Contribution by: Deena John
1. Where are you currently interning and what are you doing?
I currently work at the City of Dayton in the Sustainability office. I am managing a couple of projects through our office, mostly focused on energy. My main projects are looking at placing solar on city-owned property and restarting aggregation within Dayton so that all City of Dayton residents will be using 100% renewable energy. I also work on assisting the Sustainability Manager in writing resolutions for the City Commission and applying for grant opportunities. The most important part of my job is ensuring that everything we do is done through an equity lens. While my projects are still relatively internal currently, the more projects I am able to do with the community will ensure that I am able to get as much community support.
2. How is it helping you reach your career goals?
This position has really solidified that this is what I want to be doing when I am older. I hope to be in a similar position as a sustainability manager for a City one day, so getting hands on experience has been extremely important!
3. Do you plan on staying in the Dayton region?
I hope so! Jobs in the sustainability field are limited in Dayton, but if one opens up, I would like to stay!
4. Tell me a little bit about what you’ve learned throughout the course of the internship.
I have learned so much, I don’t really know where to start! To begin with, I have learned a lot about City governments and how they function. I love how the people that work for the City of Dayton truly care about the best interests of the residents and work tirelessly with limited resources to help make Dayton great. Learning about the importance of local politics and how it interconnects with national, state, and local policies has been incredibly interesting. Within the sustainability field, the largest skill I have learned is probably about renewable energy and renewable energy installation. I feel confident talking about it from many different lenses- financial, technical, renewable policy, etc. I think for the position I am in, I still have a lot to learn but I feel that I can understand and push the project forward where I could not really do that at the beginning of my internship.
5. Tell me about how SOCHE has helped you find the internship placement (especially during COVID).
With COVID, my funding for graduate school was potentially going to get cut, and I was very nervous about my financial stability. SOCHE not only connected me to my dream internship but also gave me a sense of financial security when I didn’t have it!
6. Is your internship online or a blend of both and is that working well?
It is a blend of both and it is working really well! I enjoy going into the office but also working from home.
7. Why do you think it helps to learn on the job?
Obviously, when you start working at any job, there are things that you can only learn in that position. This internship has helped me understand what skills I really need to focus on enhancing and what I already do well. By learning on the job, you are able to enhance a skill set and learn more than you would if you were in a classroom. Therefore, the experiential learning aspect of the internship is crucial.
8. What have you been able to accomplish so far at your internship?
I have done a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that will be coming to fruition after the first of the year. If all goes well, getting passed by the City Commission (which I am hopeful it will!) My main accomplishments will be restarting aggregation, writing the climate emergency resolution, and completing the techno-economic feasibility study for solar at the golf courses. So far, my main public accomplishment of the internship was being a co-author on the Sustainability Strategy that was passed by the Commission in August. The grant I wrote on behalf of the City was funded, so the City will be awarded $50,000 from the US Conference of Mayors sustainability grant. View the details of the award here.
The Intern Spotlight Series are interviews conducted with current and past SOCHE Interns, discussing the value of their on-the-job experience at their internship.
If you are interested in hiring an intern, contact Patty Buddelmeyer at email@example.com or (937) 258-8890.
If you are interested in applying for a SOCHE Internship, go to www.socheintern.org.