EGEE 495
Energy and Sustainability Policy Internship

Journal Assignments

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Assignment Details

You are expected to post to your personal journal weekly (URL to be uploaded to Canvas). You can see more about what content is expected in your posts below, but first I want to express why this weekly journaling assignment exists. First, we want you to have a record of what you accomplished on the job! You may think you will easily recall everything when the semester is over, but the experiences you have now may benefit you years down the road, so it is important to have a good record of what you've learned and what you have experienced! Additionally, your journal can serve as a product that you can use to demonstrate to future employers and academics your accomplishments, approach to work, and ability to communicate. You may also find the contents to be a useful reference for future projects and research.

Secondly, one of the first interview questions you will inevitably be asked is about your degree. "I see you have a B.A. in Energy and Sustainability Policy; explain the program and how it relates to this job..." While you may have a good understanding of the degree and it's learning competencies, and you may already be applying much of the information in your current job, being able to communicate the connection between your education and your real-world experience may be a challenge. By reflecting weekly on how what you did relates to your coursework and the program overall, you will be versed in connecting the dots. That way, when you're in the hot seat, that question will be one of the easiest you address!

Journal Requirements

Students are expected to set up a blog site to journal about the internship experience. You can use sites.psu.edu to set up a personal blog space, or you can choose another blogging site. If you would like to use the Penn State Sites, first you need to Activate Penn State Personal Web Space and then you can create a blog at sites.psu.edu.

For the journal entries themselves, please provide as much detail as you can without compromising any proprietary or private information. It is expected that if you adequately address the weekly topics and other requirements as outlined below, your post will be 800+ words in length. Please refer to the syllabus and grading rubric (in Canvas) for further information regarding the level of effort that is expected for your journal. In short, it should be a formal, polished product that you would be proud to hand over to a potential employer as an exhibit of your abilities and experiences. The journal entries should include:

  • Summarization of weekly events, providing details regarding your role and responsibilities.
  • Personal Reflection:
    • Summary: What did you enjoy doing this week; what responsibilities did you dislike? What did you do well? What do you need to work on? Are you learning anything new? Are you growing your skill set? Your confidence? Are there assumptions you've made in the past that are being challenged by your current experiences?
    • Challenges: What responsibilities were challenging to complete? What are some of the road blocks you encountered this week? How did that affect your ability to do your job? What areas do you need to learn more about in order to do this job more confidently?
    • Discuss ideas or theories related to your experiences/observations: How does what you've seen/experienced connect to what you already knew? What was surprising, and why? Have you drawn any new conclusions? How does what you've seen/experienced connect with material you've learned in your coursework?

  • Responses to the weekly topics and how your experiences connect to the program core competencies. See Grading Rubric for more info.
  • Photos, links, pdfs, and any artifacts that help make your journal more visually appealing and will serve as examples of your work that may be of interest to potential employers. Be sure to state your role in creating or using the artifact. If the artifact is the result of a major project you were involved in, reflect on the creation process, quality and utility of artifacts. (e.g. If you created a flyer for an event, was it effective in recruiting attendees?). Include complete annotations for each artifact including date, description, purpose, intended audience and your role in creating or using the artifact. If the artifact is the result of a major project you were involved in, reflect on creation process, quality and utility of artifacts.
  • Connections. Who did you meet? What can you learn from this person? Did you start up a conversation with him/her? (Be sure to save names, titles and contact info for future reference.)

Grading and Submission

Grading

Each Journal will be graded out of 40 Points.

A detailed rubric is available to you on the dropbox pages in Canvas. Below is a summary of how you can earn full credit. Your journal post must:

  • be submitted on time (weekly on the established day) - no late work is accepted and no "extra-credit" is provided;
  • adequately address the topic provided using the assignment prompts as a content guide;
  • be cited properly (in-text and as a reference list), if appropriate using the MLA citation and format style. A link can be found on the Citation Styles page of the Resources menu in Purdue's Online Writing Lab; and
  • be well-written and largely free of any grammatical or other typographical errors;

What do we mean by "well-written?" Your submissions should always be a scholarly piece of polished work. Your post should demonstrate that you've not just simply typed it into the text editor box as you went, with little regard for organization, syntax, or spelling mistakes. It should be written with the tone and style that is appropriate for college coursework, not a text message. In summary, it should be work you'd be proud to share with a potential employer.

Submissions

Submit the url to the appropriate week's "Original Draft Journal" Dropbox in Canvas by the date specified on the course calendar. Once your original draft is graded, you will have an opportunity to edit your journal and resubmit for a higher grade. The updated journal MUST be submitted to the appropriate week's "Final Draft Journal" Dropbox in order for it to be regraded.

Schedule of Journal Topics

Week 1:

Keep in mind that your journal entries may be searchable by anyone on the Internet, so this opening post should not assume that the reader knows anything about you or the organization in which you are working.

  • Introduction — Introduce yourself, provide some academic and work background info, and provide some info regarding basis for this internship (why you're doing an internship and keeping a journal about it).
  • Sponsoring Entity description — description of sponsoring entity and its organization, products/services offered, markets served, locations, size of company (employees and revenue), company history. Introduce your sponsor and place him/her and your internship/position in context of sponsoring entity's overall organization.
  • Internship Job Description — provide an overview of the tasks and responsibilities associated with the internship.
  • Identify what you hope to accomplish during the internship.

