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

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: ZACHARY BERKOW '20

Zachary Berkow '20 American Rivers

Zachary Berkow '20 interns at American Rivers as a Government Relations intern during the Winter of 2019.

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Zachary Berkow '20 interned at American Rivers as a Government Relations intern during the 2019 winter term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.

This winter I was a Government Relations Intern at American Rivers. American River’s mission is to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserve clean water for people and nature through a combination of fieldwork in key river basins and national advocacy (americanrivers.org). Within American Rivers, I reviewed Congressional hearings, tracked and analyzed legislation, and researched legislative and policy positions to advise American Rivers’ Government Relations staff. For example, I delivered memos on the Recovering America’s Wilderness Bills, the Little River Wilderness Management Area, and the related environmental positions of incoming Congress members. I also wrote a final report investigating Massachusetts’ relation with Hydro-Quebec and wrote summaries of Congress legislative hearings on topics such as infrastructure, global sea level rise, and the energy water-nexus.

As a winter Government Relations Intern at American Rivers, I reviewed Congressional hearings, tracked and analyzed legislation, and researched legislative and policy positions to advise American Rivers’ Government Relations staff. Through this experience, I interacted with a number of individuals to forward American River’s mission. This following report presents a balanced report of my internship experience. I specifically enjoyed summarizing Supreme Court briefs. For example, one of the Supreme Court briefs I summarized concerned land rights for the Creek Indians. If the court ruled in favor of the Creek, their reservation boundaries would include the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Moreover, I also enjoyed meeting other individuals within public policy. In February, I attended a meeting of a working group of organizations concerned with river policy. One of the main questions raised was on educating new members of hydropower nuances, especially within the context of hydropower in The Green New Deal. Lastly, I was amazed when all of our policy work came to fruition. For instance, S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation Management and Recreation Act became law in March. This law protects multiple rivers which American Rivers had been striving to protect for decades. The resulting in-office celebrations and social media post I got to write fueled my passion for science translated into effective conservation policy.

Overall, I derived lessons from this experience which I will apply to both my academic and work life. Academically, I have gained an appreciation of how my study and research in earth science can be applied to create impactful public policy. Lastly, I would like to thank the Rockefeller Center for providing me with a grant to experience my passions for the science which led to the lobbying versus the mechanics of passing bills through the federal government.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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