“I chose IU and the College because I was provided the ideal academic path for what I wanted to pursue in my studies and my career,” said Bennett, who hails from Noblesville, IN.
Through the McKinney Fellows program, a workforce-development initiative that provides students hands-on experience in the field of sustainability, this past summer Bennett worked as an intern for the Town of Zionsville Parks and Recreation Department. She also was the recipient of an internship scholarship from the College’s Walter Center for Career Achievement—each year the Walter Center offers more than $100,000 in internship scholarships to College students to help them defray the cost of travel, housing, and other expenses during an internship.
“At my internship with the Zionsville Parks and Rec, this was my first real-world experience and something that I genuinely enjoyed doing,” Bennett said. “I was able to work on ways in which we can be more sustainable in our communities, because I believe that a community approach to climate change is the best way to tackle it.”
Bennett helped Zionsville Parks and Rec build their first-ever municipal compost site, and, “I learned how to do best practices, for example, where I took examples from other cities and compiled them into a single document to give Zionsville at the end of the summer, and learned the steps necessary for funding and making a big project like this one come true,” she explained. “The most rewarding part of my internship was being able to give Zionsville my comprehensive plan for their compost site at the end of the summer.”
“The connections I made with both my supervisors in Zionsville, along with the support I received through the McKinney Fellowship and the Walter Center, helped make this experience better and better,” said Bennett. “The support from both IU and Zionsville eased the stressful load of a full-time internship.”
Bennett noted that her experience in Zionsville taught her a lot not only about the field of sustainability in which she seeks to work, “But I also learned a lot about myself, as well,” she said. “I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone and do new things, as well as to advocate for myself in the workplace with my supervisors. This experience will definitely shine some light into my career after I graduate.”