Notes from the Field: Kathryn Gardner '17

Kathryn Gardner '17 interned at the Office of Environmental Policy (OEPC) during the 2016 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

The Office of Environmental Policy (OEPC) in San Francisco is one of eight regional offices run by the United States Department of the Interior (DOI). The OPEC aims to protect natural and cultural resources by ensuring compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and works with other DOI bureaus on environmental projects and emergency response. During my time as a Regional Environmental Intern, I worked in a variety of different capacities. I used the National Response Call database where emergencies such as oil spills are reported and ensured that information was disseminated to the proper bureaus so that cleanup could be coordinated. I compiled comments from DOI bureaus for Environmental Reviews that are a central part of the NEPA compliance process of getting a project approved. Other tasks included working with the office interns to create the California Drought Newsletter, a monthly report submitted by our office to chronicle the actions being taken by DOI bureaus to address the drought. This process consisted of research, summarizing current events, and copy-editing. I lead our office’s communication with the Renewable Energy Action Team by participating in conference calls. Finally, I attended a variety of meetings hosted by other state federal agencies in the Bay Area addressing topics such as earthquake response, emergency planning, and climate change.

The learning continued beyond the walls of my office as well. This was my first opportunity to live independently in a city, and I took full advantage of the adventures that resulted. Spending time budgeting, cooking, exploring a new place on foot and via public transportation, and meeting as many new people as possible made this summer unforgettable and gave me a newfound sense of confidence. I explored my passion for zero waste in multiple capacities, and now have a more distinct vision of the kind of career I want to have. It reaffirmed my love for the environment, and my dream of changing the way that people interact with the resources that this earth provides. I want to continue working with people and environmental policy and putting myself in situations where I can constantly learn, receive feedback, and improve. 

None of the above would have been possible without my grant from the Rockefeller Center and all of the guidance that came with it, for which I am deeply grateful. I will not soon forget my summer in San Francisco as a Regional Environmental Intern, and am so excited by the idea that other Dartmouth students can have a similarly formative experience because of the Rockefeller Center Intern Program.