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5 Questions with Campus As A Classroom Intern Sarah Jacobs

Close-up of Sarah Jacobs - 5 Questions with Campus As A Classroom Intern Sarah Jacobs - College of Natural Resources News NC State University

Sarah Jacobs, a senior studying environmental technology and management in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State, is one of six students in the College of Natural Resources to be selected for the 2022-23 cohort of the Campus As A Classroom program.

For the Campus As A Classroom program, coordinated by the NC State Sustainability Office, students interns will be working on a variety of projects that serve to advance sustainability at NC State. Jacobs will be collecting and analyzing data for the campus greenhouse gas emissions inventory and sustainability map.

We recently spoke with Jacobs about her experience in the Campus As A Classroom program and how the College of Natural Resources has helped prepare her for the internship. Check out the Q&A below to learn more.

What kinds of things will you be doing during your internship?

As one of the sustainability project interns, I am fortunate to be able to work on a variety of sustainability-focused initiatives around campus. A majority of my time will be concentrated on updating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals course inventory, assisting with the development and implementation of a campus sustainability GIS story map, and sorting the university’s travel data to track its greenhouse gas emissions. These projects will have me primarily stationed in the Sustainability Office on main campus; however, I will be able to explore the university’s green resources as I help to craft our new GIS map.

How did you find out about Campus As A Classroom and why were you interested in it?

I actually found the Campus As A Classroom internship on a College of Natural Resources newsletter when it made its first debut in the summer of 2021. I was able to learn a lot about the program and my own strengths when I initially went through the application process, and I was excited to try again the following year.

This summer, having previous experience with the program and interview process, I submitted another application and was very excited to see the new internships being offered. I find this experience to be unique and valuable to my future work with conservation and I enjoy getting to see my own efforts implemented on campus. The sustainability projects internship, specifically, intrigued me with the continuous ability to explore my interests in the field beyond one singular focus. 

In what ways did the College of Natural Resources prepare you for this internship?

I am always quick to brag about the College of Natural Resources. The vast amount of experiences, opportunities and connections I received in one email alone from the College of Natural Resources was enough to ensure I felt prepared and knowledgeable about my internship.

As an environmental technology and management major, I felt ready to work with many of the skillsets I use throughout my position with the university’s Sustainability Office, such as GIS navigability, data sorting and background information on greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond academic confidence, the College of Natural Resources has also been incredibly helpful in increasing my professional competency with interviews and resume submissions. 

What are your long-term goals and how does this internship factor in?

Currently, I am hoping to pursue a career in environmental consultation after graduation. With a bachelor’s degree in both environmental technology and management and economics, I want to focus on implementing sustainable management plans that are affordable for future clients. This internship is an incredible opportunity for me to pursue this path, as the visualization of data from an institution as large as NC State is a really unique opportunity.

Sorting the travel data for the university’s greenhouse gas inventory and drafting a GIS story map have allowed me to observe campus-wide initiatives that address the logistics of environmental issues in Raleigh. As a future consultant, I will be faced with finding solutions to these issues in a variety of other projects so I am grateful for the ability to learn from NC State from a different perspective. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while at NC State?

I have certainly learned many things from NC State, being from Colorado and one of the many freshmen who started college in 2020. The most important thing I have learned, however, is how to focus on what I love. NC State does an excellent job at providing an overwhelming amount of opportunities for its students and I have felt very fortunate to find many of my own niches on campus. I have learned how to be more confident in pursuing the work I am passionate about, which has helped me to navigate my future within the university and beyond.