College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

Internship Experiences


A new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that students who completed internships during their college careers were better off securing permanent jobs than those who did not. This is true for ENST undergraduate alumnus Amanda Johnson Hren and current student Matthew Karlin.

MATTHEW KARLIN, Environmental Science and Technology major, interned at New York Green Roofs, LLC, which specializes in sustainable designs throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx area. During the internship, Karlin learned the ins and outs of designing, installing, and maintaining green roofs. “I installed two green roofs as well as repaired, maintained, and of course, picked the weeds off many others,” he explains. “This taught me way more about green roofs than any textbook.”

As part of his job, Karlin also worked on irrigation systems, which involved artificial use of water for agriculture purposes, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of dry soils during periods of inadequate rainfall. “I did the nuts and bolts work for irrigation systems, which relied heavily on manual labor on rooftops, under the scorching sun,” he describes. In addition, Karlin learned how green businesses operate in America, realizing that they are as much profit oriented as any other company. “The fact is that green companies are businesses first. That’s the nature of the society we live in,” notes Karlin.

Karlin tells that the Restoration Ecology class he took with Dr. David Tilley is what sparked his interest in sustainable ecology projects like green roofs and green walls. “ENST provided me with the introduction to the environmental technology and helped me understand that I am happy when I am working outdoors in the field.”

AMANDA JOHNSON HREN, Environmental Science and Technology major, completed her internship at the Alliance for Green Heat in Maryland, a small nonprofit start-up group promoting residential thermal biomass as an alternative energy source. Hren believes that launching her career in a start-up atmosphere has made her more willing to voice suggestions to upper level management; which might otherwise be intimidating to a recent graduate. 

Her internship also introduced her to the political aspects of renewable energy, as she attended House and Senate informational meetings arranged by industry groups. “These meetings showed me the remarkable ignorance of some elected officials when it comes to renewable energy, and it is something no one teaches you in class,” says Hren. “I strongly believe that having worked in both the renewable energy field and the unique environment of a start-up organization contributed significantly to getting me hired.” 

Currently, Hren is a staff scientist at Apex Company where she works on a variety of environmental projects; proposal writing, remediation work and data collection. Her projects include stormwater sampling for the DC government, in-situ remediation of PCE-contaminated water, and Phase I and II environmental site assessments. “I feel lucky to have found a job I like so much, and so soon following my graduation!” Hren believes that the ENST program made her who she is today, as it offered her so much room for choice and customization of the degree. “Within the Ecological Technology Design concentration, I was able to pick and se classes, which specifically appealed to my love of residential-scale renewable practices and designs.”

ENST Student Helps Create Hudrogen Fuel for Automobiles

Yaella Landau, an environmental science and technology major, worked as a summer research intern at the Arava Institute in Israel, located on Kibbutz Ketura.  

internashipThe Arava Institute is a regional gathering place for Israelis, Palestinians, and people of other nationalities to study common environmental problems. Landau’s research project involved creating hydrogen fuel for automobiles using Boron’s hydrolysis reaction. “I have learned a great deal about hydrogen cars and specifically the metal hydrolysis process,” says Landau. In conjunction with her research, Landau also worked as assistant to Dr. Tareq Abu-Hamed, director of the Arava Institute.

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