Aarti Singh is a second-year AFE student and interned as a Sustainability Fellow for the UNH Sustainability Institute. UNH’s fellowship is a national program that hosts students to work on transformative sustainability initiatives across different disciplines.
1. In just a few sentences, please tell us about your summer internship. How does it connect to your personal and professional interests?
The UNH Sustainability Fellows program offers opportunities for fellows to work on sustainability projects that have the potential for immediate impact. Fellows work with a mentor organization during their summer. I had a great time with my host organization, Bangor Savings Bank (BSB). I worked on a project that determined the optimal way to measure BSB’s environmental footprint and impact. I was involved in the development of a measurement scorecard that would assess the company’s future environmental impact.
2. How did you land your internship? (e.g., networking, searching on the BCC job board, etc.)
I got to know about this opportunity through our school alumni who participated in this fellowship. My classmate, Flaam, also guided me in this journey. She was in the cohort from last year’s fellowship program. I got a lot of support from the BCC with updating my resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile and in preparation for the interview.
3. What did you enjoy about your internship? What did you find challenging?
The main challenge was getting out of my comfort zone, especially when it came to working in a corporate setting. I had never worked in a corporate office before this experience. UNH offers virtual training sessions on communication and project management skills. At some points, it was a little overwhelming. But toward the end of my internship, everything started to make sense. The communication strategies that I picked up from the training sessions were very helpful. These skills made my work more impactful.
UNH provided us fellows with lots of professional opportunities. The midterm and final presentations allowed me to showcase my knowledge to the world. I met people in leadership positions from more than 20 companies to discuss careers and the future. UNH’s Sustainability Fellows group helped me connect with many people across the globe. Overall, it was a great experience.
4. What are the necessary soft and hard skills needed for this position?
Research skills, systematic literature reviews, statistics, data visualization, cost/benefit calculations, and adopting new practices into application in a corporate setting were some of the essential hard skills. Soft skills such as communication skills were important for my role as well. I interviewed and engaged with cross-functional leaders to gain different perspectives. After the research and analysis phases, I used my presentation skills to present my project. While I worked at UNH, I also learned a lot of new skills such as greenhouse reporting, greenhouse inventory designing, IPCC framework for greenhouse reporting, and project management.
5. If you could offer one piece of internship search advice to your peers, what would it be?
This is a competitive fellowship. But do not shy away from it, even if you feel like you have a limited technical understanding of the project – your vision and passion can take you a long way. Networking helps. Talking to industry stakeholders to discuss your future job interests and skills can be very helpful, too. While you are in the UNH program, you can always reach out for technical and project assistance from UNH advisors. Make friends with people across the university and learn about their projects. Just enjoy your time as an UNH fellow!