During the summer, I started an internship with FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS). I pursued an internship at FCS because I thought it would be a great experience and give me insight into the inner workings and operations of an Environmental Consulting company.
FCS is a company that operates to create sustainable solutions for their clients. Similarly, I am interested in sustainability–specifically the mediation of pollution and contamination of water that is currently a substantial issue in the United States. In a separate internship for WaterFunder, I wrote about promoting water equity and inclusion and dove into water issues around the world linking possible solutions to problems through the use of new innovative technology.
What drew me to Environmental Consulting and Environmental Services?
My interest in Environmental Science began after taking a class during my Senior year of high school. From there I went on to start my undergraduate study as an undeclared Environmental Science major at the University of San Diego. Through my first two years of studying Environmental Science, I attempted to narrow my interest for a possible career and found that I wanted to be involved in helping the environment in many different ways. At first glance, Environmental Consulting seemed to be a pathway that would allow my involvement in a variety of areas in sustainable development and sustainable business practices.
How has COVID-19 Impacted my Experience as an Intern?
An internship during COVID-19 has been extremely different from what I initially anticipated. I expected to be in an office space where I would interact with people and feel the flow of how businesses normally operate. While I didn’t gain an in-person experience from the internship, overall, I don’t think my experience was hindered by the pandemic. While meeting everyone strictly over Zoom and corresponding over email felt unconventional, it was not any different from the second half of my Spring semester.
It also let me enjoy the internship and treat the job as an opportunity to learn and immerse myself in a new system.
The current remote culture has provided me with opportunities to attend City Council meetings that enabled me to understand how businesses and people work with their City to get approval on their proposed projects. If the meetings had been in-person, I would not have had the opportunity to attend because of their varying locations. Over the past month, I assisted various team members with projects to lighten their workload and expedite some processes. Due to COVID-19, I worked fewer hours. At first this seemed like a negative effect. However, the lighter workload meant less pressure and allowed me to have a much more balanced approach to work and daily life. It also let me enjoy the internship and treat the job as an opportunity to learn and immerse myself in a new system.
What are my Key Takeaways?
This internship gave me access to an abundance of information on the ins and outs of Environmental Consulting, as I saw how team members communicated with cities and the State to comply with regulations while also being in touch with their clients. Gaining a first-hand perspective of how each team at FCS brought their specific talents to the firm—from Visuals to Cultural Resources to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)—was amazing. Seeing all the skilled team members also provided insight on what valuable skills I should focus on before I graduate from college and enter the job market.
Before this internship, I was interested in the possibility of a career in Environmental Consulting because of its broad reach and involvement with many environmental concerns. Throughout the internship, I was able to see how vast a reach FCS has, as they are involved in various areas—whether it be from noise levels of potential projects to the possibility of finding cultural artifacts on project sites. Another interesting aspect of FCS is how they interact with so many different people such as clients, government officials, and even people that could possibly be affected by new projects.
The services FCS offers in environmental planning and management help to create sustainable solutions that are affordable, sensible, and decrease environmental impact. I saw this in many instances, such as reaching out to Native American Tribes near a potential project site to confirm the land was not of significant tribal value, and in public hearings where members of the FCS team answered questions for clients to inform public attendees and commissioners of possible concerns and determining how they could be mediated. Overall, this internship has furthered my inclination to pursue a career in Environmental Consulting.
FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) offers a full complement of efficient, practical, and cost-effective services to assess and manage the environmental impact of new and modified projects. Are you interested in joining our collaborative team? We are always on the lookout for sharp, energetic team members to share their ideas and make an impact. Check out our current career opportunities to learn more.