Meet our Summer Intern
Each year, the Environment Team hosts summer internships through the University’s Summer Internships Scheme. We’d like to introduce you to our 2020 Summer Intern, Thao Le, who has been conducting work on Sustainability in the Curriculum (SITC).
Q) Hi Thao! Please tell us a bit about yourself?
A) My name is Thao Le. I am entering my final year of studying International Relations and Management at the University of St Andrews. Being a sustainability-enthusiast myself, I have consulted various Scottish and Vietnamese organisations in the public, private, and charitable sectors on sustainable development. Especially, I co-founded an organisation that provides sustainable solutions to Vietnamese and Southeast Asia businesses.
Q) What have you been doing during this internship?
A) I first conducted intensive desk-based research on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and conversed with various members of the St Andrews SITC Committee. Then, I dialogued with sustainability practitioners and academics in 16 UK universities. I deducted their common patterns in approaching ESD and mapped them onto change management modules learnt in my third year. With all this information, I then created a list of short- and long-term solutions for the University of St Andrews to better embed sustainability in the curriculum.
Q) What attracted you to this internship?
A) I applied for this internship as I am passionate about sustainable development and want to make a long-lasting impact to a wide range of stakeholders at St Andrews. While having consulted businesses, governments, and charitable organisations on sustainable development, I have not had many chances to explore and make an impact on sustainability education. Hence, this internship fills in that gap. Moreover, unlike other internships, I am supervised by both the School of Management and Environment Team. This gives me the opportunity to learn from professionals of both departments. Finally, this research project is an important step as I intend to pursue a career in strategy consultancy, specialising in sustainable development.
Q) What are the main things you have gained from this internship?
A) From this internship, I have immensely developed my organisation skills as I spent the most time working independently while managing 2 other virtual internships and ensuring family care responsibilities in this difficult time. Secondly, my communication skill has also been enhanced as I dialogued with various stakeholders from different nationalities, background, and professional experiences. Thirdly, with the help of Dr Shona Russell (Senior Lecturer), David Stutchfield (Sustainability Manager), and Connie Dawson (Sustainability Coordinator), my ability to think systematically and critically has also improved.
Q) Do you have any advice for students wanting to undertake an internship with the Environment Team in the future?
A) Interning with the Environment Team has been an invaluable experience for me, so I encourage every sustainability-enthusiasts with relevant experience. My advice is that you should thoroughly research on the topic and train your time-management skills. Connecting your previous education and experience will also add a fresh outlook and benefit the Team. The Environment Team has assisted me in all stages of my internship, so if you have any question, do ask your supervisor and they would be very happy to help.
Q) What is next for you in the future?
A) In this coming semester, I intend to apply for graduate programmes with consulting companies in the UK while completing my final year of study remotely. You can find me on LinkedIn. Feel free to message me if you need any help!
N.B. While the majority of the University’s 2020 Summer Internships were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, the Sustainability in the Curriculum Internship was able to go ahead as it was conducted remotely and funded externally to the Summer Internships Scheme.