Hi, everyone! My name is Caroline Weiss and I am a recipient of the Frederick Award this year. I’m from Lancaster, PA and missing Pittsburgh after a year at home! A rising senior at Pitt, I’m double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science as well as getting a certificate in Global Studies. Outside of school, I work as an Eco-Rep promoting sustainability in the residence halls and at Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade nonprofit. I am also a member of Epsilon Eta Environmental Honors Fraternity and Pitt Women in Law. I love to spend time outdoors, whether it’s kayaking, running, or hiking! During the past year, whenever I was not on my laptop I was hiking, which has been a great way to relax and to get out of the house. I also enjoy volunteering, reading, and baking in my free time.
In the past, I have interned for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, written for the Pitt Climate Center, volunteered at the Lancaster Environmental Center, and worked at children’s camps centered around agriculture and nature. I love teaching others about the environment and fostering good stewardship. My love for sustainability and nature stems from these experiences as well as from my parents’ environmentally friendly habits and frequent family hikes growing up.
Sustainability and environmental policy are my primary academic interests. To further pursue these passions, I’m considering attending graduate school for environmental law and policy. Currently, I’m planning on taking a gap year or two after I graduate to complete service either abroad with the Peace Corps or through a domestic program. After my service and possible graduate school, I hope to work with an environmental law firm and/or environmental nonprofit to help advance renewable energy policy, combat climate change, and/or protect natural lands.
This summer, I will be working virtually as an Environmental Policy Advocate Intern at the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, a position that aligns well with my professional goals. I will learn about priority legislation for the Sierra Club, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Community Solar, and Growing Greener. Additionally, I will conduct campaign finance research, support volunteer lobby teams, and attend lobbying and Committee meetings. Attending virtual legislative meetings to take notes will be a great opportunity to better understand the process of advancing environmental policies.
I chose this internship because I know I will gain valuable knowledge of environmental policy in Pennsylvania, which will help me decide if I want to study this field in graduate school. Personally, this internship is a good fit because the position is extremely flexible and allows me to complete a study abroad experience.
I look forward to supporting the Sierra Club’s mission to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet while improving skills such as research and information synthesis. The PA Sierra Club Legislative and Political Director will be able to provide resources and advice that will help me develop professionally. Being able to apply what I’ve learned in my classes so far to discussions about pressing environmental policies will be a very beneficial experience. Since I am new to lobbying, I’m excited to get my foot in the door and hopefully contribute to the success of priority environmental legislation. I am so grateful to Mr. David C. Frederick and the award advisors for making this opportunity possible!