The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday May 28th

Internship program will create energy internships

Students to take part in research

Students will be getting their hands green with the help of a new internship offered this year.

The program, known as Developing Energy Leaders Through Action, or DELTA, will provide more than 60 undergraduate and graduate internships in the emerging field of clean energy.

Kathleen Gray, the director of the Environmental Resource Program at UNC’s Institute for the Environment, said DELTA will provide several opportunities for students to work with nonprofit organizations, businesses and governmental agencies.

“This program offers really exciting opportunities in the emerging green economy, such as learning about alternative fuels — not just on campus but also with off-campus entities — and learning about energy policy and energy applications in the real world,” she said.

DELTA will be funded by a grant from the N.C. Energy Office totaling almost $325,000. The Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee also plans to support DELTA by allocating a portion of each student’s $4 renewable energy fee for additional funding. Because students will provide up to $60,000 to the program during a span of two years, Gray said some of the internships are required to be on campus.

Gray added that she collaborated with students and faculty across campus to create a program worthy of receiving the grant.

“Our interest in this program is helping develop the next generation of leaders in the emerging energy economy,” she said. “If we realize our potential, it will be amazing, and even if we come close it will mean great things for the state.”

Cindy Shea, director of the UNC Sustainability Office, said gaining experience in the field of renewable energy and alternative fuels will make students more marketable in the emerging green industry.

“Areas of the private sector want to hire students with more energy skills, and it’s something we hear students want more and more,” she said. “We want to provide more opportunities to make more advances on the energy front.”

Eleven other university and community college programs are receiving the same grant as UNC, including Duke University, N.C. State University and Appalachian State University. Several local government branches and environmental agencies are also receiving grant funding.

Students can apply for DELTA by sending a statement of purpose detailing why they’re interested in an energy internship and discussing their career plans as they relate to the energy field, a resume, an unofficial transcript and contact information for two references to Applications are due by Aug. 25 at 5 p.m.

There will be between four and 10 undergraduate internships available this semester, and the program will continue through spring of 2012.

Gray said the implementation of the DELTA program shows the University’s commitment to the local community and the state as a whole.

“DELTA will give our students invaluable skills. They will be working on developing the cutting edge of technology,” she said. “We are poised.
“We want to be a state leader.”

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