Written by Sarah Wanless

When I first started looking for an internship, it was quite intimidating. There were so many great options and this was an important choice, so I started researching the best candidates recommended by Boise State University. After a while, I stumbled upon the Snake River Alliance, an organization I had never heard of before. Once I read through their mission statement and, I’ll admit, did a bit of Facebook stalking, I was intrigued. I wanted to learn more so I reached out to the Snake River Alliance and got in touch with their Assistant Director [now Associate Nuclear Program Director] Amy Hilton.

The main reason I chose to do an internship with the Snake River Alliance was because I loved how the community was so close and welcoming. I loved the idea of working with a small-scale non-profit that actually got involved with local issues and I admired their promotion of renewable energy. I was pleased to find out that my initial impression of the Alliance was correct. When I first met with Amy Hilton and Leigh Ford [Chief Operations Manager], I had a bad case of the nerves, but they were quick to calm them and make me feel welcome.

This was my first internship, so everything was very new and different. It was pretty nerve-racking at times, but everyone was always supportive of my work. It was great to learn how everything worked when I went to my first event for the Don’t Waste Idaho campaign in Twin Falls and I loved to be able to participate in such incredible events such as the Eilen Jewell Backyard Benefit Concert and the 2018 Harvest Fall Dinner. I spent a bulk of my time researching the feasibility of heat pump water heaters for Boise and I hope my work is a small step forward in helping Boise become more energy efficient!

It was especially fun to be able to incorporate the Alliance’s efforts into my classes at Boise State University. I remember, discussing the Don’t Waste Idaho campaign and thinking how wonderful it was that there was an opportunity to inform college students about the hazards of nuclear waste, as they really haven’t had any exposure to this topic. Despite our education system ignoring the problems of nuclear waste in energy policy discussions, it was clear to see that many students were alarmed my the problem and interested in the work that the Snake River Alliance does.

This has been a truly amazing educational experience for me to learn about how things really work when it comes to community outreach and communications. There is still a lot more for me to learn in the future, but my internship with the Snake River Alliance has truly helped me in my professional development. I will be looking forward to seeing the amazing work they do in 2019 to protect the people of Idaho from the dangers of the nuclear industry.