Philadelphia Summer Internship 2021: Jianan Zhang, W’23

This summer, I had the opportunity to work for the Philadelphia Energy Authority as an intern in their Workforce Development department, funded by Wharton’s Philadelphia Summer Internship Award. As somebody who has been engaged with environmental activism at Penn and wanted to explore public service opportunities, this was the perfect way to spend my summer. Within my role, I helped oversee the implementation of a high school vocational solar training program, working with students, teachers, and our local partners on a daily basis.

I found the internship experience challenging, but rewarding, for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, I was able to gain first-hand experience into the obstacles that come with implementing new programs and partnerships. I was also able to gain insight into how I could connect my passion for environmental advocacy into my future career.

Throughout it all, the people that made the experience worth it were my colleagues and fellow interns, and I’m particularly grateful for being able to learn under the guidance of Matt Stern, who offered me advice and support at every step of the process. While I’m still not certain where my career will lead me next, this experience definitely reaffirmed my passion for the community, and I know that I can always count on the Philadelphia Energy Authority as a resource going forward.