Sep. 9, 2019

Andi Utter '20 joined the Office of Sustainability as the Greenhouse Gas Analyst Intern for Fall 2019. Get to know Andi, learn about her project, and what she wants to do after graduation. 

Tell us about yourself and how you came to the Office of Sustainability.

My name is Andi Utter, and I am a senior Environmental Science and Policy major with my minor being Global Studies with an Africa focus. Recently, I spent my summer in Tanzania studying Swahili and exploring the Ngorongoro Crater.

Andi outside of Ngorongoro

Andi outside of Ngorongoro

I came to the Sustainability Office looking for an internship and a challenge. After speaking extensively with Cristina Bordin, we determined that I would become her Greenhouse Gas Analyst in the fall of 2019.

What will you be doing this semester as a Greenhouse Gas Analyst?

As a Greenhouse Gas Analyst, I am responsible for collecting data from different departments across this campus and compiling it to produce our carbon footprint for the university, using a tool called SIMAP. This has been a mostly self-taught exercise because the tool is new and the handbook I’m using reflects previous years’ tool. With that being said, online resources and the Office of Sustainability staff have been super helpful!

Why are you doing this work for the Sustainability Office?

This project was originally started by a Master’s student who was interning for the office and wanted to make a contribution to the university. The goal is to take my results and use it internally in the Sustainability Committee and make changes in the university to reduce our footprint and work on the challenge areas. We will also be reporting to Princeton Reviews in the spring, and this fall I will be uploading our results to the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This information ultimately gets used to make the university a better, greener place to live in!

How is this preparing you for the real world?

This internship is giving me direct skills that I will need in the workplace. Since working with Cristina I have learned how to write and communicate using a professional tone, work independently on a self-paced project, improve my writing skills, analyze and synthesize raw data, and construct public presentations. At the end of this internship, I will also get to expand on my public speaking skills by giving a talk to the Sustainability Committee and hopefully Students for Sustainability. In short, this is going to be super helpful for my next job!

What have you learned during this process? What’s challenging or hard to complete?

Definitely learning how to communicate professionally and deal with friendly/hostile responses. It has been hard because I’m learning how to operate this system, and others expect you to be an expert in the whole thing because you are the intern. Teaching myself can be rewarding and frustrating as well. There have been times where I have had to scrap my previous assumptions and start over. With that being said, it is good that I’m learning these skills now so it is less of a surprise in the real world!

What’s next for you to conquer? Any plans this year or after school you are excited about?

I hope to spend my next year abroad after I graduate in Africa again! I may be teaching English with Fulbright, or working with an NGO through the Princeton in Africa program. I want to be able to bring environmental education in whatever I do and look forward to seeing where one of those opportunities takes me!

Andi with her exchange family in Tanzania

Andi with her exchange friend and their Tanzanian family, from left to right: Kayleigh, Doreen, Thomas, Baba Victor, Mama Rehema, Faith, Andi, and Faraja.

Andi Utter

Story by Andi Utter '20