Career Development: Internships
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"The Career Development team searched day and night for high caliber internships that could provide good foundations for our careers. They made sure we found an internship we were excited about that would also help us understand the sector we were exploring."Brenda Ponton, MESM 2013

Professional experience allows students to learn about a particular field, develop contacts, and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world situations. Coming out of a professional school with no practical experience and/or no internship experience is undesirable to most employers. In fact, practical experience ranks at the top of the list of what employers would like to see in job candidates.

As such, the Bren School places a strong emphasis on professional experience, and students are encouraged to complete an internship during the summer between their first and second years. The Career Development team works closely with students to help them secure rewarding internships in various sectors, organizations, and locations across the US and world depending on their interests and career goals.

of 1st year MESM students complete a summer internship each year
of MESM interns over the last 2 years received some sort of funding for their summer internships
Number of different countries students have interned in over the years
or more internships are Bren-facilitated each year (via alumni, Career Development postings, Group Projects, Corporate Partnerships, etc.)

Zach McKelvey (MESM 2016) looks for pteropods from the morning's plankton tow on the R/V Shearwater during a trip to the Channel Islands during his internship with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in Santa Barbara, CA.

MESM 2016 Heather Hochrein inside the PG&E office in San Francisco where she completed an internship in the Energy Procurement department. As a Climate Policy Summer Intern, Heather performed research and analysis regarding the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan. "I learned so much about the electric sector and climate policy," says Heather. "It was also very relevant to [EVMatch], my Eco-Entrepreneurship project."

At a biofuels conference in Washington, DC, Julia Paltseva (MESM 2016) poses by a surfboard made entirely of algae. "Algae and their byproducts are a potential biofuels source, and the surfboard is very California," says Julia, who worked on Indonesian biofuels policy during her internship with the International Council on Clean Transportation in Washington, DC.

MESM 2016 Cameron Dunning selects the flag of the United States from a sea of world flags on display at his internship organization, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.

During her internship with The Wine Group in Ripon, CA, Natalie Cochron (MESM 2016) made ArcGIS maps of the group's California wineries and vineyards. Here she takes a GPS reading next to a 130-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vine known as the "Mother Vine" because it is the origin of 3 clone varieties that make up 80% of all Cabernet Sauvinon grown in California.

Cody Wilgus (MESM 2016) takes dissolved oxygen and conductivity measurements to calibrate the data loggers deployed at a site on the Ventura River as part of his internship with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.

MESM 2016 Martin Merz's internship with American Rivers in Seattle, WA included a month-long trip through Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, and Montana. "We went to Camp Verde, AZ to interview farmers and water trust practitioners who work with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to restore flows to the Verde River. While we were there, TNC was installing their first pilot drip irrigation project where the conserved water will be placed back instream. They needed volunteers for the installation, so we worked on the project and in return the farmers were more willing to be interviewed by us," says Martin.

Michelle Graff (MESM 2016) in Boston, MA, where she did energy efficiency work for the City of Boston's Environment Department.

Jen Kidson and Geoff Willard (both MESM 2016) on Lake Cachuma during their internship with the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board (COMB) in Santa Barbara, CA.

MESM 2016 Michael Millstein in the office at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he worked on energy efficiency projects for UCLA Health through the EDF Climate Corps Fellowship Program.

Erica Felins (MESM 2016) holds an American eel making its way back to the ocean to spawn during her internship with The Nature Conservancy in Block Island, RI. "We [found] super cool stuff (both expected and unexpected!), says Erica of working with Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management to monitor The Great Salt Pond's juvenile fish population.

David Gruen (MESM 2016) fly fishing on the Yellowstone River in Montana during intern day with his internship organization, Trout Unlimited, and Montana Aquatic Resources Services.

MESM 2016 Jane Ballard removing pesky Arundo donax from the Santa Clara River with the UCSB Marine Science Institute's Riparian InVasion Research Lab.

Read stories about international summer internships from years past:
Building a Coral Nursery in the Dominican Republic
Water Issues in New Zealand
On the Road in Southern Chile
Trial by Fire in London and other international internships