Takeaways from ENVS*3330 Flexible Environmental Internship | Ontario Agricultural College

Takeaways from ENVS*3330 Flexible Environmental Internship

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2021

Written by Rachel Whitton, Environmental Sciences Student

ENVS*3330 is a flexible environmental internship opportunity that combines a course credit with a 40-hour unpaid internship. This course is offered to environmental science students, who are looking to pursue a career in the environmental sector. Experiential learning is a great way for students to gain work experience and get their foot in the door to the workforce relevant to their field of interest. This course includes synchronous and asynchronous components with lectures on career building skills and preparation.

Some of the course activities included the opportunity to learn specific skill sets, how to create a resume and cover letter, how to prepare for an interview and how to write a job application. All of these activities help to better prepare students for their internship and future career. 

Students apply for different internships that interest them and participate in an interview process. If they are selected as a candidate, they receive an offer and begin their placement for the internship. Prior to the internship starting, students set goals that they want to achieve through the internship, which helps track progress throughout the process. During the semester the student participates in their internship while also attending lectures from the course. Around halfway through the internship, there is a check-in with the host organization and at the end of the internship, a self-reflection is completed by the student on how their internship experience went. 

The ENVS*3330 course was a great opportunity for me to gain experience in the environmental sector for a semester, since I am not enrolled in the co-op program. I participated in a remote internship with Environment and Climate Change Canada, which is an organization within the federal government. The department I was working with was the Innovation and Youth Engagement Division. I was able to enhance my communication, collaboration and presentation skills while working with various people within the organization. Along with the experience from the internship, the course provided me with useful skills in career preparation that I can use in my future career.

For my internship, I was tasked to research and analyze the environmental footprint of working from home. This internship directly correlated with what I am interested in and it allowed me to gain experience in research. I had many takeaways from this internship, but a few highlight include:

Internship takeaway #1: research and report writing

To start, one of the most important takeaways I had from this internship was the experience with research and preparing a report. I was able to research the impacts of working from home and compile these findings into a report along with a PowerPoint presentation. This was followed by a presentation to the group I was working with and a discussion about the findings. This experience of research and report writing are transferable skills and directly correlate with a future career in the environmental field.

Internship takeaway #2: networking

Another takeaway I gained from this internship is the networking experience. From networking with my supervisor to participating in informational interviews with other employees of Environment and Climate Change Canada. I gained insight into the different career options within the organization and the environmental field along with building knowledge on how to start a career in the environmental sector. I was able to grow my resume in my field of study and secure reliable references that I can utilize in the future. This internship allowed me to get a foot in the door to the environmental field that I would not have gained otherwise. 

Internship takeaway #3: transferable skills

The last takeaway I gained from this internship is an abundance of transferrable skills, from communication to independent work, to networking, this internship provided me with the ability to enhance my skills while gaining feedback on how I can improve them in the future. With this feedback I can be confident in my ability to perform certain tasks in my future career and bring a strong skillset to the work force. 

Overall, this internship and course was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the environmental field and get firsthand experience at a potential career path for life after graduation. It provided me with lifelong skills and an irreplaceable experience with an internship of my choice that provided me with transferrable skills and real-world experience.

In this series of blog posts, OAC students take us through some of the ups and downs of their journeys at the University of Guelph.

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