Picture of Ozette in front of a fountain

When I saw the EcoFellowship position, I think I audibly gasped. It looked like the perfect opportunity to turn my passion for the environment into meaningful work. It seemed to be a great launch pad for a career in the environmental field; especially considering that, when I applied, I still had no idea what I wanted to do in the environmental realm. What really drew me to the fellowship is that, as a fellow, I would have the chance to work cross-organizationally and try my hand at different tasks. This also meant being able to work with other members of the organization; and therefore, learn a wide range of information from professionals in this field. I was excited to finally apply what I had learned in college to a purposeful position, while simultaneously working to develop skills that would be useful as an environmental professional.

My role as an EcoFellow

Jared and I work together, alongside other members of the Community Engagement team, on a variety of projects. I have also been working closely on some of our waste programs including RecyclingWorks and the GREEN TEAM. Overall, my main role is helping people connect with important resources that help them live more comfortably, save energy, reduce waste, and as a result, be more sustainable!Jared and Ozette in a side by side virtual setting on Zoom.

A Day in the Life

A typical week starts with checking social media and answering any customer questions, which has helped me hone my customer service skills. Then there will be a couple of meetings throughout the day to plan out the week or other events in the near-future. In-between meetings, I might work on a blog, design a slide deck for a webinar, work on posts for social media, help out with one of the hotlines to assist people with reducing their waste, work on graphic design, or do other tasks, among other things. Once a week I’ll go down to EcoBuilding Bargains, CET’s reuse store, and take pictures of items for content creation. There are some amazing reclaimed building supplies, salvaged kitchen cabinets, and many other unique pieces that come through the store. It’s a nice change of pace to go there!

Adjusting to Remote Work

Honestly, I was not really thrilled about the idea of working remotely. I thought that in order to get work done I would have to be in an office setting. Working remotely, however, has been a smooth process and I am still able to get work done. It can be distracting sometimes, but overall, it’s been great and CET’s work culture still shines through! I was also nervous about the work becoming stagnant in a remote work environment, but I’ve never been bored. There is always work to do, and the type of work changes frequently!

Being virtual has had some limitations, but it has also come with other opportunities. Since so many businesses have switched to a remote work setting, we have also had to adapt. This has felt like an opportunity in and of itself. CET has been thinking innovatively and looking ahead to see how they can advance themselves in a world that seems to be shifting to a more remote work setting. Almost every week in the marketing team’s virtual check in, our director tells us a new idea that will only better CET in some way. Many other organizations have also had to adapt, so getting virtual work experience is a bonus!

Ozette working from home at her desk with a monitor and laptop

Why This Fellowship is a Unique Experience

This fellowship has exceeded my expectations in every way! My colleagues are so unbelievably nice and knowledgeable, and the work culture is unparalleled (well, I don’t have a lot of other professional work experience to compare it to, but still). People are willing to go out of their way to help out or answer any of the fellow’s questions. I’ve learned a lot so far, and this fellowship is different than any typical job because they ask what can we do for you. It’s very hands on and CET gives the fellows a lot of autonomy and responsibilities. They actively help find the fellows professional development opportunities as well. For example, I attended a virtual conference on high performance buildings that typically takes place in NYC, but was being held virtually this year. CET encouraged me to attend, and I learned a great deal about building science and new, cutting-edge technologies!

I also attended a virtual day-long training put on by Bard College, which was covered by CET. They really care about the fellow’s professional growth. If we voice an interest in something, our supervisors will try to find an opportunity for us to learn about that specific thing. Another unique aspect that I’ve really enjoyed, is being able to meet the Board of Directors. This has been done virtually, but they are all so nice and offer great advice! It’s nice to know that CET is supported by such compassionate and benevolent people who really support the mission of the organization.

Skills I’ve Learned So Far

I’ve worked with a lot of new platforms, such as Salesforce, a customer relationship management software, which I had never heard of before. I’ve also been trained in Adobe Suite software, including InDesign and Photoshop, and have had the opportunity to use them for several projects. WordPress, Canva, and Constant Contact are also a couple of other platforms that I use frequently. In addition to these more technical skills, I’ve learned a lot about building science. It’s been really interesting to learn about this from CET’s energy experts. They use building science every day to help businesses and people reduce their energy consumption. It’s exciting to learn about one thing and then actually see it being implemented and making a difference. I’ve learned a lot, but I’ve just scratched the surface! I’m looking forward to continue learning, applying new skills I’ve gained, and growing both personally and professionally.

Graphic for a facebook event on sustainable buildings.