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SUST4096: Sustainability Internship

Tell me a little about who you are. 

So, my name is Molly McMullen and I am from Buffalo, Minnesota which is about an hour straight West, a little Northwest of the cities here. I grew up on a farm, and I’m a senior this year studying biology in CBS as well as leadership and sustainability studies. I was originally pre-med, and about a year ago I took a Grand Challenge Course that made me realize my passion for environmental justice, and so I decided to take on the opportunity here with Energy Transition Lab to learn more about the clean energy transition in Minnesota.

Tell me about where you were placed and what you have been doing. 

So, with the Energy Transition Lab, I have been working on digging into the economics of solar farms and specifically looking at the tax revenue impacts for solar development in communities. Additionally, I have been looking at land tradeoffs with land used for corn production, specifically for ethanol versus land used for solar development, and the connection with electric vehicles and what is a more efficient way to utilize land. 

How has this internship experience impacted you? Has it changed any aspects of your future career plans? 

My experience with the Energy Transition Lab has given me a better idea of what I want to do in my future. I’m really interested in research with policy goals in mind and utilizing science from different stakeholders and organizations to work towards those different policy goals. My internship has given me a better idea of what I want to do in the future and, specifically, I have realized that I want to pursue a career that involves bridging both research and policy. Working at the Energy Transition Lab has also made me realized that I really enjoy collaborating and working with others, and that is definitely something that I want to look for in a career in the future. In conclusion, SUST4096 has made me realize that I would really like to a career that involves environmental policy.

What has been your experience working with the 4096 cohort? How have the other students supported your experience?

I’ve really enjoyed my experience with SUST4096, it’s been really great getting to work with others and share our experiences in our different internships and collaborate with each other and reflect throughout the semester on the work that we’re doing and how that can transcend into our experiences in the future. I didn’t think that I would be able to have the opportunity to take on an internship position, especially through the semester being a full-time student, but SUST4096 allowed me the opportunity to do so with flexibility and convenience throughout my other coursework.

Interested in finding out more about what internship opportunities are available for students? Go to z.umn.edu/sust4096options

Unpaid SUST4096 internships are eligible for an Ecolab scholarship. Go to https://environment.umn.edu/leadership/ecolab-experiential-education-scholarships/ to find out more.

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