Career Development: Internships
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Superior Preparation | Extraordinary Results

Professional experience allows students to learn about a particular field, develop contacts, and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations. In fact, practical experience ranks at the top of the list of what employers like to see in job candidates. Most employers look unfavorably on potential employees who come out of a professional graduate school without internship experience.

The Bren School places a strong emphasis on professional experience, and typically all MESM students complete an internship during the summer between their first and second year. The Career Development team works closely with students to help them secure rewarding internships in various sectors and organizations, and in locations across the U.S. and the world, depending on their interests and career goals.

MESM Summer Internships by the Numbers

Typical percentage of
MESM students who
complete an internship
between their first
and second
year of study
Percentage of MESM
interns who have received
some sort of funding
for their summer
internships over
the past two years
Number of
countries in
which students
have interned
over the
Minimum percentage of Bren-
facilitated summer internships
per year (via alumni, Career
Development postings, Group
Projects, Corporate
Partnerships, etc.)

"The Career Development team searched day and night for high-caliber internships that could provide good foundations for our careers. They made sure we found an internship we were excited about and that would help us understand the sector we were exploring."
Brenda Ponton, MESM 2013

A Closer Look: MESM Summer Interns in Action

See Summer 2018 #Brenternship highlights

Zach McKelvey (MESM) looks for pteropods from the morning's plankton tow on the R/V Shearwater during a trip to the Channel Islands for his internship with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) in Santa Barbara, CA.

Heather Hochrein (MESM) inside the PG&E office in San Francisco. As a Climate Policy intern in the Energy Procurement Department, Heather performed research and analysis related to the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan. "I learned so much about the electric sector and climate policy," says Heather. "It was also very relevant to EVMatch, my Eco-Entrepreneurship Project."
At a biofuels conference in Washington, D.C., Julia Paltseva (MESM) poses by a surfboard made entirely of algae. "Algae and their byproducts are a potential biofuels source, and the surfboard is very California," says Julia, who worked on Indonesian biofuels policy during her internship with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in Washington, D.C.
Cameron Dunning (MESM) touches "home" briefly among a sea of world flags on display at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, where he spent the summer as an intern.

During her internship with The Wine Group in Ripon, CA, Natalie Cochron (MESM) made ArcGIS maps of the group's California wineries and vineyards. Here, she takes a GPS reading next to a 130-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vine known as the "Mother Vine" because it is the origin of 3 clone varieties that make up 80% of all Cabernet Sauvignon grown in California.
As part of his internship with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Cody Wilgus (MESM) takes readings of dissolved oxygen and conductivity to calibrate data loggers deployed at a site on the Ventura River.

During his internship with American Rivers in Seattle, WA, Martin Merz (MESM) spent a month traveling through Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, and Montana. "We went to Camp Verde, Arizona, to interview farmers and water-trust practitioners who work with The Nature Conservancy [TNC] to restore flows to the Verde River," says Martin. "While we were there, TNC was installing their first pilot drip-irrigation project that will return conserved water back to the stream. They needed volunteers for the installation, so we worked on the project. In return, the farmers were more willing to have us interview them."

Michelle Graff (MESM) in Boston, MA, where she worked on energy-efficiency projects for the City of Boston's Environment Department.

Jen Kidson (MESM) and Geoff Willard (MESM) on Lake Cachuma during their internships with the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board (COMB) in Santa Barbara, CA.

Michael Millstein (MESM) in the office at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked on energy-efficiency projects for UCLA Health through the EDF Climate Corps Fellowship Program.

During her internship with The Nature Conservancy in Block Island, RI, Erica Felins (MESM) holds an American eel that is making its way back to the ocean to spawn. "We found super-cool stuff — both expected and unexpected!" says Erica. She worked with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to monitor The Great Salt Pond's juvenile fish population.

David Gruen (MESM) is seen fly-fishing on the Yellowstone River in Montana during Intern Day with his internship organization, Trout Unlimited, and Montana Aquatic Resources Services.

Jane Ballard (MESM) removes invasive Arundo donax from the Santa Clara River. Her summer internship with the UCSB Marine Science Institute's Riparian InVasion Research Lab was an extension of her Master's Group Project on Arundo.

Read stories about international summer internships from years past:
Building a Coral Nursery in the Dominican Republic
Water Issues in New Zealand
On the Road in Southern Chile
Trial by Fire in London and other international internships