http://www.epa.gov

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Intern

May - July 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Learned a different side of the sustainability world.

What I wish was different

Federal government is slow and frustrating, but an important experience to have!

Advice

Ask for projects and access! This is a unique opportunity.
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Intern

June - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Location is great to learn more about policy. People at the EPA are very friendly and helpful.

What I wish was different

Office was in transition, so I did not learn much from the office itself.

Advice

Take advantage of the location in DC to go to events and hearings.
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Engineering Intern

May 2019 • Ann Arbor, MI

What I liked

I liked the flexibility and supportive atmosphere my colleagues provided.

What I wish was different

HR's requirements in terms of paperwork and waiting to hear about next steps tends to be quite slow, although that is definitely not something that only impacted me.

Advice

People are willing to help you if you asked for it.
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Student Intern

June - July 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

A great working environment, excellent and kind staff, many events for interns to attend, etc. The EPA is a great place to start in the federal bureaucracy

What I wish was different

The security clearance process took up more time than I would like to admit.

Advice

Be sure to bring all your identification along with a steady supply of notebook paper. The sooner you can get yourself to work, the better your time there will be
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pathways intern

June 2020 • San Francisco, CA

What I liked

I really enjoyed the responsibility I was given. My supervisor was very nice and recognized my abilities so I was able to do a lot of important projects. I really felt like I was contributing to the EPA's overall mission.

What I wish was different

I wish it was in person so I could get a physical sense of what it's like working in a United States Federal Agency.

Advice

Be patient. Government internships send decisions out really late. I didn't find out until May that I got the position. Also, even as an intern you have to deal with the bureaucracy. Things progress slowly, there are a lot of middle men, but you just need to get used to it.
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IT Specialist

June 2020 • Ann Arbor, MI

What I liked

I loved the people that I worked with. The atmosphere was encoring to questions. The goal of the team is to help you figure out what you’re good at and put you in a position for you to do that.

What I wish was different

I wish it could have been a more hands-on experience, but the pandemic kept that from happening.

Advice

You know a lot more than you think. It may take someone giving you an assignment to work on for you to figure it out, but you belong here.
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Smart Sectors Intern

June - August 2021 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I worked specifically with the Smart Sectors Program (SSP) within the EPA's Office of Policy. The best part of the experience was the people I worked with and learned from. Terrific group of people: incredibly kind and supportive; and they were also really knowledgeable, passionate about, and dedicated to their work and area of expertise. Working with SSP was a great learning experience because it focuses on a wider variety of environmental sectors (different industries), a broader focus than some other EPA offices. And it was really fun and enjoyable working with the SSP Team. They added a lot of opportunities to socialize and get to know the other team members.

What I wish was different

Nothing really. Even though it was a fully remote position, that wasn't a big deal because the staff did so much to support collaboration, communication, and team-building, really making the most of the virtual setting to make it feel like an in-person one. The internship did come at a time when the direction and focus for many offices within the EPA were somewhat in flux due to the transition of a new administration; I actually didn't perceive any disorganization, but the EPA staff said they thought our time in SSP (Smart Sectors Program, where I interned) was a bit disorganized. So I could see how other EPA interns might have wished it was more organized, even if I personally didn't perceive that need.

Advice

Don't be afraid to ask questions; on the contrary, you want to learn as much as possible during the internship (which flew by really quickly), so try to ask as many questions and get as much information as you can.
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Intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I loved learning about the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and learning how to process a FOIA request.

What I wish was different

Nothing!

Advice

Take advantage of all the intern events!
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T1 Chemist

May 2019 • Cincinnati, OH

What I liked

Over my summer, I started a job at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is a large step for any environmental studies major. A main reason I had chosen going to the University of Cincinnati was because of the research center next door, but had only dreamed I would find myself there before graduation. I got to learn the ins and outs of the EPA, as well as assisting in high profile research. One of the best parts was getting to help solve the Flint Michigan project, and being one of the only scientists in the nation working on it.

