In our “Where Are They Now?” series, current student interns interview former interns about their experience at the Office of Sustainability, and in particular how that experience has helped them since graduation. In the following entry, Savannah Holt relates her conversation with Meg DiPoto.
Meg DiPoto knows that “it’s extremely important for people in all careers to see the world through a sustainability lens.” Meg graduated from UW–Madison in 2019 with a degree in Operations and Technology Management and certificates in Supply Chain Management and Sustainability. She was an intern at the Office of Sustainability (OS) from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019, where she worked with the Green Events and Green Labs Certification programs as well as the Social Sustainability Coalition (formerly known as the Green Allies Coalition).
Meg now works as a Supply Chain Executive in the e-commerce logistics department at Kohl’s and focuses on analyzing data to best fulfill online orders. While her role is not directly related to sustainability, sustainability remains a passion, and she hopes to work in the sustainability field in the future. She credits her time at the OS with helping her succeed after her time at UW–Madison: “I really believe that the OS prepares you for the workplace and jobs after you graduate,” Meg shared.
For instance, the OS internship helped Meg gain more confidence in presentations, primarily through her involvement with Green Events and Green Labs. Meg gives frequent presentations in her current job, and she relayed that it was valuable to gain those skills earlier in her professional career. One of her initial challenges in the internship was adjusting to working with people from various backgrounds and majors. However, by learning to “build off each other’s strengths” and understand that there is no one right way to approach a task, Meg grew in her ability to effectively collaborate with others.
Her time with the OS also allowed her to meet students across UW–Madison who shared similar interests. Two of Meg’s favorite memories from the internship were presenting at the annual Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in 2019 in Spokane, Washington, and conducting trash audits with fellow interns.
Meg demonstrates that sustainability values do not come from where you work or the job title you hold. For anyone who wants to work in the sustainability field or is passionate about sustainability values but is in a seemingly unrelated position, she advises: “don’t be discouraged and don’t feel like you’re not doing enough because your whole career isn’t in sustainability work. Sometimes the most influential people are those who aren’t in sustainability roles.”