Major: Environmental Science & Management
- Internship: Community Organizer Intern at Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)
- Participated: Winter 2021
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/judith-eppele-a5b234201/
Tell us about your internship. What kind of work did you do? What did you find rewarding?
I was a community organizing intern, and so I was able to assist local communities and statewide groups in their organizing and skill building efforts. I also helped coordinate CHEJ community projects such as our small grants program and the Unequal Response Unequal Protection campaign. Working directly with community groups was definitely the most rewarding part for me. I was able to learn who and what their stories were, and provide whatever assistance I could in their fight against toxic chemical contamination.
Have your career or life goals changed as a result of your internship? If so, how?
I didn't know exactly where I wanted to land in the environmental field, but thanks to my time at CHEJ I know that I definitely want to be involved with grassroots organizing in some way.
Share an exciting memory from your internship – something unexpected, an accomplishment, someone you met.
Unequal Response Unequal Protection (URUP) is one of our main campaigns at CHEJ, and I was lucky enough to create a couple documents that will be used throughout the project. For instance, I researched and compiled a list of contact information for a multitude of community groups that would be integral in expanding our campaign. Further, I developed a community demographics outline for URUP sites that will be incredibly useful in analyzing the burden of each area. For example, how many and what type of injection wells are in the community? I'm honored to have been given these responsibilities and to have helped fight against toxic chemical contamination throughout our communities.
Did your internship lead to any opportunities?
I'm going to intern with CHEJ throughout the next quarter, and possibly afterwards as well. I can't wait to garner more experience with community organizing and grassroots activism!
Share a story about something special you did in Washington – an event you attended, a place you went, an exciting talk, etc.
Though remote, I was able to go to the talk with Congresswoman Jackie Speier. It was incredible to see someone go through so much in their life and yet persevere through it all. She has definitely inspired me, and I hope that the UCDC cohorts to come will be able to listen to her speak as well--she's amazing!
Do you have any advice for future UCDC students?
Take advantage of the mentorship program! I was able to connect with an awesome mentor who went to my college and is in the field I'm looking to go into. You can gain valuable information from their experiences, increase your network, and even make a new friend.