My Summer as an EPA Intern

By Danielle Nichols

As I finished up my final assignments and cleared out my cubicle, I could not help but be amazed at how quickly time flew during my summer at EPA headquarters. I felt as if I had just started and was already saying my goodbyes. (You can read my earlier blog about why I wanted to intern at EPA.) Although it was time for me to start my fall semester, I knew that I wanted to return to the agency. Being from New Jersey, I’m interested in learning more about how EPA affects my region and am planning to intern in EPA’s New York regional office next year.

Unlike most organizations that assign interns with bottom of the totem pole type work, the Office of Water communications staff welcomed me as a team member and encouraged me to share my skills and ideas. I suggested content for social media posts, edited the Office of Water’s “Water Headlines” e-newsletter, assisted with Twitter chats, and analyzed social media trends.

Being an environmental science major, my coursework tends to focus less on communication and outreach, and more on the scientific background. By working on a communications team, I developed skills that are incredibly useful in organizing the environmental campaigns I’m involved with on campus.

Although I provided input, I feel that EPA has given me much more in return. EPA organized multiple workshops and networking opportunities for interns. I learned how to apply for federal jobs, how to present briefings, interviewing techniques, and many other useful skills. Additionally, I attended meetings and conferences that I was interested in. I was also able to talk to employees of diverse backgrounds and was exposed to many career possibilities.

I strongly encourage any students interested in environmental studies, and its national application, to consider an internship here at EPA. I believe that no other organization could have provided me with such a vast amount of environmental knowledge, networking links, and career guidance.

About the author: Danielle Nichols is a rising senior at William Paterson University majoring in environmental science with an honors concentration in life science and environmental ethics and a minor in political science.  Outside of academic work, she enjoys organizing several environmental campaigns on campus.