I have always envisioned focusing my career on energy and the environment. Interning at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is an excellent way to jumpstart that career. I also felt encouraged to pursue this internship by the recent emphasis on equity in California’s policymaking.
How does your role support the host organization’s mission?
The CPUC regulates privately-owned utilities for the benefit of Californian ratepayers. As an intern in Commissioner Shiroma's office, I advise the Commissioner on energy policy. This role involves tasks such as briefing the Commissioner on proposed decisions that she will have to vote on and summarizing comments from stakeholders on our rulemakings.
Describe at least one project you will be working on this summer.
My main project involves a rulemaking on clean energy finance. The CPUC is currently evaluating existing financing programs that are offered by investor-owned utilities in order to understand how to make them more scalable. A common issue among these programs is that they are inaccessible to lower- or middle-income customers and disadvantaged communities who often face credit worthiness issues. The CPUC hopes to expand these programs by improving their accessibility, ensuring that all Californians can benefit from clean energy.
How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?
This project feels like a continuation of my master's program, where I took courses like electricity economics that have been very useful for my internship. This project also gives me firsthand experience in current topics in California energy and environmental policy. This experience is highly relevant as I apply to full-time positions in the public sector.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy hiking on one of the many Southern Californian trails I discovered last year. Recently, I have also been enjoying John Green's new book, “The Anthroprocene Reviewed,” which is a collection of reviews of different aspects of modern life. I find his reviews very profound and insightful.