Floating Lessons: Intern Blogs Week 1

The DeepCwind Consortium reviewed dozens of applications and placed 12 students around Maine and Washington, D.C. for eight-week-long summer internships. Follow this series to hear from the mouths of interns what it's like to work for companies that are launching the floating deepwater offshore wind industry.

Peter Drown, Undergraduate in Economics
Interning at Strategic Marketing Innovations (SMI), Washington, D.C.

D.C. is HOT! The city tied records for the month of June with back-to-back 100-plus degree days this week, although I can’t complain after emerging from an eight-month hibernation in the great white north. I was hoping to get some color this weekend, but thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Hannah Ruhl, Undergraduate in Food Science and Nutrition
Interning at AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center


The first few days were mostly training, but it was a good transition because we did not have to worry about any sort of deadlines while still being very new to the environment. On that note, I did just complete my first assignment. I am a bit nervous about how I did writing my first policy review, but I know I will improve as the summer goes on and I feel confident that I learned a ton of information. I like that we have such a small group of interns and I have found that we all mesh well with the existing employees. Although I am still at the point where I meet at least one new person every day, I already feel comfortable with the people I do know, and I can’t wait to see what is next!

Alan Rounds, Undergraduate in Economics
Interning at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute

The most challenging aspect of my internship thus far may sound strange: acronyms. The amount of acronyms and jargon that are specific to these subject areas that are thrown around in conversation are confusing at first encounter, but I have been learning some of the jargon and have been getting a grasp on most of it. For example, I was previously unfamiliar with the federal agency BOEMRE (the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement), so when it was dropped into conversation, I had to get some clarification. Since so many agencies and organizations at many levels are involved with the work that I am doing, there has been much familiarization with many of them. The initial learning curve has been a bit steep, but I feel I'm getting the hang of things and look forward to the rest of my time here and all the opportunities available to me.

Solomon Nkhalamba, Undergraduate in Economics
Interning at Bangor Hydro Electric Company

My colleagues have welcomed me so warmly that I don't have any anxiety. My desk is in between two staff members who graduated with their Masters from the School of Economics at UMaine and are very helpful and motivational. One is an international student from India who did her masters in Financial Economics—my major—and the other one who is supervising me got his Masters in Resource Economics. My concern about transportation is no more since I found out that there is a bus which goes by Old Town at 5:55 a.m. that enables me to get to work earlier. If I miss it in Old Town I can bike to UMaine campus and catch it before 6:30 a.m. which I did on Monday. That bus enables me to get to work about 30 minutes before 8 a.m., which means my days starts at 7:30, then I take an hour lunch break at noon and get out at 4:30 p.m. Leaving at 4:30 gives me enough time to walk to the bus depot and get on the bus which enables me to catch the last bus to Old Town from downtown Bangor.

Caitlin Howland, Undergraduate in Economics and Spanish
Interning at AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center

Caitlin1_webI have never had a real job in the common sense of the word before being hired by the DeepCwind Consortium. My previous work experience included a simple work-study job through the university and teaching children everything I know about how to have fun as a camp counselor in the summer. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

In the past week, I think I have learned more about wind energy than I could have ever dreamed of. I came in with a basic knowledge—maybe even a little more thanks to Professor Gary Hunt teaching us about the three proposed floating turbine designs in our “Sustainable Energy: Economics and Policies” class last semester. In general, though, I had a fair amount of catching up to do. Google has become my best friend.

From safety certifications, to new pitch ideas, and our personal assignments, the week was jam-packed with activities and finding my niche here. Never before have I quite appreciated the learning curve effect.

Being expected to know things is the best motivation to learn them. High expectations deliver high performance. When family and friends pose the question, “How is the new job?” I tell them how interesting it is. They get into trouble if they ask more questions and allow me to ramble on for the next half hour about how cool a deepwater offshore wind project would be and how much of a boost it would be to Maine’s economy.