An Unexpected Experience at EPA

By Anna McGill

When I started my Summer Internship with EPA, I was completely unsure of what to expect. As an economics major, environmental science is not exactly my forte. Yes, I recycle. I try and use less energy and I take public transportation, but I still wasn’t sure how I would hold up among the “greenest” people in the country. I realized, however, that the EPA is responsible for so much more than advocating reusable water bottles or special light bulbs. The people I have worked with this summer have shown me that EPA is genuinely concerned about the health of America and its people, and is striving to teach all of us how we can all help ensure health and happiness for future generations as well.

The efforts of EPA are endless. EPA is not simply filled with scientists conducting experiments, although our country depends on their research—it is filled with people working on numerous topics. If there is one thing I will take away from my experience this summer at EPA, it is the magnitude and depth of the work being pursued by the employees. Some are negotiating with other countries to make sure that the fruit you had for breakfast this morning does not contain an unsafe level of pesticide residues. Others are helping communities and companies take the steps towards sustainability. Some are testifying before Congress. Some are informing the public about potentially harmful chemicals that can be found in our homes and products we use every day, and pushing forward on improving chemical safety. They are keeping tabs on chemicals few of us can even pronounce, while also investigating the newest technologies that can save us valuable time, energy and resources.

This summer I have learned that taking steps to be green are small but helpful contributions toward EPA’s mission: ensuring a healthy, safe, sustainable future for all of us. Even though my time at the EPA is coming to a close, I am certain that the people I have met and worked with this summer will continue advocating for every American. And even though I still can’t seem pronounce the names of some of those chemicals, I know that the professionals at EPA are working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy, and that is something to be proud of and thankful for.

About the author: Anna is a summer intern in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. She is double majoring in International Politics and Economics and will be a senior at Penn State University this fall.