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An Inside Look at Solstice’s Seasonal Fellowships!

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An Inside Look at Solstice’s Seasonal Fellowships!

August 27, 2021

Solstice’s Fellowship Program gives college students and recent grads the chance to get an inside look at what it’s like to work for a start-up, hands-on experience, and the chance to work for a meaningful mission.

Solstice’s 11 summer 2021 fellows got a unique experience and an inside look into the clean energy space. From nine different universities, the Solstice fellows assisted six departments, as well as Solstice’s nonprofit arm, Solstice Initiative. 

While each of the fellow’s paths to Solstice looked different, all of them had roots in environmental advocacy that instilled in them an understanding of clean tech’s potential to positively change lives. At Solstice, they got to put those solutions into the hands of homeowners, renters, and businesses across the country. Here’s an inside look into our summer 2021 fellowship program — and the incredible fellows who made the most of their time with Solstice.  

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Putting Their Skills Toward a Mission They’re Proud Of

Sarah Gyurina, Solstice’s Summer Outreach Fellow, grew up around nature and always considered herself an environmentalist; however, prior to joining Solstice, Sarah’s environmental work had only consisted of political advocacy, and she never considered that she could live out those values through a sales position. 

For someone who considers herself a strong communicator, Sarah enjoyed the ways in which working with the partnerships and outreach teams provided her the opportunity to learn about Solstice and work toward an environmental and equity-driven mission. From revamping Solstice’s live chat feature, to strategizing for Solstice’s university partnership program, to enrolling new customers, Sarah was able to make an impact on Solstice’s Outreach Team not commonly seen in typical summer internships. 

Patrick Lyons knew that his Customer Success Fellowship would fit well with his desires to work with customers one-on-one and help people save money, but he was surprised at how much more he got out of his summer at Solstice. “The fact that Solstice is focused on making solar energy accessible to everyone completely sets it apart from all the other places I was looking to work,” Patrick told us, “I learned way more than I was expecting to.”

One of Solstice’s summer marketing fellows, Alex Copits, was also inspired by the mission of affordable solar for all. When Alex started as a Marketing Fellow, she began researching new ways for Solstice to garner support for a more just future. Alex claims this gave her a “newfound understanding of environmental justice initiatives, environmental injustices, and equitable energy access.” 

“I honestly was not aware of all of the environmental justice issues out there,” she told us. “The world of possibilities is a lot more open to me now,” she said. In the future, Alex can see herself working somewhere that is focused on justice and inclusivity.

Solstice Fellows Gain Unparalleled Professional Experience

Solstice Fellowship

Most of Solstice’s summer fellows agree that what sets Solstice apart from many other fellowship or internship programs is the amount of trust and responsibility they are able to earn while they are at Solstice. Neha Chinwalla joined as an Operations Fellow wanting to see how a startup functions, and was able to learn first-hand all the behind-the-scenes processes that make our systems work better. 

“Through all of my work as a fellow, I feel like I am actually contributing to the team and making Solstice a better place,” Neha said.

From organizing socials (virtual and in-person) and company morale initiatives, observing and helping with Solstice’s hiring process, and assisting with the employee referral program, Neha got a real inside look into how a company functions and thrives. 

Most of Solstice’s summer fellows agree that what sets Solstice apart from many other fellowship or internship programs is the amount of trust and responsibility they are able to earn while they are at Solstice. Neha Chinwalla joined as an Operations Fellow wanting to see how a startup functions, and was able to learn first-hand all the behind-the-scenes processes that make our systems work better. 

“Through all of my work as a fellow, I feel like I am actually contributing to the team and making Solstice a better place,” Neha said.

From organizing socials (virtual and in-person) and company morale initiatives, observing and helping with Solstice’s hiring process, and assisting with the employee referral program, Neha got a real inside look into how a company functions and thrives. 

Neha’s experience is not unique; gaining a broad understanding of how a start-up’s systems work is something that our Software Engineering Fellow, Eric Thompson-Martin, also appreciates about Solstice. Spending his summer at a small software company allowed him to work with code across the website; he feels that making decisions and working with the entire codebase is an experience that will set him apart from other classmates going forward. 

“I will definitely consider Solstice when I look at opportunities after graduation,” Eric said.

Solstice Fellowships Can Be Shaped By the Fellow!

When asked about her favorite part of the fellowship program, Business Development/Data Operations Fellow Jen Yi says she was immediately drawn to its malleable nature. This summer, Jen was able to split her time on both the Business Development and Operations teams after expressing interest in both departments. 

“My main goal was to help Solstice break down barriers between data so that we can reduce manual tasks and help teams get more data insights,” Jen said about her fellowship.

With the hopes of starting a cleantech company herself someday, Jen was able to get a first-hand feel for the start-up world. One of the benefits of start-ups and smaller companies is the ability to interact with and meet everyone in the company — whether in-person or virtually.

Solar Equity Fellows

Solar Equity Fellows, Joann Lai and Getnet Tessema, educating community members about solar at a local farmer’s market.

A “Tight-Knit” Team 

On Solstice’s nonprofit side, Solstice Initiative, Solar Equity Fellow Joann Lai describes the team as “tight-knit,” partially crediting the daily meetings where everyone discusses what they are working on. In addition to researching solar equity initiatives and creating marketing collateral for Solstice’s Boston Project, Joann got to meet interested solar subscribers face-to-face at a farmer’s market in Boston. These hands-on, grassroots community organizing opportunities are what makes Solstice so special.

Despite being a fully remote fellowship, staying connected is important for the fellows to fully be able to experience the Solstice work environment. 

In July, Solstice gathered in-person in East Boston for the annual sailing social, which Marketing Fellow Chloe Janes cherished. 

“I loved learning about everyone outside of the remote work structure,” she said. “People’s thoughts on how to properly roast s’mores and opinions on TV shows are things that aren’t discussed in formal meetings.” 

This appreciation for social events is shared by Business Development Fellow, Tara Fitzpatrick, whose favorite social event was the Solstice Powerpoint Night, where Solstice team members presented “hot take” opinions, which was “nothing short of comical.” Topics ranged from the pros and cons of horror movies to ratings of tree species.  

Solstice Fellowships

Outreach Fellow Sarah Gyurina captains a sailboat at the Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston, MA.

If you’re looking for a place to learn, meet new people, and be a part of a passionate, mission-driven team, Solstice could be the place for you! Whether you’re a college student or recent grad, environmental studies major or computer science major, check out our open Fellowships (available Fall, Spring, and Summer) here at any time. 

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