Faculty of Environmental Studies’ new internship program gives York grads an advantage

In the current economic climate, securing a job can be difficult, but York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), in partnership with the Career Centre, is finding ways to give students an advantage through a new internship program.

This year’s crop of fourth-year students, who will soon be graduating, had the opportunity to be the first participants of the Environmental Studies Internship Program (ESIP) in their third year of studies. This provided them with valuable career experience they would not have had otherwise, benefiting them as they head into the next phase of their lives.

“As we all know, the job competition for recently graduated students is fierce. An internship will certainly set you apart…and expand your outlook on your career,” says FES student James Marzotto, who is completing his Honours BES in environmental management. JamesMarzottoYFILEHe joined ESIP because he felt “it would allow me access to practical work experience opportunities directly related to my study area of concentration”. He wasn’t disappointed.

James Marzotto

Marzotto worked as an environmental assistant at PowerStream Inc., an energy services company, in a position that was related to corporate environmental responsibility. It is a field Marzotto really enjoys working in, which is why he knew exactly what he wanted to pursue in grad school.

“My supervisors at PowerStream were very encouraging in allowing me to develop my own environmental initiatives within the company and take on large roles in already existing ones,” says Marzotto. “They gave me a lot of responsibility. Having been successful at PowerStream, a company that employs some of the best, I am now bursting with confidence knowing I will be successful wherever I go.”

Some of the major projects Marzotto worked on during his internship included conducting a thorough investigation of hazardous waste management document control within the company and leading an investigation into, as well as enhancing, a spill response process.

“The skills and knowledge I developed, people I met, experience I gained were, of course, also of immense value,” says Marzotto.

Before joining the internship program, he wasn’t as aware of how many different environmental management positions existed or the career options that were open to him. He emerged encouraged to continue pursuing his dream of starting his own environmental consulting firm in the future.

In its inaugural year, the FES internship program saw three students go out on work term, including Marzotto. One student landed an internship as a Humber River project intern at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, while another became a hazardous waste operator intern with the Region of Peel. There are now 21 students in the program.

“This program is an excellent fit for FES, as it reinforces the hands-on and technical aspects of the curriculum taught in courses like GIS and sustainable energy,” says Jan Anderson, internship coordinator & liaison. “Students are able to utilize their coursework experience on the job, giving them new perspectives on the scope and significance of their scholastic efforts. As James has demonstrated, ESIP is a progressive step toward a green career.”

All students in the program have to be a full-time, third-year honour students in FES. Students are required to attend an information session and a job search workshop facilitated by the Career Centre prior to joining the internship program. Once enrolled in the program, students can go out on work term for four, eight, 12 or 16 months, and return to school for their final year of studies. The Career Centre works with students to articulate a Learning Agreement and liaises with both students and employers during the work terms to ensure the experience is both relevant to their program of study and successful.

For more information about ESIP, contact Jan Anderson, internship coordinator & liaison, at janander@yorku.ca or ext. 44680.