EcoFellowship Experience

After graduating with a degree in Biology, I found fulfilling part-time work with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s afterschool programs. Capabilities I had nurtured in school, regarding things like simultaneous self-sufficiency and team spirit, were relevant in that role and in my EcoFellowship role afterwards. Whenever I had free time, I felt empowered to hunt for my next opportunity by regularly scouring websites like Handshake. Handshake  lists job and internship opportunities for college students and graduates on a daily basis. I came across the Center for EcoTechnology and the EcoFellowship for the first time while looking through Idealist, a platform that hosts opportunities in the nonprofit field. Naturally, I was so excited to find an opportunity that perfectly addressed my interests in sustainability, science related education and career-readiness. I could tell from reading the engaging job description that I would love to be an EcoFellow and impactfully help spread eco-friendly knowledge.

Coming into my first ever real job, I knew that things would be entirely new for me. But I had done my background research. Additionally, the professionalism with which my interviews were conducted had impressed me. I was mentally prepared for a thorough learning experience and excited for what lied ahead. Indeed, while an Eco-Fellow at the Center for Ecotechnology, I have enjoyed learning about everything from effective communication to impactful graphic design.

A screenshot from our successful Weatherization Webinar, which included a Q and A with energy specialist CJ.

My Role as an EcoFellow
The EcoFellow role is a supportive one in nature. However, it also allows for independence and leadership. I work in partnership with different teams to achieve goals, referring to my always helpful supervisor Kaitlyn when I have questions.

Like the EcoFellows before me, I help craft written and audio-visual material that communicates our company goals of helping people save energy and reduce waste. One of the main tasks Cassie (the other EcoFellow) and I have been tackling is webinar preparation and execution. We have successfully presented virtual webinars on home weatherization as well as eco-friendly Winter-time choices. Presenting to an audience is always something I find thrilling and fun. It’s a great opportunity to share knowledge that should be widely known, for the benefit of society.

I also contribute to the CET blog with posts about topics like responsible thrifting, as well as to social media posts. Technology that I have become further familiar with includes the website Canva, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Teams, and the form-based SmartSheet.

A Typical Day
Cassie and I wake up every weekday and work with our team members Chiara, Louie, Kaitlyn, and Emily. For me, my work day typically starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 5 PM.
I have been working in conjunction with different teams on myriad projects. Given this, I have received training and am able to handle certain responsibilities. For example, on Wednesdays, I cover the CET hotline, checking the email inbox and voicemail for any inquiries and recording them accordingly. I make sure to make note of certain ones that need more urgent or particular attention, and keep in close contact with my coworkers. That way, everyone is in the loop, and things can go smoothly. The other days, I attend helpful meetings and work on projects such as graphic design tasks and data compilation.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work
Working alongside Cassie, the other Eco-Fellow, and my other Communications and Engagement teammates, has been so interesting and illuminating. Each personality is unique but all are accompanied by a strong work ethic.

CET encourages and fosters open communication, which I love. Constructive criticism is so helpful and its something you can use to build up your skills and know-how.

The welcoming atmosphere is one in which you can be productive while learning a lot. Asking questions and expressing oneself is truly encouraged in this workspace. I have always found this very impressive and conducive to personal and professional growth.

A moment from a regular meeting between me and my supervisor, Kaitlyn.

Working Remotely
Being able to work remotely has been an interesting experience. Although we are not in physical proximity, I still feel close to my coworkers. I think we all feel that there is a real bond between us. Everyone is so bright and thoughtful in their own way, and that definitely makes my work days pleasant. It also makes the fact that we’re not in a conventional office setting less noticeable. Though remote work comes with challenges like having to pay attention to scheduling more intensely, it is possible to put in some extra effort and be productive while working virtually.

Under the guidance of my supervisor and team, I have adapted to what is the new normal, and am flourishing. All in all, I don’t feel that my experience has been lacking due to going virtual. If anything, it’s been richer, encouraging me to be more responsible.

Staying Organized
A practice which I have found helpful is to keep a daily log of the tasks I complete every day. You don’t need any fancy software to do this- a simple Word document works just fine.

I like that weekly meetings provide structure, direction, and a chance to check in with the others on my team. The two meetings anchor the rest of the week. We clearly lay out what needs to be accomplished. We also discuss things like our personal “wins” regarding the work we have successfully completed. The weekly check-in with Kaitlyn is illuminating in terms of things I need to do and feel I need to improve on.

Accomplishments and Skills I’ve Gained

The accomplishments I’ve achieved and skills I’ve built have showed me that I’m able to flourish in the work setting. Being a contributor to work that has been published has strengthened my confidence and ability. This is true for writing, graphic design, and other areas.

For the remainder of the fellowship, I would like to preserve my sense of accountability concerning my work. I also want to keep producing high quality output.

Why the Fellowship is Unique

The EcoFellowship opportunity is uniquely amazing in that the entire ecosystem at the Center for EcoTechnology actively ensures the success of fellows. You might be wondering about some specific positives that accompany the role. The role fosters and encourages connection to the other Fellow and alumni, as well as the completion of professional development opportunities.

If you are interested in becoming a leader in the field of sustainability, the EcoFellowship is a tremendous opportunity. It will cultivate your abilities and further fuel your professional dreams. The role is beneficial in that it emphasizes work-related accountability and growth. I also feel so blessed to have a job where I feel that what I’m doing is meaningful and makes a difference. In the time I have remaining as an EcoFellow, I hope to achieve even more as a person and a professional striving for excellence within the environmental sphere.