When Chigoziri Ibechem attended her first planning commission meeting in downtown Merced last November, she had no idea where it might lead.
After the meeting, the psychology major from Los Angeles was greeted by the city of Merced’s principal planner, who noticed her enthusiasm for the city’s Local Transportation project. He invited her to apply for an internship program UC Merced’s sustainability office launched earlier this year to give students education and applied learning opportunities in sustainability-related careers.
Energize Colleges is a workforce development and training program led by nonprofit Strategic Energy Innovations. UC Merced is one of 12 college and university campuses across California that offer undergraduate students internships through the program to build a qualified workforce for long-term energy and environment solutions.
“It’s exciting to see the opportunity for students to get more engaged with what’s happening at UC Merced, especially with the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative,” Deputy Director of Strategic Energy Innovations Steve Miller said. “To meet the state’s ambitious climate energy goals, it’s going to take professionals at all levels — technicians and trades folks, communicators, educators, researchers and policy makers.”