The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2015 First-Year Fellow: Connie Lee '18

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to maintain a healthy environment, which involves both short-term standards like drinking water safety and long-term projections like climate change mitigation. The Office of Children’s Health Protection, where I worked as a First-Year Fellow this summer, specifically looks at environmental impacts that disproportionately impact children’s health. It considers many different types of regulations (air quality standards, toxin limits, etc.) and evaluates the health risks these regulations would bring to children.

Connie Lee '18 and her mentor Matt Davis MPH '09.

My experience at the EPA has already inspired me to jump onto a new project that works with a different aspect of environmentalism. I’m helping develop a project with The Climate Institute, an environmental nonprofit started by John Topping (Dartmouth ’64), to create a business incubator for small, clean-energy businesses in the Southeast. The project is still in its initial stages, but I’ll be able to apply both my environmental policy knowledge from the EPA as well as the project management and work skills I have developed from my internship.

The most rewarding part of my internship was learning how to adapt to a professional working environment. Projects are often less structured, because they fill a real need rather than specific instructions from a professor, so it was exciting for me to learn how to use the flexibility to create the best product.

I learned a lot about working, professionalism, and living on my own throughout my fellowship, but the most important thing I learned was about what drew different people to their careers. Everyone in my office had a different reason for working at the EPA, and this drove their goals for themselves and their work. I found the same in Dartmouth alums and other DC professionals whom I met. I think that learning about different people’s paths was particularly important to me because it gave me reassurance that people from all sorts of college degrees and life experiences could still find a place to do what they’re passionate about, and it gave me hope for the future that if we have a lot of passionate people working hard at something, we might be able to make changes.
-Written by Connie Lee '18
This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

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