The EcoFellow Experience: Willow Cohn
Hello! My name is Willow Cohn, and I am an EcoFellow at the Center for EcoTechnology. My primary role at CET focuses on Community Outreach and Education. In addition, I have had the opportunity to cross-train in many areas at CET including high performance building, food waste reduction, building science, and marketing.
I am a 2016 graduate of Siena Heights University, where I majored in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology. At Siena Heights I studied the science of the natural world and the connections that humans have to the environment. I have work experience in various sectors of the environmental field. I worked for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, The McDowell Environmental Center, and the Alaska Center for the Environment. I am passionate about the environmental field because I believe it holds a critical connection with many other fields and all aspects of life. As an environmentalist, my goal is to reduce human impact on the environment while being socially, culturally and ecologically just. I was attracted to CET because I felt my goals blended well with CET’s mission to promote technologies that have the least disruptive impact on the natural ecology of the Earth. I strongly believe in this mission and wanted to be part of an organization that was a pioneer in making instrumental change in the environment.
How I Spend My Time
The majority of my time at CET is spent developing and coordinating outreach and media events. I do this through educational campaigns that help residents take practical steps to include clean energy, energy efficiency, recycling, composting and other green behaviors in their lives: choices that support a sustainable future for us all. The really cool part about my job as an EcoFellow is I get to work with a variety of programs, including RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts, the Mass. Farm Energy Program, High Performance Building, and energy efficiency for businesses in the region. I support this work by developing research and analysis projects, working with stakeholders, providing administrative support, and grant writing.
My Favorite Project
My favorite project has been helping develop the content for our new food waste diversion assistance website. I am very interested in the process of diverting food waste, and it has been a great learning experience to research scientific literature and consolidate the information to a regional website that will assist businesses, institutions, state agencies and other organizations keep wasted food out of landfills. It feels awesome to be a part of a team to develop a such an amazing and important resource from scratch!
The EcoFellowship exposes the EcoFellows to a variety of career paths and provides tangible skills that we need for the next steps in our career. I have monthly meetings with my supervisors to talk about where I want my career path to go and the skills I will need for future jobs. My supervisors have been really helpful on tailoring professional development and trainings to better my success for the future. They regularly schedule tours, conferences, and workshops for us to attend, and we are encouraged to find learning opportunities unique to our interests. I have enjoyed attending the International Conference on Sustainable Development in New York City, and participating in the C2C Sustainability Leadership Workshop held at Bard College. A major part of my growth here has been learning from other professionals at CET! The staff is wonderful and available to help the EcoFellows grow in any way possible.
I joined the EcoFellowship to be exposed to new careers in sustainability and gain skills I need to keep moving forward. After only six months, I feel like I have accomplished many of those things. I am excited to continue growing personally and professionally in my next five months here at CET. If being a future environmental leader is your goal, the EcoFellowship is a great stepping stone to catalyze your career!
Applications for EcoFellowship class of 2018-2019 are open now! Apply today!