What I wish was different

If I could change anything, it would be more high paced. I love the work we are doing, and I am very passionate about our research, but with any research it is not very high paced. There is no adrenaline rush you get from science, but it is phenomenal.

Advice

Always shoot your shot. When I was applying for summer jobs, I was looking for something to pay the bills. I applied to places all around Clifton-- Target, Starbucks, Currito, the Rec center, but had just thrown my application at the EPA least expecting a response due to qualifications. However, within weeks I was starting the background check paperwork for a job I had only thought was in my dreams. My advice is to never sell yourself short and the world might surprise you.
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Engineering Intern

June 2019 • Ann Arbor, MI

What I liked

The employees are all friendly and understanding. I don't feel a lot of pressure and they are all very encouraging.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Administrative Assistant Intern

June - August 2019 • Raleigh, NC

What I liked

I liked the hands on approach of my supervisors and those I worked With. I was the youngest in the office and only intern so I received a lot of professional advice.

What I wish was different

I wish there was more continuity in my tasks.

Advice

Apply early! The on boarding process is long because it’s a government internship.
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Summer Intern

May - August 2019 • Dallas, TX

What I liked

I loved being able to create relationships with all the employees of Region 6. I not only gained extremely valuable information but I also developed a deeper understanding for my future goals and career.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have been able to stay longer or perhaps throughout the school year!

Advice

I would say definitely come into this experience with an open mind! No two days in the office are going to be the exact same! Each day there is a new opportunity to learn from so definitely take advantage of it!
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PATHWAYS Student

May - December 2019 • Ann Arbor, MI

What I liked

The workplace environment was very friendly.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Public Affairs Intern

May - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Very experiential-- lots of capital hill and government training.

What I wish was different

I wish I had been given a more challenging work load at times

Advice

NETWORK!
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Communications Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The experience of working of DC and building a network there. Being engaged in the EPA meant that I felt my work was meaningful.

What I wish was different

Nothing

Advice

Apply for DC Flyers! Finding support programs made this experience possible and affordable. Investigate opportunities to make the summer more meaningful or affordable before you begin applying to specific opportunities.
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Policy and Communications Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I got to have a very hands-on experience while there. I sat in on many meetings with various offices and departments. I got to do research on what I wanted to do and I learned a lot.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have been paid.

Advice

Ask for work and if they have nothing to give you, create your own work doing your own research.
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Federal Policy Intern

June - July 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Working in such vibrant city such as D.C. was such welcoming and fun experience with the opportunity to get involved in campaigns and other protests!

What I wish was different

Advice

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Clinical legal intern

May - August 2017 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I loved the atmosphere of working with last students in lawyers and the types of work that different people inside the office of enforcement compliance assurance were working on.

What I wish was different

I wish that I hadn’t been placed in the planning measuring an oversight division because it had a large focus on data and I am definitely not someone who wants to work with data for the rest of my life.

Advice

As my internship director used to say you’re not working unless you’re not working! Get out there and tell people what you think you want to do and they all want to help you with your future goals.
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Student Trainee

June 2016 - January 2017 • Ann Arbor, MI

What I liked

Everything! Learned a lot and it truly opened doors for me.

What I wish was different

That I received a full time position offer. Hiring freeze happened, so I couldn't receive an offer at the time.

Advice

Work hard, it pays off!
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Intern

June - August 2017 • Washington, DC

What I liked

My supervisor was fantastic and really gave us hands-on experience working in a government agency. We were able to fully engage with all the division staff in weekly meetings. They brought us in to do strategic planning, which I think was a two-fold experience. We were able to learn about strategic planning and the structure of EPA but also contribute greatly to the success of the department through our work in strategic planning.

What I wish was different

I wish we had more time to finish our project!

Advice

Find a great supervisor to work with that has had Penn interns before (because they know the value). Also, take tons of initiative because this role gives you a lot of time and space to generate new ideas to pitch or research to do.
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