For our sixth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed senior Environmental Studies major Berkley Lane, who interned with the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC over the summer of 2019.
How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?
First semester freshman year, I took a physical geology class and really enjoyed the material, so I decided to take other environmental and sustainability based courses… which lead me to the geography department. Now, as a senior Environmental Studies major, I have taken many courses in the department!
What position did you hold this summer and how did it relate to your major?
This summer I was a Market Research and Development Intern at the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC. USGBC is "is a nonprofit organization that supports the development of prosperous, healthy and resilient communities through the transformation of the built environment.” This opportunity directly relates to my interests within the Environmental Studies major because I was able to gain knowledge about the green building market nationwide and the importance of green development.
What were your responsibilities as a Market Research and Development Intern with USGBC?
As a Market Research and Development Intern, I was able to work with a team of interns to conduct research and complete projects to drive LEED Certifications and GBCI Product registrations. I conducted research on current commercial and residential real estate trends, LEED’s return on investment, top 10 city market development, building codes, and USGBC involvement to foster future memberships on project registrations. I worked with my team to create a Global Market Development Vision Board for USGBC staff to use when marketing products and future opportunities.
What valuable skills did you learn this summer, and how has this experience shaped your thinking?
Specific to the position, I was able to gain experience in Salesforce and learn how to navigate city building codes. I was also exposed to learning about green development overall. Learning more about the non-profit realm was very interesting because I hadn’t worked for a non-profit until USGBC. The knowledge I gained on USGBC as an organization and the ins and outs of their business model and membership audience was extremely valuable as well.
I also learned how to successfully work with other team members to accomplish a goal and complete many projects. Working in a professional atmosphere full time this summer helped shape my thinking for my future career and how the day-to-day operations may potentially be like.
How did your previous education and experience at GW (especially within the department) prepare you for this opportunity?
Sustainability courses at GW helped prepare me for this position due to the base-level knowledge on LEED and USGBC these courses provided me. Going to school in Washington, DC and the experiences I have had at GW also helped because green building is a priority for many construction companies and developers here. Sustainable Energy and Environmental Health, a Public Health course that counts as a society requirement for the Environmental Studies major, helped prepare me for this internship opportunity as well.
What was your favorite experience from the internship?
My favorite experience was being able to study and work towards achieving my LEED Green Associate Credential! Another one of my favorite experiences was working with a team of interns ranging from college freshman to graduate students. We worked well together and it was valuable to hear others' opinions on our various projects.
Have you completed a geography-oriented internship? Job? Study abroad? Ad-hoc field work? Independent research? Let us know! We are interviewing current (and past) GW Geography students who have taken their geography knowledge into the “real world.” If you are interested in sharing your experience, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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