Intern Name: Valerie Doze
Title/Place of Internship: International Affairs Intern at the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?
Through the Jackson Fellows Program, I was fortunate to participate in the Washington D.C. Summer Study Program, through which I interned at AHRI in Arlington, VA this past Summer 2019.
I knew that I wanted an internship working with climate or healthcare policy, so I looked through the D.C. Program’s binder of past student memos about their internships. I knew another Biochemistry major who had interned at AHRI previously, and I read CSB/SJU alums’ descriptions of interning there. I decided to apply and ultimately intern at AHRI because I wanted more experience with International Relations, and I wanted to learn about the connection between trade policy and climate policy, as well as see how my major relates to the policy field.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?
AHRI has a strong internship program, so I was able to have multiple research, professional development, and administrative responsibilities. My main project consisted of creating documents for nine major future markets for AHRI member products. These documents will guide staff and members about which institutions are involved in the development and enforcement of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), as well as which institutions in different countries are in charge of standardization and certification of heating and cooling products.
I also had the opportunity to attend meetings and webinars on topics related to trade, energy efficiency policy, and the International Affairs Department’s work. Additionally, I helped created a new HVACR study guide for technicians seeking qualifications in the field and performed other office duties to assist the department.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?
Learning different aspects of professional writing helped me advance both my academic and professional skills. Not only did I practice technical, concise writing for my main project throughout the summer, but I also gained experience taking notes and writing a memo that was sent to the International Affairs Department. Additionally, through helping compile different sections of the new HVACR study guide, I improved both my writing and reading skills pertaining to consolidating large amounts of information into pertinent materials.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.?
Trade policy can be fascinating! This past summer, there were sometimes multiple new developments each week regarding U.S. trade policy that would affect AHRI’s domestic and international members. Climate policy also relates to a huge variety of fields, and there are many ways to approach climate policy through a career. I had the opportunity to attend a meeting at the State Department in preparation to the Montreal Protocol’s 41st Open-Ended Working Group as well as a Trade Forum at NAM (National Association of Manufacturers), and it was interesting to see how companies’ interests must be taken into account when enacting climate policy, as well as how the implementation of climate policy occurs at the international level.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?
In my major, and in my future career, the research skills I obtained at AHRI will be applicable. Additionally, practicing technical writing and reading will help me analyze others’ research, whether it be in the natural sciences, political science, or policy fields. There will always be some new material to research and read, and the learning curve that I experienced at AHRI will also help me comfortably navigate new information.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?
Ask questions and apply! There are resources through the Jackson Fellows Program, D.C. Program, and XPD to help you sort through your interests and find internships that relate to your future career and help you grow academically, personally, and professionally. Apply for different forms of funding to help support your internship during the summer but also know that there are CSB/SJU professors who will help you as well.
Most importantly, apply for internships that you truly want, even if you do not think you have all of the qualifications. Students receive internships a lot even when they do not have all the qualifications that are listed – put yourself and your resume out there!