Interns and Trainees in Environmental and Sustainability Fields


7 minutes


The U.S. Department of State has recently been promoting environmental diplomacy around the world through its various exchange programs. For many years, Career Training USA participants have also been coming to the U.S. to gain experience and expertise in fields related to sustainability and the environment. We sent a survey to current participants and alumni asking about their experience pursuing careers in these fields, and we wanted to share some of the responses. Click through the tabs to read about our participants’ experiences in these fields.

Sebastian T.

From: United Kingdom Field: Engineering Host Employer: Urban Green Energy

** How has your experience interning/training through the Career Training USA program helped you to learn more about your field?** Massively built upon the knowledge from my Masters degree in Sustainable Energy by exposing me to the ‘real application’ of the knowledge in industry

** Please describe some of your favorite projects from your J-1 internship/training program.** A: Designing a solar carport. Doing a shading analysis for a mosque that wished to install solar. Going on-site to freezing upstate NY to help install a test wind turbine.

** What are your future career goals in relation to your current field? If you have already completed your J-1 program, what have you been doing since your program in relation to the environmental/sustainability field?** Become a director of engineering at a clean energy company, or run my own business relating to clean energy.

What advice do you have for young people looking to enter an environmental field? Be tenacious in seeking out opportunities and applying for them with a high quality (not run-off-the-mill) application. If necessary, do a Masters degree to show your capability in the field.

More Quotes

What first made you interested in pursuing a career related to the environment and/or sustainability?

“Studying different ways to protect environment.” -Noemie W.

“I started my studies in agricultural engineering, and particularly irrigation, which led me to pursuing a career related to the environment, as I understood its importance as a key issue when it comes to natural systems.” -Ramy S.

“My major in my study is chemical engineering. This is a economical field with many big and powerful companies, in which their products and their way of making economics often is ethically seen in critical discussion. Before choosing this major I experienced in a student assistant job that there are many people who try to better the world and this industry in developing new, more sustainable technologies. So my aim and motivation for my study was to better the way chemical engineering is executed.” -Arne C.

“I always wanted to have a career where my work would make a positive impact to our planet. Climate change is one of the most serious challenges our planet faces today. Alternate energy sources appealed to me as a promising solution to combat climate change and I dived in!” -Arjun G.

“Make some changes by protecting the environment.” -Perrine V.

How has your experience interning/training through the Career Training USA program helped you to learn more about your field?

“My internship through the Career Training USA program allowed me to fill the gap I had within my career path by learning a new skill directly related to the outcome my career should have. I acquired huge knowledge in environmental modeling, an indispensable tool and skill in my field.” -Ramy S.

“Visiting all kind of fields, desert, forests, etc. It was very nice and I learned a lot.” -Perrine V.

“My company is developing high technology processes that lower the energy of existing processes and reduce the CO2 emission additionally. I learned how industrial R&D takes place, how work in a chemical plant looks like, I’ve gained a lot of technical experience working with experiments and I experienced a bunch of people who share the same view on sustainability as I do. This confirmed my motivation that there is a positive future for the chemical industry in the world.” -Arne C.

“I discovered US environmental law. I learned different processes to legally protect environment, ecosystems, biodiversity, and endangered species.” -Noemie W.

“The company I work for provides solar and wind solutions for clients across the globe. I was an intern working on the system design team learning about the engineering aspect of these solutions.” -Arjun G.

Please describe some of your favorite projects from your J-1 internship/training program.

“I was involved in a 150 kW solar PV project for a hospital in the Philippines. The project was built to replace diesel generators on site which are both expensive and a large source of pollution. The project was successful and we have reduced the client’s dependency on diesel generators.” -Arjun G.

“My main project was to combine two new technologies that each save up to 25% of the energy of the Clor Alkali process. One is developed by my host company, one is developed by a European company. The combination reduces the electrical energy, and so the emission up to 50% and the costs up to 25%. The factor with the costs ensures a financial support and public interest of the project and the emission serves as the ethical confirmation and motivation. In my opinion this is the perfect combination of sustainability and chemistry.” -Arne C.

“Worked on a project about one endangered species and tried to find compromise between different issues (environmental, economic…)” -Noemie W.

“One of my favorite from my J-1 internship was during the implementation of the model we conceptualized. Developing and testing what was just an idea was extremely fulfilling!” -Ramy S.

“Learning more about a specific rare plant and understanding each way to protect environment.” -Perrine V.

What are your future career goals in relation to your current field? If you have already completed your J-1 program, what have you been doing since your program in relation to the environmental/sustainability field?

“I will continue with a graduate and PhD program with research projects on sustainable chemical processes.” -Arne C.

“I would like to become an independent energy consultant someday. UGE helped me take considerable number of steps towards achieving this goal.” -Arjun G.

“I would like to become a facilitator who raises people’s awareness. During this scholar year, I’ve been doing a facilitator training.” -Perrine V.

“I’m trying to find a job in my field of study, I’ve been working since last year as a scientific moderator in a museum and trying to find a job as a project manager in environment.” -Noemie W.

“Since I completed my J-1 program, I have been pursuing research and further developments to what I learned during my internship, and I’ve been constantly communicating with my host employer.” -Ramy S.

What advice do you have for young people looking to enter an environmental field?

“Environmental studies are broad and very diverse and it goes from field work to computer modeling. I believe young people looking to enter an environmental field should try to study all the different aspects in order to find and target what would be of their best interest.” -Ramy S.

“Better the world in a field, where sustainability is not obvious!” -Arne C.

“We all are equally responsible to preserve the environment. It is sheer joy you experience when you contribute to the well being of this planet. The environment needs us as much as we need the environment. It is a wonderful journey waiting for you!” -Arjun G.

Further Resources

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment.

The Natural Resources Defence Council, considered the nation’s most effective environmental action group.

Earth Day Network, the largest environmental service campaign in the world.

Environment America, a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations.

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