Kevin interned with the Economic and Policy Studies Team, contributing his research talents to the Energy Transition Initiative. In particular, he analyzed the solar development permitting process in Virginia to determine ways to streamline the process, and published a report of his findings.
"The reality of the academic job market is that few of us will be able to secure a worthwhile position at a college or university. We need to prepare ourselves to seek other employment options, and PhD+ supplies you with the experience, mentorship, and confidence to apply your skills outside of academia."
Center for Economic and Policy Studies Intern
The focus of Kevin's PhD program is Ancient History, which is through the UVA History Department.
What are your post-PhD career aspirations?
I am hoping to become a professor of ancient history at a college or university.
Why did you choose to intern with the Cooper Center, Communications Team?
I wanted to do an internship where I could use my skills as a researcher in service of the public good.
What projects did you work on during your internship?
One of the center's main goals is to help Virginia meet its goal of switching to renewable energy by 2050. To that end, I have been analyzing the solar development permitting process in Virginia and trying to find ways to streamline that process. My work has consisted of examining permitting timelines and public records to determine potential inefficiencies as well as ways to facilitate dialog among various stakeholder groups. I will conclude my internship with a final report detailing potential policies for the state.
What have you learned as a result of your internship?
I learned how complex the interplay between private industry, local government, state government, and the public can be. Crafting the laws and regulations that facilitate that interplay is a difficult task, and one that is often carried out in reactive rather than proactive ways.
Has your experience in the Demographics Group helped you in your academic studies, given you skills you can use in a future career or helped you to think differently about your academic and/or career path?
My internship has taught me how to write up my research in an entirely new way. I had little experience communicating to a broad audience or incorporating visual data into my work. Now, I feel much more confident in applying my research skills to fields beyond my own and conveying my work to those outside academia.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I enjoyed most working with and learning from my supervisor, Elizabeth Marshall. It was very rewarding to dive into a new field of knowledge, and she was always there to provide guidance and insight.
Would you recommend the PhD Plus Program to future students?
I would highly recommend the PhD+ program to future students. The reality of the academic job market is that few of us will be able to secure a worthwhile position at a college or university. We need to prepare ourselves to seek other employment options, and PhD+ supplies you with the experience, mentorship, and confidence to apply your skills outside of academia.