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

Notes from the Field: David Caldwell '16

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Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our Notes from the Field series. The Rockefeller Center helps students find, fund, and prepare for a leave-term internship experience in public policy research, public policy analysis, issue evaluation, or activities which help shape and determine public policy.

Student Intern: David Caldwell '16

Internship Organization:
CLT Joules

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
CLT Joules is an energy start-up incubator in Charlotte, North Carolina that develops entrepreneurs in the energy space. Its mission is "to enhance Charlotte’s position as a national energy leader by strengthening the energy innovation ecosystem through the development of energy entrepreneurs."

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I am researching and evaluating how state and local energy policies affect North Carolina and Charlotte as an emerging energy hub.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
I was a bit overwhelmed. There was a lot I needed to learn in order to have informed discussions with the energy start-ups in the building. Everyone has been very nice and helpful, however, in answering questions about North Carolina's energy landscape and pointing me in the right directions.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
I think the most rewarding part of the job has been the accumulation of information. I have learned so much about what is going on in the energy sector. I am getting to ask lobbyists and renewable energy start-up groups about issues such as how the dropping oil prices affect them, what fracking will mean for the area, and how renewable energy sources are competing with the huge supply and drop in price of natural gas.

What challenges have you faced so far?
Since there has been so much going in the energy space, finding the key issues as opposed to the peripheral ones has been challenging. I have tried to have the different people I interviewed narrow down that list by asking them what issues have the biggest effect on their job and company going forward.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to learn as much as I can about North Carolina and Charlotte energy policy as well as how those policies stack up against other solidified or emerging energy hubs.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship? Packing a lunch is a great way to have a flexible schedule so you can be pulled into meetings or work around the schedules of others.

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