Summer Interns share thoughts on their experience
Mid-August marked the end of the Center’s summer internships for the year. Dhiraj Adhikari, our Climate Advocacy Intern (as well as a past Student Ambassador), and Judith Marklin, our Communications Intern, joined CSCS for the past ten weeks. Dhiraj worked closely with Tammy Alexander, the Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs at the MCC office in Washington DC, while Judith worked with Daniel Bellerose, the Student Programs Coordinator and CSCS Program Assistant.
Tammy, Judith, Daniel, and Dhiraj meet for their weekly virtual check-ins.
Feeling grateful and lucky to receive the Climate Advocacy Internship, Dhiraj was excited to work in Washington DC. He was looking forward to making connections and experiencing life on the Hill. Due to COVID19, however, he ended up working remotely from his home in Austin, Texas. Nevertheless, Dhiraj is adamant that it was still an incredible experience that exceeded is expectations. During the summer, he spent most of his time in various meetings with different working groups and advocacy groups. Dhiraj also attended webinars, listened to many congressional hearings, and was able to meet with Senate staff. “I loved being a part of these meetings,” he explains, “as well as gaining knowledge in general and more information about advocacy.”
Dhiraj, who has a passion for the environment, noted that this internship will greatly help him in the work he hopes to do after he graduates. Not only did he make valuable connections, but he also “gained so much understanding of what it takes to be an environmental advocate and how much they do for their job.” One of his favorite parts of the program was researching Nepal, his home country, with the help of the MCC program coordinator in Nepal. Out of this research, he was able to write an article on the impacts of climate change in Nepal and the projects MCC is working on to help mitigate these devastating effects on local communities. “I really want to thank Daniel Bellerose and Tammy Alexander for all their help and support, [as well as] CSCS and MCC for the opportunity they provided me,” Dhiraj adds.
Judith was eager to work with the Center as the Communications Intern, even though she is not a huge fan of social media and hasn’t used Instagram for the past several years. However, her work this summer altered her original opinions regarding social media as she experienced the informative and encouraging messages that can be shared through this medium. Judith also spent time working on web design and helping Katie Isaac transfer her Creation Care Action Plans to our website. “It was wonderful to work with Katie and see the incredible results of her fellowship,” she stated. “Talk about inspiring!” Judith also created a resource on the intersection between racial justice and climate justice, which highlights the intersectionality of climate change.
While the pandemic changed this internship to a remote one, Judith was grateful for the experience regardless and the flexibility it allowed her. “In a weird way, this is exactly what I needed this summer. I was able to spend time at home, which I wasn’t expecting, and yet still have a sense of grounding, certainty, and purpose thanks to my work with CSCS,” she explains. This opportunity gave her invaluable connections to people and initiatives working in the realms of creation care and climate justice, which she believes will benefit her immensely in the years to come. Judith also mentioned that her supervisor, Daniel Bellerose, was “the real MVP.” “Without him,” she adds, “I would’ve be floundering! Daniel provided me with a sense of direction and offered helpful guidance and advice, while also giving me space to be creative and engage with the topics I am most passionate about.”
While we are sad to see them go, we wish that their final year before graduation (Dhiraj for undergraduate and Judith for graduate) goes well despite the current realities of COVID19. It was a pleasure working with them both, and we hope to see them again! We are always grateful for our interns, ambassadors, and fellows and are already looking forward to the students that will join us for next summer and the following year. That being said, please spread the word and check out our student engagement page for more information on these unique opportunities.