The Bard Center for Environmental Policy hosted their annual internship dinner last night to welcome back their second year masters students. The Class of 2013 returned to campus last week to begin their last semester of classes and finish writing their masters level theses.
First year Bard CEP students who attended the dinner learned tips to getting an ideal internship, carving out your place in an organization, as well helpful hints and advice in working towards the goal of environmental leadership. A common theme among all the internship stories was to be tenacious and don’t be afraid to go above and beyond for your boss!
Peace Corps volunteer and Master’s International student, Karen Corey, spent over two years in Samoa, an island halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, teaching English as a Second Language and working on village/community development. Karen worked on village projects focused on improving drinking water quality, improving household waste collection, and environmental education. Her advice to future MI students was to be flexible when developing projects and activities. She said, “What you want to do is not important. What your community wants and needs is the key.”
Combining your passions is key to a successful internship. Second year student Tim Maher did just that at his internship with the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute. He said, “My advice for the first years would be to shoot for the moon. Find an organization where you would be passionate to work and avoid settling.”
From India and Peru to Mexico and Uganda, Bard CEP students travel great distances to secure unique internship experiences. Catherine Munyua worked with Invested Development in Uganda, researching new energy technologies and talking to entrepreneurs about how their technology will help energy needs among the poor. Sebastian Pillitteri worked at the Institute of Nature and Society of Oaxaca, which is a non-profit organization working to restore the ability of the Rio Verde Atoyac Watershed to provide enough drinkable water for the people residing in the watershed.
He said, “I always volunteered to go visit communities, get lunch, help out with some project around town, etc. Being accepting and willing of situations that come your way, even if they are strange, new or not exactly what you had in mind, will be a huge bonus in adjusting to your new job, internship or country.”
People and Carnivores intern turned employee Amy Robinson emphasized the importance of wearing ‘many hats’ when working for a new organization. From social media and website development to creating educational documents and engaging with other foundations and private landowners, Amy was able to use her Bard CEP course work to become an integral part of her organization. “Never underestimate where your connections may lead you. Maintain and foster,” said Amy.
Sometimes your internship role changes over the course of your employment with your organization. Christine Pizzuti learned this in her internship with Continental Organics, the largest aquaponics farm in the United States. Christine was initially drawn to the company’s new farming technology, lack of pesticide use and resource conservation. However, she quickly found herself involved in a more hands on role (mainly, picking and packing tons of basil) and realizing that the company was facing USDA issues, as well as a major policy issue dealing with the overall lack of organic standards for soil-less crops. Realizing her Bard CEP background was not being fully utilized, she took a new approach to her internship, informing her supervisors that she had a policy background and could write and analyze important data and documents that would help the company. Her tenaciousness paid off and she now works for them. Her important advice for first year students, “Take control. This is your only internship.”
For more information about the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, student internships, or other program questions, visit our website here: www.bard.edu/cep