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Polisci student Katherine Escalante heading to Yale’s conservation and leadership program

In late October of last year, I began my quest for a summer internship. This search led me to dozens of applications, multiple phone screenings, and a couple of final round interviews. After a long four months, I was thrilled that I was accepted at the Yale Conservation Scholars - Early Leadership Initiative (YCS-ELI) for their summer 2023 internship program through the Yale School of Environment. I chose this opportunity because I am passionate about roles and programs that align with my commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). YCS-ELI puts DEI at the forefront of sustainability and conservation, and I cannot wait to gain new perspectives on this and learn how I can better align my values with my work.

In addition to my internship, I will have the opportunity to attend the New Horizons Conservation Conference in New Haven, Connecticut, before my internship begins. During the conference, I will attend sessions on a variety of topics, including Indigenous Sovereignty, Environmental Crimes, and Climate Migration. I am thrilled to learn about the many niches within sustainability and hear about the incredible work being done across the country to further justice, equity, and diversity.

Although I am still in the site matching process for my internship, I am excited to work with an organization committed to advancing environmental policy or local conservation initiatives. My top choices would involve community outreach projects, social media content creation, and public speaking opportunities. I am eager to apply my current skill set to a new and exciting space while learning more about conservation and environmental policy in a practical sense. After my internship concludes, I will also participate in the Annual Capstone Symposium, where I will get to practice my professional skills and present a "flash talk" about my internship experience.

Overall, I am thrilled to embark on this journey with YCS-ELI and grateful for the opportunity to grow personally and professionally while making a positive impact in the world.


Written by Katherine Escalante