Environment & Sustainability BDP student Julianna Maxwell completed an internship with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), promoting and administering the Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program. She was able to put her communication background to use in a professional setting and considered ways to advocate for sustainability while meeting corporate needs.
How did you find your internship?
This past fall I attended the Science & Engineering Career Fair. I was overwhelmed attending it as a Communication student. While I was there I approached the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) booth and struck up a conversation that resulted in an 8-month-long internship working for the Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program (MLEIP).
Describe the work you did in your internship.
I have worked in the HR department coordinating the application process and placement of over 600 students. I have also worked to promote the program through social media and digital marketing. My duties include developing promotional materials and contacting sponsors for our program. I am continuing my internship this summer by coordinating and planning team building sessions and our annual internship conference.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
Working in human resources put me in contact with every applicant to the MLEIP. It has been rewarding for me to see students apply and help them through that process, then place them in an internship. The MLEIP is a remarkable and influential program and being a part of it has been very rewarding. It has also given me opportunities to meet important people in our local government and expanded my opportunities for future careers.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
When I first began my internship, I had no interest in being involved in government as a long term career. However, after seeing the influence that the TCEQ has on our environment and the way it is treated, I think it would be a great place to explore a future career. This internship has helped me see that there are many ways to advocate for practices that meet environmental needs while also meeting business requirements.
Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
Professor Atkinson was a great mentor in many ways. She always encouraged me to dig deeper into my work and get the most out of my experience. Because of her I was more engaged and took advantage of every learning opportunity given to me at the TCEQ.