The EcoFellow Experience: Katie Costantini
Today marks six months into the 2016-2017 EcoFellowship! So far, I have learned so much about energy efficiency, renewable energy, and waste reduction through my outreach and education work as well as collaboration with the other fellows.
I graduated from Williams College last June, where I majored in Psychology and completed a concentration in Environmental Studies. For my first two years at Williams, I was on track to go to medical school. Everything changed when I decided to spend a semester in Australia studying sustainability and environmental action. My eyes were opened to the world of renewable energy, composting, climate change resilience and adaptation, and how personal and community environmental initiatives can have an incredible impact.
When I returned to Williams, I spent my last three semesters taking as many environmental courses as I could. By the time I began looking for jobs, I knew I wanted to go into the environmental field, but I had no idea how to pick a specific direction.
Cue my discovery of CET’s EcoFellowship program! I was drawn to the fellowship because it gives fellows the opportunity to gain experience, knowledge, and training in so many aspects of environmental work, while making substantive contributions to CET’s impact.
Over my year at CET, Lexie and I will attend over 150 events either by staffing information tables or giving presentations. This responsibility has helped me develop communication skills so that I can connect with anyone who comes to our table, and help them get excited about pro-environmental behaviors regardless of age or background knowledge. Whether people come to our table looking to save money, make their home more comfortable, or reduce their carbon footprint, we do our best to help them take a green action.
We give presentations to all sorts of people, from senior citizens to community groups to students. Working with students, from kindergarten to college, has been a highlight of my job. Lexie and I gave a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” presentation to over 500 students in Pittsfield elementary schools! One of the most rewarding projects was going back to Williams to train students in weatherization for the 2016 Winter Blitz, where students help seal up houses in the community to keep local residents warm as well as lower their energy costs and environmental footprint.
Finally, with the support and guidance of CET, I’ve been able to pursue some really exciting, new projects! I am working on a climate change education resource guide focused on evidence-based solutions for public middle and high schools as well as vocational and technical schools in Massachusetts. Also, Lexie and I are planning a speaker event focused on tangible actions people in the community can take to confront climate change.
I truly could not ask for a better first step in my career right out of college. CET has given me an incredible balance of responsibility and impact along with mentorship and training. I am so excited for what I can accomplish in the remaining months!