by Ashley Devore
This summer, I interned at General Motors in Lockport, NY. As an environmental and ecological engineer, I never thought I would end up working for a car company; cars emit carbon dioxide which kind of goes against the goals of environmental engineers. But, as I learned more about General Motors as a company, I found that they are actually very conscious of their environmental footprint and the impact their actions have on the environment. The plant I worked at this summer is so environmentally friendly, that they have met the requirements to be classified as a land-fill-free facility!
As an environmental engineering intern, I worked on a number of projects. I assisted with meeting compliance measures, such as doing tests to make sure the plant was meeting certain air requirements, and making sure the used-oil containers had the proper labels. Compliance is important to sustainability because in order to do great and amazing sustainability projects, you have to meet the compliance measures first.
Another project I worked on was developing a plan for my site to get certified with the Wildlife Habitat Council. The Wildlife Habitat Council is an organization that honors and recognizes companies and organizations that are implementing projects that aim to preserve wildlife and their habitats. My site was looking to get re-certified next year, and wanted me to develop a plan for them do so. Creating this plan involved me researching projects, figuring out how to implement them, learning about the certification process with the Wildlife Habitat Council, and writing a report detailing my proposed plan. This project was really cool to me because it incorporated a lot of sustainability principles that I learned in my classes.
I am so glad that I got the opportunity to intern with General Motors. This was my first internship, so I definitely learned a lot about environmental engineering and what it is like to work as a professional. In addition, I was also able to learn more about what my interests are professionally and career wise. Interning is a great way to discover what your future career interests are and to learn more about what sort of things you might be doing in a full time job.