August 21, 2019
By: Taylor Day
Two Ohio State University students found internships with Ohio State’s energy partner, ENGIE, that combine their previous experiences with their genuine interests in energy and the environment.
Fourth-year student, Peri Turk, worked with ENGIE in Columbus over the summer as a lifecycle and expansion project support intern. The lifecycle and expansion project support intern assists the Capital Expansion team with acquiring construction and design services as well as with overall project execution. Dana Larison, who graduated in May, interned with ENGIE Digital in Paris for the month of June as a communications intern. After her experience in Paris, Larison returned to ENGIE in Columbus and began a six-month co-op position as a communications intern.
The lifecycle and expansion project support intern assists the Capital Expansion team with acquiring construction and design services as well as with overall project execution.
ENGIE, in consortium with Axium Infrastructure, make up Ohio State Energy Partners, which was selected in 2017 by Ohio State to operate, maintain and optimize the systems that heat, cool and distribute power to The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. In addition to a 25% committed reduction of energy consumption over 10 years, the agreement includes a robust academic collaboration program that supports 10 interns every year.
ENGIE’s internships offer technical experience with energy utilities and innovation as well as opportunities to contribute to the university’s sustainability goals.
Turk spent her time supporting ENGIE’s Capital Expansion team. This included work ranging from researching new technology and developing cost estimation tools to writing requests for proposals and working with the operations team in the power plant and utility tunnels.
In her first year at Ohio State, Turk became involved in Undergraduate Student Government’s Sustainability Committee. Turk noticed possible energy and environment solutions on campus, which made her more aware of sustainability and what that meant for students. She also serves as the president of the Sustainability Council at Ohio State.
She studied biomedical engineering as a freshman, but while researching alternative engineering majors, she discovered that ecological engineering really aligned with her interests and experiences in science and the environment. Through her experiences at Ohio State, Turk found an interest in hydraulics, energy and sustainability.
One of ENGIE’s current projects is determining the feasibility of rooftop solar for some of Ohio State’s buildings. The potential for technical experience that this project provided was one of the reasons that Turk applied for the internship.
“The internships make you feel like you’re actually making a difference,” Turk says. “Having reports and visible numbers allows you to see how your work is making an impact at Ohio State.”
Like Turk, Larison also switched majors before determining the path she wanted to take. Larison started at Ohio State in animal sciences but felt that her strengths lie elsewhere. After speaking with advisors about other majors offered at the university, she changed her major to strategic communication.
Throughout college, she completed internships that incorporated various facets of sustainability, including environmental policy and research. When the opportunity with ENGIE became available, so did the opportunity for Larison to combine her environmental interests with her communication skills to contribute to the sustainability goals at Ohio State.
At ENGIE in Columbus, Larison generated presentations for program managers to deliver messages about ENGIE operations, wrote press releases, coordinated outreach events and created marketing materials with Ohio State to promote ENGIE to a range of audiences.
Larison chose two minors, professional writing and international relations and diplomacy, which supported her interests in communications, sustainability and international studies. This combination of skills provided the perfect foundation for her internship in Paris with ENGIE Digital.
ENGIE Digital is ENGIE’s software company that creates technology for good by developing software products that make an impact on our energy world. These products range from smart homes and smart cities to services that improve operators’ safety and operational efficiency in the field and buying and selling spare parts within a worldwide community of energy professionals.
In Paris, Larison wrote a proposal to launch ENGIE Digital’s website, crafted social media posts and created new employee onboarding processes. Having already been with ENGIE at Ohio State for six months, she brought an insider’s perspective of smart institutions, which at Ohio State means using software and data regarding the energy efficiency of campus buildings to suggest ways the university can consume energy sustainably.
“This is my dream role and what all of my past roles have led up to,” Larison says. “I feel like I’m finally in the right place.”
Taylor Day was a student communications assistant at the Sustainability Institute until she graduated this summer.