Leandria Albury

Intern name: Leandria Albury

Major(s)/Minor(s): Environmental Chemistry major on a Pre-Med track 

Title/place of internship/fellowship, etc.: Adaptation Policy Analyst

How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.? Through the Fleischhacker Fellows, I had the unique opportunity to create a personalized project during Summer 2020. After being granted the fellowship, I knew that whatever project I embarked on, it would be centered in the Bahamas, my home country. Though things didn’t initially go to plan as a result of COVID-19, I eventually settled on doing work on climate change adaptation policy. My interest in this area was sparked in Environmental Chemistry courses I took Spring 2020. In these classes, I realized that a lot of the problems, we faced with climate change could be addressed with proper policy development.

What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.? My responsibilities mostly consisted of reading a lot of research on what climate change adaption was, as well as how policy development influenced a country’s ability to respond to climate change. I then took this knowledge and did an in-depth analysis of current policies, projects, and strategies implemented in the Bahamas. To catalog everything, I wrote a paper summarizing the importance of robust policy planning and the current state of Bahamian climate change adaptation policies.

What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience? The most beneficial aspect of my experience was the way in which what I thought was a small project, inspired so many other people. Starting out, I didn’t quite know exactly what it was I was doing or if I would find the necessary guidance for this project. Going from that level of uncertainty to having people that willingly volunteered their time to help me to do the work I set out to do was truly heart-warming.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.? What was most surprising to me at the conclusion of this experience was the appreciation I developed for policy development. Coming into this project, I felt indifferent towards policy, policymakers, and politics in general. This was largely resultant of the negative experiences I had with this subject matter in the past. After doing so much independent research, I was exposed to what well-informed policy development could actually achieve which was both astonishing and enlightening.

How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future? One thing from this experience that is transferrable is the improvement to my time management skills. The work I did on this project was mostly self-governed with medium supervision. This opened the door to me having a lot of time on my hand that I had to decide how to use. There were days where all this “free” time made it hard to do work, but through strict scheduling and constant reminders of my goals and motivations, I was able to stay on task.

What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience? My major pieces of advice would be to stay open-minded, chase all leads, and use your network. I know its cliché, but putting all your eggs in one basket, even when that basket seems certain, is never a good idea when interning. You’re in that sweet spot where people understand that you’re unable to commit fully so don’t. Keep as many options open until you absolutely have to choose and if you don’t have options start calling up people you’ve worked with in past. Chances are, if they can, they will happily take you on for work or assist you with finding a location to intern.