Montgomery County, Maryland, has been committed to significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and climate action for over a decade. The County recently released a Climate Action Plan detailing the effects of a changing climate on Montgomery County and includes strategies to reduce GHG emissions and climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses, and the built and natural environment.
Climate interns work in the County Executive’s office as part of the climate team and work closely with County employees to gain experience by attending meetings and briefings, conducting research, writing summaries, as well working on various other important tasks. County employees work with the interns to assign projects that will increase their knowledge in energy and climate issues while supporting their strengths and interests. As the intern season comes to an end, we would like to thank the interns who have worked so hard to help with our mission to reduce GHG emissions and work toward resilience and creating climate solutions.
Rebecca Cotton is a master’s student at Carnegie Mellon University earning her degree in Public Policy and Management with a focus in Data Analytics. During her internship with Montgomery County, Rebecca focused on developing metrics and data visualizations to report on the county’s Climate Action Plan progress. She also worked to track and organize county data about climate change. Rebecca most enjoyed learning from the diverse group of county stakeholders working to address climate change. Their dedication, enthusiasm, and creativity are very inspiring! After completing her internship, Rebecca plans to work in the environmental sector using her skills in data analytics to address climate change and other environmental issues. She is an avid reader, adventurous hiker, and loves foraging for edible plants on the trails.
Alyssa Bialek has worked as a Climate Fellow on the Climate Planning Team for the past 8 months. She’s in graduate school at George Washington University doing a joint MPH/PA degree in Health Policy and Physician Assistant Studies. She is finishing up her MPH year and is starting the PA portion at the end of the month! By majoring in Public Health and Environmental Biology at Tulane, she realized that she loves working both behind the scenes on public health and policy as well as directly on health education with patients. She hopes to use her experience here when she is in practice as a PA, considering the role that climate change has in all of her patients’ lives and using her expertise to advocate for the policies that she believes in. Outside of school, she loves making terrariums, gardening, becoming shortly and heavily invested in obscure hobbies (like paint-by-numbers and rollerblading), and playing sports! Some projects she’s gotten to work on include website design, authoring multiple blog posts (this one is her favorite), writing talking points for the County Executive, developing a climate competency framework with the Office of Human Resources for all County employees, assisting in policy research on various topics, organizing and analyzing data for the EV group buy program, and developing infographics and social media posts. She has learned how important teamwork is in all projects and endeavors with the county. Rarely does a project get passed on without a lot of input and editing from multiple different people. Working with people across departments has helped her hone my writing skills and develop new skills. She would like to give a big thank you to our manager, Adriana Hochberg, who always makes time to genuinely connect with us and guide us with anything we need!
Ryan Iacaruso has been a Climate Intern at Montgomery County Government since September 2021. He is a senior at Towson University graduating this May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Climate, Weather and Society. He hopes to continue his work in the climate field and find ways to help solve climate issues. He’s worked on a variety of projects here with the Climate Team. His most prominent projects are creating a new format to input the Counties quarterly updates for the Climate Action Plan, recommending and presenting improvements for the Counties flood webpage, drafting a press release, and conducting research on BEPS and EVs. This internship has brought him a lot of knowledge and experience working in the environmental field. He has been able to explore and learn a lot about climate along the way. He says it was always a fun time to catch up with other interns and Adriana at our check-ins! He’s like to thank the whole Climate Team and especially Adriana for this amazing opportunity to be an intern!
Mubassira Nur has been an intern on the Montgomery County Government Climate Team since mid-2021. She is currently pursuing a degree in Public Health at Montgomery College and has further plans to transfer to Shady Grove at the University of Maryland to continue her studies. During her time in the internship, Mubassira has taken part in numerous projects, starting with the County’s quarterly updates for the Climate Action Plan. She has also worked on newsletters that were published almost every month, blog posts relating to prominent climate news, and a colocation project to analyze the empty developmental grounds around Maryland. She likes to watch foreign dramas, travel, read fictional novels, and make edits in her free time. She enjoys making a contribution towards climate change and hopes to use the skills that she learned during her internship to advance progress in reducing climate impact, while at the same time relating it to public health to protect the community’s overall health. Mubassira would like to show her deepest gratitude towards her supervisor Adriana Hochberg for giving her this incredible opportunity that has allowed her to meet so many incredible people and make life-long connections. Adriana, thank you for seeing the potential in me and taking a chance, I’ll always appreciate your good sense of humor.
Rachel Suter has been an intern on the Climate Planning Team for Montgomery County Government since September of 2021. She is graduating from George Washington University this May with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and minors in psychology and sustainability. Some of the projects she’s worked on throughout her internship with the Climate Team include working on a design for a refresh of the climate website, newsletters every month and a half, and climate and energy related data analysis. She likes to read, create things like illustrations and websites, and be active (rollerblading her favorite outdoor activity right now!). Rachel has a strong interest in climate action and after her internship, she hopes to be able to combine her technical, graphic design, and website development skills with psychology and sustainability to make user friendly and accessible ways to communicate about climate change and climate solutions. She has learned so much throughout her time on the climate team and hopes to use the valuable skills she has gained here in the future. She would like to thank the team, other interns, and Adriana Hochberg for the amazing experience and for giving her the opportunity to learn so much!
Ona Olisa has been an intern on Montgomery County Government’s Climate Team since September 2021. She is a junior at Thomas S. Wootton High School, with interests in public policy, the humanities, and environmental activism. In her free time, Ona likes to enjoy nature, crochet, read, and spend time with friends. During her time as an intern, Ona worked primarily on developing community outreach and education materials, such as interactive youth education slides and a deep-dive presentation into the “What Can I Do?” section of the Climate Action Plan. She also worked on the climate website redesign and data analysis projects. Additionally, Ona spent time writing articles for the climate newsletter. She is grateful to have learned from experienced individuals about the legislative process in her local government. Her experience interning with the climate team has fostered a greater interest in environmental policy, which she hopes to pursue in college. She would like to thank our supervisor, Adriana Hochberg, for being so encouraging and supportive throughout this journey. She highly recommends this internship to anyone who has the opportunity to apply!