The Clean Cities University Work Development Program is an internship program offered every semester to university students or recent graduates to get involved in their local coalitions. Internships with Clean Cities coalitions are available throughout the year for undergraduate (junior or senior) or graduate students in a variety of majors, including communications, public relations, business, marketing, engineering, environmental sciences, urban planning, and others.Since the internship began in 2010 over 500 students have been involved and gained experience across the country. Now, currently finishing up the Fall semester of 2023, 57 interns are working at coalitions.
Since 2014, Louisiana Clean Fuels has hosted over 20 interns from universities all over the country. As LCF has grown from a small 5-parish territory to a statewide organization serving 56 parishes, the internship program has been a key part of our success, allowing us to expand our capacity to serve our growing stakeholder base. Our interns have served the coalition in many different capacities: as communications and social media assistants, conducting market research, helping with event planning, conducting university outreach and activities, and contributing to our website through blog writing and keeping the site up to date. One of our standout interns, Jacob Holt, created a tool that allows us to better track trends in our stakeholder emission reduction data across time and specific fuel and vehicle types. Occasionally, interns gain positions on the staff, such as Elizabeth Linehan who was our Summer 2022 semester intern and now serves at the LCF Grants and Sustainability Coordinator.
Each Spring, Summer, and Fall semester, coalitions may apply to have up to two interns, either undergraduates or graduate students, to support coalition activities. Many interns have reported that they gained valuable experience from their respective coalitions and many continue to work in the clean fuels field, some, like Elizabeth, even choose to stay within the Clean Cities family and work for their coalition. We asked some successful interns across the network to report on their past experience and how the internship has helped them and shaped their careers.
Clean Cities Intern at Palmetto Clean Fuels of South Carolina (2014)
University of South Carolina, BA Advertising
Now: Chief Public Information Officer at SCETV
“In 2014 I became the Clean Cities intern for Palmetto Clean Fuels (PCF), administered by the South Carolina Energy Office, and I quickly became invested in the program goals and the people involved. I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Advertising, so I had to learn the ropes when it came to alternative fuels. After graduating in 2015, I was offered a full-time position assisting with Clean Transportation and Communications efforts. I became a Co-Coordinator and began implementing programmatic changes to enhance PCF.
In 2018, I became sole Coordinator, completing the journey from intern to full-time Coordinator for a Clean Cities Coalition. In 2020, I transitioned into a new role as Community Outreach and Communications Manager for the agency that houses the Energy Office where I worked with staff to formulate better communication strategies and implement communications projects. This means I still got to be involved in projects the Energy Office worked on, including PCF events and outreach, but just in a different way. I am no longer with the agency that administers PCF, but I still use the knowledge and skills I learned throughout my Clean Cities journey.
Grant administration, outreach tracking and stakeholder cultivation are all used in my current role as Chief Public Information Officer for South Carolina ETV and Public Radio. After going from Clean Cities intern to Clean Cities Coordinator in 5 years, I can truly say that the role led me to grow personally and professionally, and for that I am truly grateful.”
Clean Cities Intern at Louisiana Clean Fuels (2019-2020)
Louisiana State University, BS Electrical Engineering
Now: Army Fellows Intern working as an electrical engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District in Wiesbaden, Germany
“At Louisiana Clean Fuels (LCF), I helped identify gaps in Direct Current Fast Charging electric vehicle infrastructure along federal highway corridors in Louisiana. LCF used this analysis to help guide utilization of VW settlement funds for new charging infrastructure projects and served as a launching point for the state’s NEVI plan.
I graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana State University in May 2022, and I am now an Army Fellows Intern working as an electrical engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District in Wiesbaden, Germany. USACE Europe district provides premier engineering and construction services to customers across Europe and Africa. In the last few months, I helped design renovations to an Army facility in Poland, a helicopter hangar in Germany, and a school in Lesotho, among other things. In my spare time, I enjoy taking photos of my new scenery, sampling the gamut of German meats and cheeses, and trying to find the best cup of coffee in Wiesbaden.
My experience at LCF helped me to develop my ability to identify problems or issues and determine ways to solve them. I also learned how to think about projects and communicate solutions to decision makers in a clear and concise way. As an electrical engineer in the construction sector, I use these skills I honed at LCF every day. The experience I gained and the lifelong friendships I made were an invaluable part of my college experience!”
Clean Cities Intern at East Tennessee Clean Fuels (2019)
University of Tennessee, BA Communication
Now: Project Manager at ETCF
“Madelyn started working last year as a Project Manager for East Tennessee Clean Fuels (ETCF). However, her journey in the Clean Cities world did not start there. It started in 2019 when she was a senior in college looking for a job that not only allowed her to practice her skills for her communications major, but also struck a chord with her passion for environmental justice. Her internship at ETCF did just that.
Joining ETCF through her university’s work study program and later via the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program (CCUWDP), she became ETCF’s Digital Media Coordinator, communicating ETCF’s mission of greener transit to people of all backgrounds in Tennessee. “Before ETCF,” Madelyn said, “the primary audience I had been communicating with was my college peers. Learning how to communicate to a broader audience heightened my own ability to listen and talk to more people about helping the environment, which is very important to me.”
Madelyn is passionate about environmental justice because it closely affects her personal life. “My family and I are climate refugees, and we have also suffered from asthma our whole lives. I know how vital cleaner air and treating our environment better is and I want others to know this as well. Working at ETCF not only allowed me to hone skills to follow my personal goals, but it has also taught me the importance of greener transportation too. I truly had no idea the huge role it played in our lives before my internship and I’m happy I’m working in a field that aims to make it better.”
