Drew Hill - Guatemala

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Internship locations: Berkeley, Calif.; Antigua and San Lorenzo, Guatemala
Career goal: To advance public health by studying and mitigating the effects of anthropogenic air pollution on health and climate

Internship summary:
The first nine weeks were spent consulting with a Berkeley-based social venture firm. There, I lead an initiative to compare biomass energy projects registered with two high-profile carbon finance registries. I also designed a field study to test the specific size distribution of improved cook stove emissions. This study took me to Guatemala for three weeks, where I performed measurements in a typical Guatemalan kitchen. While in Guatemala, I attended a conference on cook stove research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and toured the world’s first air pollution intervention RCT field site with Nobel co-laureate Kirk Smith.

Value of experience:
My internship provided me with an invaluable look into the workings of a successful environmental health social venture. I learned proposal writing, intra-office communication and field research skills from veterans of environmental health and climate advocacy, and was afforded many opportunities to mingle and network with leaders in these fields. Perhaps most importantly, my involvement in the full life-cycle of a research project allowed me to see field research in a more realistic light: very few things in the field proceed as they are planned in the office. This realization was difficult, but ultimately I came out of it with greater confidence and a better understanding of my abilities.

Best moment:
I learned a great deal from doctoral students, post-docs and professionals while working this summer, and am most pleased with the friendships and working partnerships that I made along the way—relationships that I’m sure will be long-lasting.