From Internship to Dream Job: The journey begins with discovering which path is right for you
Zack Angelini’s story is one that most graduate students wish was theirs. In his final months as a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire, Zack studies Civil and Environmental Engineering and he is excited and happy with his new role as the Manager of Environmental Stewardship.
Zack discovered his passion for stewardship during a year long stay as an Energy Flagship Intern for CSIRO, an Australian government agency for scientific research which, focuses on social and economic improvement. As part of his work, he visited some of the most remote beaches of Australia, often 12 hours from civilization, while conducting research on marine debris. Some beaches were pristine while others looked like a landfill of plastics, depending on the ocean currents.
Seeing such destruction was “a huge wake-up call,” for him. It was at that moment that he decided to get involved within the business sector. He wanted to help prevent such problems, rather than clean them up. Zack is unlike his peers, where civil and environmental engineers typically enter the public sector to address municipal issues.
When Zack returned home and sought an internship at Timberland, this past summer, as a Sustainable Product Intern at their headquarters in Statham, NH, where he conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) on the components in their footwear—LCA is a tool used to measure the environmental impacts of a product. It begins with the materials used to make the shoe and measures the impacts all through the stages of consumer to disposal of the product—otherwise known as cradle-to-grave.
His analysis helped identify the areas most damaging to the environment in regard to water, energy, deforestation among other areas with negative environmental consequences. Learning about the most severe impacts helped the organization prioritize new ‘green’ initiatives and reduce the product’s environmental impact. You can see a summary of his work as an intern, which lead to his dream job offer.
Now Zack’s day-to-day activities vary. I met with Zack while attended a circular-design event for the fashion industry in NYC. Back in his office, he facilitates different Timberland Green Working Groups, where he fosters collaboration between the silos of Product Development, Product design, Marketing, and, Material Development. Together, they identify the significant environmental impacts and collectively develop their internal goals toward improved environmental and social concerns.
He is constantly looking at the company’s standards and researching new and improved production methods, and cleaner and ethically sourced materials. It was clear that Zack’s favorite part of his job was to make an impact by working with and listening to the different departments’ viewpoints.
The only thing Zack would like to change about his job is to live close enough to cycle to work. For now he’ll continue to work his dream job while completing his Master’s thesis and graduate this spring. He’ll take it one step at a time, most likely in his Timberlands.