Lauren completed an internship with the Cooper Center Energy Transition Initiative. She worked primarily on helping to develop the Clean Energy Dashboard for the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy.
"It was such a great learning experience and I had the chance to work with some really talented researchers and students. I gained some really tangible skills that stand out on my resume."
Energy Transition Initiative Intern
Lauren was a second-year student, studying Commerce with a minor in Data Analytics when she completed her internship.
What projects did you work on as part of your internship?
I mainly focused on writing the code to create the graphs and figures that appear on the DMME (Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy) Clean Energy dashboard. I also helped a bit with data collection, cleaning, and management. This dashboard is really important for ensuring that the state is held accountable for accomplishing the energy goals that they've set out to do. Virginia has some really progressive clean energy policies, but this dashboard will be key in helping policymakers understand exactly what work still needs to be done.
What did you learn as a result of this independent study?
I became very proficient in R Studio, and I learned a lot about how to visualize data effectively to tell as story.
Has your experience 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? If so, how?
My experience has really helped me in my academic studies. After working on data visualization in R Studio all summer, I decided to pursue a Data Analytics minor, and my coding skills have really helped me this year in the statistics classes I've taken. The ability to analyze and work with data is such an important skill that employers are looking for right now, so I know I will be able to leverage this experience at the Cooper Center in my future career no matter what industry I end up in.
What did you most enjoy about the independent study?
I really enjoyed getting the chance to work with other UVA students that I wouldn't have otherwise had the chance to meet. I loved that this was an interdisciplinary project, so I got to learn from undergrads and graduate students studying engineering, public policy, environmental science, economics and more.
Would you recommend working at the Cooper Center to future students?
I would absolutely encourage them to participate. I joined the team quite impulsively after coming across an ad looking for students who knew R Studio. I had just taken an intro level class and really enjoyed it, so this was a great opportunity to learn more about data analytics during my summer in quarantine. It was such a great learning experience and I had the chance to work with some really talented researchers and students, as well. Since finishing the project, I've been able to talk about this experience in many different job interviews and I gained some really tangible skills that stand out on my resume.