My Semester with the EPA

It was a snowy January day as I commuted on the metro towards the Federal Triangle station to report for my first day of my internship with the EPA. I soon realized that wearing a suit to work (even if it is your first day) in the creative work environment that is The Office of Web Communications was a bit of an oddity, especially when snow was falling. The team was quick to engage me in the ongoing work they do daily to make sure the web presence of the agency is always at its best. This work included, among other items, a much needed update of the EPA History Site, working to analyze trends in our social media outlets, and most recently working to assure the laboratory data from radiation testing on the EPA Japan Nuclear Emergency Site was available and promptly updated.

The history site renovations proved a fun and creative task, exploring ways to breathe life into a site which had been sitting idle for quite some time. Analyzing our social media outlets offered new lenses with which to view the use of social media in a business setting. While the task of filtering data for the Japan Nuclear Emergency gave me a glimpse of the great work the EPA does in times of emergencies to provide the public with all of the information in the best and most effective means possible. Not to mention that all this was happening with a looming threat of a government shutdown in which I witnessed the amount of time and effort that goes into preparations for a shutdown, which is a headache for everyone working in, or with the government.

Furthermore, through my internship with the EPA I was given the opportunity to attend a Committee on Agriculture hearing, at which Administrator Jackson testified, along with the ability to volunteer at the EPA Earth Day Event on the mall. The hearing was excellent because it allowed for me to personally experience the connection the agency shares with congress, while gaining a more in-depth knowledge of the agency itself. The EPA Earth Day Event, on the other hand, found me helping out our multimedia team creating and appearing in short “What I Want” videos. Volunteering at the EPA Earth Day Event gave me a chance to see the passion EPA employees have for the work that they do for the agency.

This past semester has proven time and time again to offer me many great possibilities to work on engaging projects with a fantastic group of people in a great agency. I would highly recommend an EPA internship, and specifically one with the great folks in the Office of Web Communications!

About the author: Ross Frei joined the EPA in January 2011. He is currently a Junior at Luther College where he is double majoring in Management and Economics with a minor in Environmental Studies. His passion for protecting the environment inspired him to spend the second semester of his junior year living in Washington D.C. interning at the EPA, while participating in the Lutheran College Washington Semester.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.