Weeks 2-12

Other than the first week (see "Week 1" above) and the last week of the semester (see "Last Journal Entry" below), journal entry topics can be chosen from the topics listed below (see Topics 1-5 and "Remaining weeks"). You must write about each topic, but you only have to address one topic each week. You can do them in order as they are presented below, or feel free to address them in random order. Just be sure to address all of the topics provided and as many of the prompts as are applicable. The topics directly relate to the program learning competencies and your prior coursework. The point is to get you to think through how what you are doing daily relates to the coursework you have already completed in the program and how you can convey that information in an interview-like scenario. Use the prompts below (if applicable) to guide your post. The prompts are intended to help you think through ways in which you used a specific competency or addressed a learning objective while fulfilling your internship responsibilities. When you are discussing the weekly topic provided, be sure to include experiences related to that topic, to date, at the internship - not only the happenings of that week. For example, for week 6, discuss all ways in which you have gained energy industry knowledge so far this semester. These journal entries are meant to be polished pieces of academic work, therefore, no yes/no answers. Include any other relevant/interesting information regarding your experiences and learning to date.

Contact me immediately if you have questions regarding journal content.

Topic 1:

Have you had any experience utilizing your communication skills in the following ways? If not, how have you been using your communication skills in your position?

  • Were you challenged to effectively explain to diverse audiences – orally, in writing, or through maps and other information graphics – the intended and unintended consequences of energy policy and regulation?
  • Did you have the opportunity to listen to and learn from other members of diverse teams?
  • Were you able to use your foreign language abilities in the professional setting?
  • Were there any examples of something you learned in your coursework that you implemented?
  • What artifacts can you include to demonstrate the use of your communication skills?

Topic 2:

Have you had any experience utilizing your analytical skills in the following ways? If not, how did you use your analytical skills to fulfill your job duties/responsibilities?

  • Were you able to find, read, understand, interpret and synthesize policy and regulations related to your position/the organization?
  • Were you asked to review regulatory compliance for your department or organization?
  • Did you identify any federal, state or local policies that influence operations or services? If so, address the real-world implementation of these policies (feasibility, effects, etc).
  • Were you asked to identify advantageous practices/processes/procedures/partnerships?
  • Include any artifacts that demonstrate how you utilized your analytical skills.

Topic 3:

Have you consciously employed your sustainability ethic in your current position?

  • Were there any compromises made during a decision process that demonstrated the idea that corporate interests can be reconciled with social and environmental interests? If so, explain the situation and the compromise that was made.
  • Have you had the opportunity to advocate for the broader good? If yes, did you do so? If not, examine why.
  • Were you asked to make a business case for sustainable practices or were you forced to do so in order to justify an expense or practice? If so, explain the situation to the best of your ability without compromising privacy concerns.
  • Include any artifacts that demonstrate how you employed your sustainability ethic.

Topic 4:

What are the broader, global implications of your job/the services/products provided by the organization?

  • Consider the scalability of your work and it's applicability in other geographical settings; would the same business be feasible elsewhere? Why or why not?
  • Discuss the challenges or advantages that may be discovered by implementing a similar business in another geographic location, especially one with differing energy resources.
  • Discuss how the organization's product or service can or does affect social and environmental systems at home and abroad.
  • Include and annotate any relevant artifacts.

Topic 5:

Are you gaining knowledge in the energy industry?

  • What business and technical knowledge have you gained to date in this position?
  • Were you able to recognize and/or correct misinformation about resources, prevailing and emerging new technologies, policies, practices, etc. related to your job or the industry?
  • Assess the political, environmental, and economic influences that exist and their ability to act as a catalyst or a deterrent in the day-to-day operations and the overall strategy of the organization.
  • Were you involved in any discussions regarding financing of energy ventures? If so, what political, legal and regulatory considerations, tax and accounting policies, and performance of energy technologies were discussed?
  • Have the principles of energy and environmental economics, including pricing of non-market values, cap and trade, and social discounting been discussed? Or were you asked to provide information in any of these areas?
  • Do you have any relevant artifacts to include?

Weeks (6-9):

There are no designated topics to discuss during these three weeks. Quality posts are still expected, but you have been given the freedom to pick the subject. Some ideas of topics include:

  • Address how you have utilized information learned in your coursework and the ESP program during your internship.
  • A description and overview of a specific project you have been assigned.
  • A review of a conference you've attended recently (topics covered, networking, etc).
  • Any relevant artifacts.

Last Journal Entry (due the last day of the regular semester):

This is your last week of journal posts. It will serve as a Summary. Some questions you may want to address include:

  • Has your internship experience this semester influenced your career plans?
  • Did the internship meet your expectations:
    • Were the responsibilities as you envisioned?
    • Did you enjoy/excel at them as you presumed?
    • Did the journaling help you make the connection between your courses and your internship experience?
    • Were you able to sharpen skills/knowledge areas? Have you identified a new skill or fostered a new knowledge area as a result of the internship?