Currently, Madelyn is working on two projects that focus on ensuring equitable, green transportation access. One is called EMPOWER, which aims to serve many underserved populations living in charging deserts through providing access to workplace charging. The other project is through the Clean Cities Environmental Justice Initiative (CCEEJI), which aims to assess community needs in East Knoxville and collaborate with community partners on initiatives. Madelyn is thankful she interned with Clean Cities and is working in a field that strives for a greener and more equitable land and society.”
Clean Cities Intern at Greater New Haven Clean Cities (2012-2016)
Purdue University, BS Biology
University of New Haven, MS in Environmental Science
Now: Senior Transport Analysis at Brendle Group
“I began my career in transportation electrification from an internship with Greater New Haven Clean Cities (GNHCCC) in Connecticut while completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Science. After interning, I continued to work at the GNHCCC because I felt that the mission and work was making a real-world impact. I also worked with Southwestern Connecticut Clean Cities Coalition on electric vehicle municipal planning. I wanted to continue to support the transition to a cleaner transportation system and worked at the Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit that drives policies and actions to electrify on-road vehicles to protect economic and national security, public health, and American jobs. I worked with different levels of jurisdictions to support planning for the transition to broader equitable mobility and transportation electrification that included transit, carshare, rideshare, and rental options.
I also wanted to connect cleaner transportation with the rest of the built environment and joined a consulting firm working to accelerate equitable solutions to the climate crisis. I continue to support the transition to sustainable transportation options and work to implement those in coordination with broader sustainability initiatives. During my time with Clean Cities, I gained knowledge in a variety of fuels and vehicles and learned skills becoming a technical expert to an event organizer to a consultant that have advanced my ability to support jurisdictions to be a catalyst providing for a more just and clean transportation system.”
Clean Cities Intern at Central Florida Clean Cities (2015-2017)
University of Iowa, BA English Language and Literature
University of Iowa, MFA Nonfiction Writing
Now: Project Manager for Electric Vehicles and Emerging Technologies at Milepost
“After graduating from undergrad in 2014, Shauna Basques was recruited via the Minnesota GreenCorps program to work with Minnesota Clean Cities (MC3) on development and implementation of an electric vehicle workplace charging initiative. Upon completion of the project with MC3 in Summer 2015, Shauna was then referred to and hired as a graduate student intern with the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, where she stayed for two years and worked on several initiatives related to electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and other alternative fuel vehicle technologies. Shauna graduated in Spring 2017 and was then hired by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation who housed the Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (MWTCF). In her five years with the State of Tennessee/MWTCF, Shauna became Coalition Co-Coordinator and managed many alternative fuel vehicle programs, including competitive grant opportunities, sustainable transportation trainings and events, public outreach initiatives like Drive Electric Tennessee, and more.
In Summer 2022, Shauna accepted a position at Milepost Consulting where she is now a Senior Project Manager for Emerging Technologies and leads the business’s new Government Affairs Department. Shauna still helps clients design, implement, and advertise critical programs in the alternative fuels space. She also serves as a board member to the Southeastern Team Reducing the Impacts of Diesel Emissions (STRIDE) Collaborative, coordinated by EPA Region 4 and created to mitigate diesel emissions across a variety of transportation sectors. “Clean Cities has been one of the most important and fulfilling experiences of my career so far,” Shauna says. “It not only prepared me to be an influential voice in the alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technology sector—it also connected me with a national network of other wonderful professionals, all dedicated to making the world a better place.”
Clean Cities Intern at Southeast Florida Clean Cities Coalition (2015-2016)
University of Florida, BS Sustainability and the Built Environment
University of Florida, MS Urban and Regional Planning
Now: Transportation Planner at Benesch
“Interning with the Southeast Florida Clean Cities Coalition was a fantastic way to translate my sustainability studies into the real world. During my internship, I learned how to conduct outreach with elected officials and local residents. I also learned to utilize available tools from agencies such as the US DOE and EPA to create campaigns in our region. For example, we launched an idle reduction campaign and kids’ educational read-alongs at county libraries with free tools from these government agencies.
Now working as a transportation planner focusing on transit, I am able to use my knowledge of alternative fuels when working with bus agencies using electric or propane fuels. I am also able to leverage my knowledge of electric vehicle charging stations when discussing local legislation for EV readiness. The Clean Cities Coalition University Workforce Development Program prepared me with relevant technical knowledge and outreach skills for my current career in transportation planning.”
Clean Cities Intern at Louisiana Clean Fuels (2019)
Indiana University Bloomington, MPA | MSES Energy Policy
Now: Research Analyst at the American Clean Power Association
I really enjoyed my time at LCF and think it was a really good introduction to working in the energy/environment space. Working at LCF allowed me to gain exposure to some of the federal and state policies governing alternative fuels and clean transportation. My duties centered on doing outreach work to schools and workplaces. While the results were mixed I feel that I was able to develop my skills in writing, communications, and outreach as well as gain knowledge on the transportation sector and energy policy more broadly.
I am currently a Research Analyst with the American Clean Power Association, where I collect, analyze, and report on data to generate market intelligence for the U.S. clean energy sector. My time at LCF played a crucial role in my development as a young professional and I feel strongly that the skills I gained at LCF have been a tremendous asset at my current role.