Ellie Hartye is a sophomore Global Studies and Spanish double major. She works as a research assistant for the North American Renewable and Neutral Energy Alliance (NARNEA).
Q: Describe a typical day at your job.
A: “NARNEA is a sustainability project focused on the North American continent. As a research assistant, I usually go to the lab and research statistics and numbers/costs of implementing certain projects. I look at the cost benefit analysis for different types of renewable resources. I read a lot of articles and books to get well acquainted about the information. I am learning how to write in a language that does not come off as urgent or politically charged in order to meet a broader audience of people. We also work with GIS systems and mapping.”
Q: What past work experience do you have in clean-tech?
A: “This is my first clean tech job. It was offered to me by my Professor of my freshman year seminar class on sustainable and finite energy resources.”
Q: What skills did you need to learn that other job-hunters should cultivate?
A: “I needed to learn researching skills and how to prioritize what I needed to find for that day. It is best to take small steps when finding information because there is so much out there, so the more specific the better. Working with a group of people, you need to learn communication skills to be able to translate the complex information in a simplified and concise way. ”
Q: Describe a time you messed up at work or were uncertain of what to do. What happened? How did you handle it? What did you learn?
A: “I was confused about the type of information that my boss wanted me to look for, and I had been looking for the wrong numbers for a while. Regardless of what you find, it is all pertinent information and worth sharing, so I did share the information anyway. It helped me to communicate and with utter honesty my interpretation of what I thought he had said. After explaining my mistake, he thoroughly clarified what he meant for me to research and I asked as many questions as possible to confirm. Being honest is the best form of communication, and not being afraid to admit your confusions and mistakes. You and your boss grow as a result by finding new ways to communicate or understand something.”
Q: What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known earlier during job-hunting?
A: “I wish I knew a lot more background knowledge on renewables. I also wish I knew that think tanks are integral to getting information from all aspects because economics is super important to be knowledgeable of. Knowing about the market system and how it works and having someone introduce me to the environmental economics area and how it works would have helped a lot.”