Earth Economics has long managed a robust internship program that provides training and practical experience to undergraduate and post-doc students. Internship experiences have motivated graduate degrees, new career focuses and passions, and long term positions with Earth Economics.
The following post was written by Alia Kabir, a 2017 Summer Intern and a current Junior at the University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, WA.
When I first started my development internship at Earth Economics, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew I loved Economics classes at the University of Puget Sound (I had declared the subject as my major), but I hadn’t really seen many of its applications. Or I hadn’t seen any that I’d found particularly exciting, anyway. Classes typically revolved around historical models based on narratives that were often hard to imagine in the real world.
Before starting at Earth Economics, I was interested in how economics could be used to solve the environmental crisis, but I had never heard about ecological economics. I learned so much terminology in my first week, looking up new words left and right during meetings. But once I became more comfortable, I wanted to learn everything. I appreciated the efforts of every employee to expose me to their different roles, work, and thoughts. I learned about what goes into valuing an ecosystem, the beauty of GIS (which I now really want to take a course in), and the constant cycle of fundraising.
I’ve been struggling with which path I want to pursue after college. Before, I was interested in public health and global healthcare, but after one chemistry class, I switched my major to economics. After this summer and my fundraising and development experience at Earth Economics, more concrete career options have begun to surface.
I enjoyed learning about nonprofit operations and the fundraising process, which I hadn’t considered much before. Learning about grant writing helped me understand Earth Economics’ current and potential projects. I had several other tasks, like reorganizing Excel sheets to improve templates for budgets, researching new potential grants, and updating Salesforce to add clients and reflect the most recent progress in fundraising. I also did some research on ornithology and research trends for a project, which was particularly fun because I had never read much about birds before. Overall, I appreciated being able to contribute through small tasks while also getting an insight into the bigger picture. Through this internship, I gained a window into potential careers and their day-to-day operations.
One last thing that really stuck with me was the work environment. I love the outdoors, and I’m happy to trade the sunny California days I grew up with for the Washington rain if it means I get to play in the mountains. I was thrilled to see people passionate about their work, contributing to their field, while also achieving work-life balance. To me that is the ultimate goal—to love my work without sacrificing my life. I am now going into my junior year of college with more direction, and I plan to pursue ecological economics further in grad school.