“My favorite part about this internship was the feeling of being surrounded by people doing work that makes a significant difference in the world.
Ali Jones interned with the communications team as our first earned media intern between January and May 2020. If you’re interested in interning with WRA, check out this Q&A with Ali about her experience.
Western Resource Advocates: What was your main role or main project during your internship with WRA?
Ali Jones: I worked with my supervisor, Jamie, on a myriad of tasks and helped move along projects that would supplement the communications team in the future. This included building a Twitter analysis to know who we are reaching, creating a bank of relevant stats and facts to support future communications content, and adding content to WRA’s PR database program to ensure our list of reporters is robust and up to date.
WRA: What is one skill you will take with you to your next job?
AJ: The ability to be actively engaged in learning new tasks and use critical thinking skills to determine what the most effective way to execute said task may be. I also feel as though I strengthened my time management skills and the ability to accurately prioritize several different tasks to ensure I got everything done in time.
WRA: What are the top communications skills you learned during this internship?
AJ: This internship helped me refine my ability to speak professionally and with intention, as well as determine when I should reach out for help or clarification and when I could problem solve on my own.
WRA: What was your favorite part of the internship?
AJ: My favorite part about this internship was the feeling of being surrounded by people doing work that makes a significant difference in the world, and are effective and intelligent in their abilities. It has been so inspiring to be surrounded by the conversations and issues that WRA addresses knowing that we have great minds working to tackle these issues of paramount importance.
WRA: Of all the issues WRA works on, what did you most appreciate learning about during the internship and why?
AJ: Although an unfortunate issue, I enjoyed being a part of and learning about the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rollbacks pursued by the Trump administration. When learning about natural resource history and policy in college, there was a lot of emphasis and time spent on NEPA, and seeing it contested in modern day was a fascinating learning experience.
WRA: What was your most memorable day at WRA?
AJ: Attending the Colorado climate meeting at the beginning of my internship highlighted how many partners WRA works with, by providing an opportunity for us all to sit in the same room and discuss current issues and upcoming opportunities. Some of the organizations I got to interact with throughout my internship includes Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation Colorado, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and the Urban Land Institute, just to name a few.
WRA: What staff or external partners did you get to work with?
AJ: Although it’s hard to pick, there are two exceptionally memorable days at WRA for me. One was my first day, when I got to be a part of an all-staff meeting at the Boulder office. I was enthralled by the issues that were addressed and the positive way that everyone supported each other. Another formative day for me was attending a Colorado climate meeting at the Children’s Museum with Jamie. This meeting showed me how many voices there are in the climate conversation and how important each perspective is, as well as the level of planning and execution needed to spur significant change.
WRA: How would you describe the culture at WRA?
AJ: The culture at WRA is one of support and intention. Everyone is really friendly and helpful, and always willing to answer my questions. The first day I worked in the Denver office with Jon Goldin-Dubois, the president of WRA, he made a point to come over to my desk and welcome me. He asked how I was settling in and liking my time with WRA so far, and took the time to listen to my response. WRA made me feel valued and acknowledged, and my work and its importance was frequently reinforced, making me feel like an asset to the team.
What advice would you give to future WRA interns, or specifically future communications interns?
AJ: Try to say “yes” to participating in as many things as you can to diversify your experience and broaden what you are exposed to.
WRA: Anything else you want to share?
AJ: Although this internship ended up looking a little different than what we initially expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am so grateful for all the opportunities I was given and the various experiences I had the privilege of participating in. This internship was a fantastic way to put what I studied to use directly after graduating, and made me aware of potential career paths that I hadn’t previously considered. I am leaving this internship with confidence in a new set of skills and knowledge that I believe will aid me significantly in my future endeavors. Jamie, my supervisor, was so helpful and informative throughout this internship and has inspired me to pursue a career in conservation and policy work, and for that, I thank her. Thank you also to the comms team for welcoming me in; I appreciate all of your help in training me on various projects and sharing your knowledge and expertise. I really enjoyed meeting everyone that I got the chance to at WRA, and continue to be inspired by the great minds and wonderful work that is done here!