The EcoFellow Experience: Natasha Nurjadin
If you’re like me when I was in college, you love the environment but have no idea how to convert this passion into a real career. I knew that out of college, I wanted to work somewhere meaningful and where I could develop skills, but not at the expense of a solid career track. Thus, the EcoFellowship was a perfect fit. I’ve developed skills in the realm of energy, specifically with energy efficiency and high performance building. I’ve also developed professionally, realizing that I have a really strong analytical mind and communications background that I can apply to all of the projects I work on. As my experience as an EcoFellow continues, I hope to further solidify my aspirations to become an environmental professional in the realm of energy and the built environment, trying to make energy efficiency more accessible to everyone.
My role as an EcoFellow
I’m the Building Science EcoFellow, which means I primarily work on projects relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including innovative new programs that CET administers. One week, I may be supporting the energy team in administering home energy assessments, learning how to talk to customers and about the different energy efficiency incentives. This has also involved being out of the office on site visits, shadowing and supporting the energy specialists in the field. On another week, I may be helping with the Solar Access program, which aims to provide renewable energy and new heating and cooling technology to low-middle income homeowners. I have shadowed and compared different kinds of buildings, from already built homes looking for upgrades, to newly constructed homes and multi-family residences.
What skills have you learned during your EcoFellowship that will help you in future professional endeavors?
Throughout the EcoFellowship, I have been developing my knowledge of building science through both working on programs and shadowing opportunities. By far the most useful skill I have learned is how to speak to customers about building science topics through translating some of the technical jargon into understandable language. This skill will definitely go a long way in my future career as I try to navigate how to make energy efficiency attractive to everyone. In addition to this skill, I’ve also learned project management, following outreach opportunities from beginning to end, as well as research and data management skills.
What is your favorite project you have worked on?
My favorite program that I work on is Solar Access. Solar Access is a program that is aimed at low to middle-income homeowners, who are often left out of incentive opportunities and may not be financially stable enough to purchase solar panels on their own. I love working on this program because it makes a huge difference in people’s lives, and I have also taken the lead on key projects to meet the program’s goals. These projects have ranged from helping design the referral program to doing outreach that reaches thousands of households.
What has been your favorite professional development opportunity?
I have really enjoyed shadowing and observing many energy efficient homes and buildings, however my favorite professional development opportunity has to be the NESEA ProTour of an affordable housing multi-family LEED Platinum development in Boston. CET is a member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, and as a part of the membership, the EcoFellows get to attend their events, including their tours of high efficiency buildings. I really appreciated getting the opportunity to walk through and learn about a multi-family residential development and how they cut costs but maintain efficiency.
Why is this EcoFellowship a unique experience?
This EcoFellowship has allowed me to create my own experience and really tailor it to my interests. CET really cares about what we are interested in and helps us achieve those goals. When I wanted to develop more skills in marketing, my supervisors immediately put me onto marketing projects, even allowing me to take ownership of some projects. Not only have I developed my hard skills in working on tangible projects, but I’ve also had the opportunity to grow and develop my interests within the environmental field. I am so excited to finish off my fellowship strong!