A few weeks into her internship at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Marissa Stanger, ’14, says she has learned a lot about the state agency and is hard at work on the independent project she will present to the district office at the end of the summer.
“I have gotten a great overview through field visits to landfills and recycling plants,” says Stanger, an environmental science major. “We’ve visited contamination sites and learned what it takes to clean up a contamination site.”
Her personal project involves the “Florida Green Lodging Program,” a voluntary initiative of the DEP that designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources.
“I am following up with big name hotels to get an idea of the amount of energy and money they have saved in the program,” she says. “I am learning a lot about sustainability and the green effort.”
Stanger is living at home and working Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Southeast Florida District Office in the Air, Water and Waste Management Department. She is receiving Reach Funding through the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center.
She and two other interns spend at least one day per week in the office and the rest in the field. Dress is business casual. The first day on the job they toured the building with the intern coordinator who introduced them to all of the department heads.
“Everyone has been so nice," Stanger says. “This is a great experience.” It has opened her mind to new career possibilities she says, “I never thought I’d be interested in a state job, I thought I would go to a non-profit. But everyone here is so passionate about what they do.”
She has worked with Career Center Counselor Cathy Tempest on interviewing techniques and cover letters. She targeted the DEP for her summer internship search, and found contact information for the internship coordinator on the website last fall. She sent a networking note, and eventually set up a successful interview over spring break.
Stanger will visit the career center this fall to begin her search for the next internship opportunity. She says she would like to experience something in the non-profit sector next summer, possibly in New York City.