for businesses and policy leaders to do everything they can to accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources now.
I worked as a garden intern on Buttermilk Falls farm during the summer. It is a 200 member CSA located at Osceola, WI and uses biodynamic and organic farming practices to grow food. My main focus was vegetable production, including greenhouse management, direct seeding, making compost, weeding, and harvesting. Apart from working in the field, interacting with the farm community also made up a huge part of my farm life. The most memorable event was my cooking night. I made 22 people about 300 Chinese dumplings with the assistance of four other interns in less than five hours. It turned out to be a real success. Everyone was enchanted by the food and couldn’t stop raving about it. Surrounded by the pleasant atmosphere, we had our first bonfire of the summer after the meal. It was a great time to bond with the community and get away from the rigorous working routine. After that night, I felt more connected to everyone on the farm.