Alana Lopez Barro Rivera ’23.5

Ecologic Institute, Germany

This summer I interned at the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, an environmental policy think tank. I am studying German at Williams, and I am very interested in a career in environmental policy. This internship was a great experience that allowed me to work on my skills and reflect about my career path.

Alana Lopez Barro Rivera in Berlin, Germany. I was one of four Williams interns at Ecologic. We all started working there early June. I remember being really nervous on my first day. I got my computer from IT, and the tech who gave it to me heard me speaking a bit of German, thus giving me all of the IT intro in German. I think I understood around 70% of what I was told!

I worked on the biodiversity team, focusing on a project called Interlace. The Interlace Project has the goal of improving governance at the municipal level of multiple cities and supporting the implementation of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) in urban planning. Nature Based Solutions is the phrase for tools that use nature to help solve human and environmental issues. They generally look like green or blue infrastructure. Ecologic was working with six cities—three European and three Latin American—to create better policy tools and governance structures that support NBS. I worked on a subproject within Interlace: the Urban Governance Atlas (UGA). I also worked on researching policy tools that helped support the implementation of NBS in Latin American cities. I would then write summary reports about the policy instruments for the UGA.

Although I was in Berlin, and as mentioned, I understand some German, all of the research and writing I did throughout the summer was in Spanish. Spanish is my first language, but I had not used it academically for about five years. I enjoyed getting to practice it again. I also really liked doing research about Latin America, which is where I am from. The work I did throughout the summer made me realize that I in fact do want to work in the climate/sustainability/biodiversity sector. I am still not sure in what capacity, but I really enjoyed being surrounded by a group of people working for a larger cause. I loved getting to see that working to help mitigate the climate crisis can be a career path and does not have to be limited to activism. All in all, this was a great opportunity. Thank you.