The Energy & Environment concentration (or lovingly, EE) shines the brightest and greenest at SIPA. If you turned a light on today or unplugged your phone from the charger this morning, YOU could be an EE student at SIPA. As a current EE student, I’m here to tell you with four reasons why studying EE will help you shine in your career (all puns intended).

  1. The Cohort: A Family Garden Growing at SIPA

EE hosts a slew of events that foster not only a strong professional network at SIPA in the EE sector, but also a warm community to come home to after a long day of watching the planet slowly warm. We start off in the September with an EE retreat with fellow students over a weekend of hiking, archery, rock climbing, boating, and breathing in the fresh air of New Jersey*. I made some of my best friends at SIPA during this weekend retreat and some even helped me find career opportunities. Throughout my time at SIPA, I found EE peers to really want to get to know me as a person – something I value as a graduate student who enjoys a close knit community.

  1. The Classes: Think in Systems and Gain Depth on EE Topics

The best metaphor I can give you for EE classes is a layered cake. In EE, you learn how to bake the cake, ice and decorate the cake, cut the cake, smell the cake, taste the cake, eat the cake, and BE the cake. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Great British Baking Show, but essentially, EE gives you a systems perspective to all things in the EE sector – you learn about finance, energy systems, electricity markets, oil and gas, management, policy solutions, and what a carbon neutral future looks like.

At the same time, you can gain a lot of depth in a subject area by taking specific electives in EE. My favorite class at SIPA, Renewable Energy Project Finance Modeling, was the first EE class I took. Despite having very little background in EE prior to SIPA, I learned how to create a financial model for a wind farm and learned the barriers the industry faces. My knowledge on the topic later blew my bosses away at my summer internship.

  1. The Adventures!

As an EE student, I have had unique opportunities that other students at SIPA don’t get. During UN Climate Week, I served as a youth participant, along with 5 SIPA students, in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative Conference, a forum for oil and gas companies to speak with stakeholders about lowering carbon footprints. We questioned oil and gas company CEOs on the impact of their work and building trust among stakeholders. The most important aspect of the forum was being a student voice in a room of decision makers and contributing real ideas to how the conversation on climate change in the oil and gas industry should be driven and where weak points still exist. As a SIPA student, it warmed my heart (the conference did, not the climate) to engage in conversations that will push the ball forward on climate change policy.

  1. Find a Job, Get Money, Get Paid

EE students realize the most important reason you’re here at SIPA is to get a job. Students at SIPA lead the SIPA Energy Association, a student organization that throws the largest graduate student job fair for energy and environment jobs in North America. In the morning, you can hear esteemed policy leaders and industry experts speak at the Energy Symposium. In the evening, you put on your best business professional gear to take part in an exclusive career fair on campus. Many of our students find jobs during this time, which is perfect for students who are new or veterans to the sector.

As future <insert dream future job title>s engaged in public policy, you can’t ignore energy and the environment! These four simple reasons should be enough to shine the light on why studying EE is the best at SIPA.

*As a New Jerseyian, I have to take a moment to vouch for my state. It does in fact have clean, fresh air in the vast pine tree forests. We have a bad reputation (thanks to New Yorkers and the show Jersey Shore), but really we’re nicknamed the Garden State. If you go to SIPA, there’s a high chance you will eat some tomatoes or blueberries grown in New Jersey!