My internship at the City of Miami Beach

Name: Alex Alm

Hometown: Miami, Fla.

Major: Environmental Studies with a major in Natural Resource Sciences

Where did you intern? I interned with the City of Miami Beach. I had the privilege of working in both the Department of Public Works and the Department Environment and Sustainability.

How did you get your internship? FIU always sends emails for open internships. One of them was for the City of Miami Beach and it sounded interesting to me.

What did you do there? What projects did you work on? I worked on two projects during my time with the city. My first project was with the Department of Public Works. It consisted of gathering data about pumping stations from storm water reports and using that data to create a map of the pumps in a program called ArcGIS. My second project was with the Department Environment and Sustainability. This project had me analyze aerial images taken from 2014 to 2018 of the dunes on Miami Beach. I used these images to create maps in ArcGIS that compare the spread of an invasive plant across the dunes throughout the years.

What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? My favorite thing about my time with the city was how involved I was able to be. Outside of my projects, they would always invite me to sit in on meetings and to go to different conferences and trainings. For example, they showed me how to calibrate water quality sensors and invited me to attend the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit.

What did you like most about your experience? I enjoyed the variety of things I was able to do. As I mentioned before, in addition to my two projects, I was also able to sit in on many meetings and attend trainings and conferences. Everyone I interacted with at the City of Miami Beach was nice, and they always made sure I was learning as much as I could during my time with them.

What did you learn about yourself? I learned that I enjoy working for local government. The work I did felt meaningful, and I like the idea of working to serve the residents and citizens of a city.

How did the position increase your professional confidence? Applying knowledge from my classes to solve problems while working on my projects was a confidence booster. Gaining experience in a professional environment also calms some nerves when applying for jobs after graduation.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? My advice is to be confident in your abilities while you are searching. Apply to anything that sounds interesting to you. Even if you think you don’t have a chance, you might be surprised at who gives you a call back.

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