It was great to be involved with real issues represented in policies and legislation being drafted and voted upon as I worked on them.

Name: Davin Safer
Program of Study: Philosophy major and environmental studies minor
Internship: PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities as an intern.
Although my internship consists of majorly of clerical work, everything that I do has a direct link to promoting the preservation and revitalization of family farmland and open spaces and state parks. For example, I helped organize “Lobby Day,” where the other interns and I were responsible for getting around 50 Pennsylvania citizens to the State Capitol so they could meet with their senators and state representatives.

How did you find your internship?
My father heard of the organization and found the website for me.

What resources did you find particularly helpful in your internship search?
It is directly related to my minor and foremost academic interest of environmental studies. It is my first real-world experience in seeing the legislative effects of lobbyists and the bureaucratic realities that meet universal concerns.

Why did you choose your internship? What factored into your search and applying?
My internship is centered on the precise subject I wish to pursue subsequent to undergraduate education.

What were you most apprehensive about going into your internship?
Canvassing. I don’t take rejection well.

What did you hope to gain from your internship experience?
I wanted to gain knowledge and experience that I can utilize in the future.

How did your internship experience influence your academic and career interests/goals/plans?
I am much more cognizant of the role politics plays in making any substantive change in the world and that being right about a subject does not necessitate the change that must occur — so other tactics and rhetoric must, therefore, be utilized.

What were the most challenging aspects of your internship?
Canvassing. I hate talking to strangers.

What were most rewarding aspects of your internship?
It was great to be involved with real issues represented in policies and legislation being drafted and voted upon as I worked on them. Talking to local farmers about preservation programs, contacting members of the organization to offer them opportunities to speak with their legislators in person, influencing citizens to push against bills such as “The Big Oil Bailout” (Senate Joint Resolution 26), things in which the hard work of the interns visibly affects an issue directly — that is a huge reward because it gave me a sense of how I can transfer the environmental education I am attaining and apply it to make a change for the better.

What advice would you give to students to help them make the most of their internship experience?
Make sure you are extremely interested in the nature of the internship. If I weren’t interested, I could never handle all of the endless research and data entry, which can seem pointless at the time but are always necessary parts of a much larger picture.

Davin Safer