In a guest blog post, Sydnee Journel ’11 writes about her experiences during a Stanford-in-Government (SIG) fellowship this past summer at the Planning and Conservation League.Over these past four years at Stanford, I’ve done my fair share of searching for internships and summer jobs. As a senior majoring in Earth Systems, with an interest in environmental policy, I wanted to be a part of the action. Last summer I was able to experience this through a [Stanford in Government (SIG) fellowship](http://www.stanford.edu/group/SIG/cgi-bin/index.php/fellowships) with the [Planning and Conservation League (PCL)](http://www.stanford.edu/group/SIG/cgi-bin/index.php/statelocal-fellowships#planning) in Sacramento, CA. Not only was I able to campaign against certain propositions presented on the November ballot, but also take part in the legislative process, speaking in front of representatives, and following committee decisions. This was an extremely valuable experience which has largely affected my view on the role of the sciences in policy.
SIG offers a large number of environmental fellowships in Sacramento, a place where science and climate change is really being taken seriously. A fellowship at the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies allows students to work with clean energy companies and environmental organizations to promote renewable energy sources. Those interning at the Strategic Growth Council provides fellows with an opportunity to recommend policies and investment strategies regarding sustainability to the Governor, the****CA legislature and state agencies. Such fellowships provide students with real hands-on experience in shaping environmental policy. What’s more, they connect fellows with alumni and faculty and help establish lasting relationships with both. Fellows are paired with faculty mentors who advise them throughout the fellowship. Sacramento fellows in particular benefit from a large alumni network. The “take a fellow to lunch” program allows students to have lunch with Stanford alumni in the area.
My fellowship experience was truly influential in my plans moving forward. I now have a strong network of Stanford alumni and coworkers at PCL; more importantly, I have made lifelong friends. As a senior facing graduation in just a few short months, I can’t overemphasize the importance of great summer internships and their role in our future. SIG fellowships, particularly those related to the environment, are truly some of the best opportunities available for undergraduates and coterming seniors.