Zoe Dybowski
Environmental Studies major
Chicago, Illinois 

Where are you interning and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am interning at Ruoff Music Center. I organized the Sorting Center and sorted trash through the trash collected after the shows. We sort the garbage into aluminum cans, mixed recycling, compost, and landfills.

How does this internship relate to your major?
My Environmental Studies major focuses on how global waste harms the environment and people. Excessive waste is a massive problem in our country and the world. Diverting trash at a venue as significant and impactful as the Ruoff Music Center is a good step in the right direction.

What do you like most about your internship?
I am enjoying the opportunity to learn about waste diversion and witness the waste problem firsthand. Humans produce a lot of trash. It can sometimes be overwhelming to stare down the barrel of a 20-yard dumpster piled high with trash and know you must sort through all of it. Our work is crucial as improper waste disposal contributes to climate change and humanitarian issues.

What project are you particularly proud of?
I feel proud whenever we complete a 60-lb. bale of 100 percent aluminum. It’s incredible to see our hard work in physical form.

What are your career goals and how is this internship preparing you?
My career goal is to do some sort of conservation work to help marginalized communities disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. Improper waste diversion to Global South countries by the Global North is a major problem in our world, so gaining hands-on experience in waste diversion work will help prepare me for future work.

What advice would you give another student who may be looking for an internship?
I encourage students looking for an internship to contact their college’s advisors or professors. They can assist with the search and application process and help you get credit for your internship.