Natasha Porter ’20: PennEnvironment

Name: Natasha Porter
Class Year: 2020
Major: Political Science
Hometown: London, England

Internship Organization: PennEnvironment
Job Title: Clean Water and Conservation Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I am working with PennEnvironment, a statewide environmental advocacy group focused on protecting the environment in Pennsylvania through grassroots organizing, advocacy, and lobbying state officials. I am a Clean Water and Conservation Intern and am working on creating on advocating for progressive environmental policies throughout the state. In particular, I am working on the “Get the Lead Out” campaign which aims to pass legislation that requires mandatory testing for lead in all public schools in Pennsylvania and treatment to decontaminate drinking water in schools. Through working on this campaign, I have written opinion pieces on the issue that have been published in several local newspapers to raise public awareness and create support for this important legislation. I have learned about the political research and targeting that goes in to advocacy work and creating support for a bill moving through the state legislature.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I appreciated how this internship combined several different areas — environmental policy, advocacy, legal and political action, and grassroots organizing. The opportunity to learn about all of these different areas and skills at the same time seemed very enticing. It has definitely allowed me to develop skills and knowledge in a range of interrelated areas and enhanced my understanding of local and state governments and how social movements can impact policy on a subnational scale.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to shadow lobbyists and advocates and therefore have been able to listen in on calls and attend meetings with legislators. These meetings allowed me to have greater insight into the conversations that often happen behind closed doors that are fundamental to the policy-making process. Being able to gain further insight into the specific reasons why some laws pass and some don’t, and why some laws that pass are not as progressive as they were at is inception has been very eye-opening in understanding the policy-making process.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Nouns: Fresh and Clean Water. Activism. Community.
Adjectives: Renewing. Refreshing. Important.