Intern Spotlight: Saman Salahuddin & Zackary Zeilman

Climate Resolve offers numerous year-round internship opportunities to students interested in climate change, sustainability, public policy, advocacy, and community outreach. We’d like to introduce you to them, their work with us, and how they’ve helped make Los Angeles a stronger and more sustainable city in the face of climate change.

Saman Salahuddin

Background:

I am currently a fourth year undergraduate student at UC Davis, pursuing a double major in Environmental Policy and Economics. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to Irvine, California when I was 12 years old. While we were living in Karachi, my mother was a volunteer at an environmental non-profit. From a young age she took me to protests and educated me about the environmental issues facing Karachi. As I got older my care for the environment grew and inspired me to pursue a career in environmental policy. I am very interested in clean energy policy and after graduation I hope to work in the renewable energy industry advocating for environmental resiliency.

How I got here:

The summer after my sophomore year, I was looking for work at an environmental advocacy non-profit. I learned about Climate Resolve through my college advisor and was really intrigued by the work they were doing in Southern California. I decided to reach out to Climate Resolve
and ask about any possible internship opportunities. I am really glad I reached out because I was given the opportunity to intern here for the past two summers and I have had an amazing experience!

My work at climate resolve:

Throughout my time at Climate Resolve I have been working with Thelma, Seth and Kris to assist the Garden Grove Unified School District with their energy efficiency efforts. My role as an intern has been to set up the energy monitoring platform, Lucid, for Garden Grove Unified. The energy use dashboards that I have created will allow the district to track their electricity, natural gas and water consumption. Last summer I helped set up the bones of the energy monitoring system, which involved generating building dashboards for 28 school campuses, backfilling historical data and creating an energy use storyboard. Along with Thelma and Seth, I also met with the Garden Grove Facilities department to insure that the energy dashboards I created will be a beneficial resource for the district.
This summer I expanded upon the work I had done with the Lucid platform previously by tailoring the system to better serve Garden Grove. I created weekly electricity reports for every school on the platform, generated alerts to notify when there are spikes in electricity consumption and improved upon the overall data quality of the system.

I am excited for this platform to be used by the facilities, staff and especially the students at Garden Grove. I am immensely thankful for my experience at Climate Resolve and have loved learning from everyone!

Zachary Zeilman

Background:

I grew up in a small coastal town in Connecticut where I spent most of my childhood exploring the shoreline and forests and gaining an appreciation for my environment. I also had a burgeoning interest in cities and architecture as I began spending more time in New York City and saw the benefits of density and diversity of people, land uses, and buildings. While a student at Vassar College, I studied Urban Studies and Geography with concentrations in Urban Design and Environmental Studies wanting to reconcile these two, often opposing interests. Following my undergraduate degree, I interned with the Department of City Planning in New York City, as well as a couple of small towns in Connecticut before taking a job in education and conservation at the Sea Research Foundation. I later worked for the Regional Plan Association, followed by a few years as a Planner helping coastal communities throughout New Jersey plan for more frequent storms and flooding after Superstorm Sandy. I arrived in California in 2018 and have been working in management consulting for public agencies to plan their infrastructure projects and meet their requirements effectively. I am now in my second year of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA and plan to use my degree to understand the fiscal and social costs of climate planning projects versus the status quo.

How did I get here:

I signed up for a Senior Fellowship program through the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA and was paired with Seth Jacobson, Senior Director of Energy and Water at Climate Resolve. I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the program, specifically to work with Seth and Climate Resolve, to advance my knowledge of planning, climate action, and funding in California and to connect with leaders in the community. Although I had prior work experience, the internship was a great opportunity to become more familiar working with a non-profit and with the work that is being done for climate justice currently. I have been assisting Natalie Hernandez and Kris Eclarino over the summer with grant writing for several communities in the Los Angeles metro area.

My experience at Climate Resolve:

I had a wonderful experience working with the inspirational team at Climate Resolve. As a summer intern under Natalie, I learned about important State legislation and funding, the grant writing process, and about Climate Resolve’s important work in Southern California. I helped to put together proposals for the Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (STEP) grants from the California Air Resources Board for two State-designated disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles County. The grants are competitive and required a significant amount of effort, research on climate change impacts, and stakeholder coordination and engagement. I also put together a database of grant funding available for communities to address their climate challenges, which is available on the “Ready for Tomorrow?” climate preparedness planning page on the organization’s website. Finally, I participated in discussions about siting charging stations to support heavy-duty fleet electrification and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution for communities located near the Port and inland warehouses. Although the duration of the internship was short, I felt that I learned a lot from the experience and enjoyed connecting with the amazing Climate Resolve staff and broader community. I assisted not only with grant preparation, but with research, communication/ information dissemination, project management, and other critical aspects of the organization’s efforts that were invaluable to my education. I feel energized to assist our communities in Southern California to prepare for climate change and become more resilient.

Climate Resolve