All ENVS majors are required to complete an Applied Experience, which is an internship, research, or similar work or volunteer experience related to environment issues or sustainability. The goal of the requirement is to ensure that students have practical, hands-on experience in a workplace or community setting that will help prepare them for the next step in their education and career. These experiences allow students to “try on” an environmental or sustainability-related career option of interest to see if it meets expectations and acquire skills of value in the workplace. They also provide real-world applications and context for what students have been learning in their academic coursework.
What Is Involved
The 1-credit Applied Experience course can be completed during any semester including summers. It involves at least 80 hours of supervised, hands-on experience working with an organization (e.g., a private company, non-profit organization, university, or government agency) on environmental or sustainability issues. Synthesizing assignments reflecting on the experience are also required to complete the course (see syllabus in sidebar).
Each student must identify, apply for, and set up their own Applied Experience so that it is tailored to their particular interests. Announcements about available opportunities are regularly sent out to ENVS majors by email, but many students find their own experiences online or through personal contacts. The experience can be paid or unpaid and can take place anywhere in the world, including being part of a structured learning experience such as study abroad. Some students choose to work with a local Baltimore organization during the fall or spring semester, while others work at another location in the U.S. or abroad during the summer.
Students are encouraged to check with the ENVS DUS to make certain that an opportunity they have identified is suitable for an Applied Experience. Once the experience is arranged, they should fill out the Applied Experience proposal form (see sidebar) and send it to the DUS. After it is approved, the student can register for the 1-credit course.
Some of the Applied Experiences that ENVS majors have completed include:
- Intern with the JHU Office of Sustainability
- Intern with the National Aquarium in Baltimore
- Intern with the Baltimore Department of Planning’s Office of Sustainability in their Made in Baltimore program
- Intern with WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem, New York City
- Intern with Bloomberg Philanthropies in Manhattan, New York City
- Volunteer at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary run by the National Audubon Society outside of Naples, Florida