On Thursday, September 8, the Cal Energy Corps, in partnership with the CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program, hosted a joint reception to celebrate the achievements of the 2022 intern cohorts. Now in its 12th year, the Cal Energy Corps program placed 11 top UC Berkeley undergraduate students at leading host organizations in the energy and climate sectors for an exciting summer of hands-on experience. This year also marked the launch of the CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program, which placed undergraduates from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz in one of five areas of emerging IT innovation important to the state of California: aviation, climate resilience, digital health, robotics and semiconductors.
CITRIS Executive Director Dr. Camille Crittenden kicked off the event by giving a warm welcome to the attendees. She then introduced Jose Luis Bedolla, Chief Executive Officer at the Data for Social Good Foundation, one of the Workforce Innovation Program hosts. Bedolla described the program as “a fantastic opportunity for students to try out different types of work,” adding that he wished he could have had this type of experience as an undergraduate himself. Aelisa Carr, Co-Founder and President of RePicture Engineering, also remarked on the Workforce Innovation Program, noting that “the students showed an eagerness to learn and had a positive attitude from day one—they executed our program and really helped make the program better.”
Dr. Miriam Aczel, a postdoctoral scholar at CIEE, spoke on behalf of the Cal Energy Corps. Aczel thanked the program organizers, host organizations, and student interns, then introduced the Cal Energy Corps student speaker, Lucy Revina. Revina, a junior studying electrical engineering and computer sciences, was placed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab this summer, where she focused on developing and increasing the efficiency of fuel cells.
Describing fuel cells as having layers “like a sandwich,” Revina discussed her work on the catalyst layer in fuel cells and the polymer used to create the catalyst layer. “It’s a really exciting time to work in this field, with all the recent technological developments,” she enthused. “Being part of this summer program was my first breakthrough into the world of research and I’m really excited both about the work I did and the possibilities it opened up…I got to put into practice what I’m learning in my classes and was amazed to see that my contributions are genuinely useful to the community.”
James Herrigel, a third-year environmental economics and policy major, interned at UC San Francisco. Herrigel shared that the Cal Energy Corps internship allowed him to hone his energy management skills and “make a palpable, useful impact” through his work on tracking natural gas usage in UCSF campus buildings, identifying candidates for electrification, and modeling the potential energy and financial savings. “I developed skills in data management, financial modeling, carbon accounting, and more while developing a thorough understanding of the challenges surrounding electrification in the context of buildings, institutions, and campuses,” he added.
Third-year psychology major Alyssa Indrajaya was placed at PingThings as a project management intern. “I am in awe at how much I could learn in a brief two months,” she said. “The skills and work ethic I learned at my internship [are] something I continue to use and apply in my everyday life.” Indrajaya added that a highlight of the internship was “the collaborative mindset my host company had … they saw me as an equal and were open to my ideas and initiatives. I grew very close to my colleagues and am excited to see the company continue to grow.”
The reception concluded with brief remarks from Nicole-Marie Cotton, UC Berkeley PhD candidate and Workforce Innovation Program manager, who thanked the “amazing team” and congratulated interns from both programs. The event was followed by an open networking session, where students, host organizations, and invited guests enjoyed refreshments and had the opportunity to mingle.
Learn about the CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program
Feature image: Cal Energy Corps student speaker Lucy Revina poses next to her research poster on fuel cells. Credit: Miriam Aczel/California Institute for Energy and Environment.