Rebecca Sugrue | 2015 | Interns

Rebecca Sugrue (’17)

Gainsville, FL

Jeffrey L. Pressman Intern

Civil and Environmental Engineering Major

Environmental Protection Agency

This summer I worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, specifically in the Office of Air and Radiation within the Climate Change Division. I was assigned to the Branch that was truly at the intersection of climate science and policy. The Climate Change Division functions as the Agency’s primary network and home to climate policy experts and economists. In addition, climate science experts work diligently to communicate the past, current, and future impacts of climate change to the general lay audience and more particularly, to policy makers within other sectors of the government. While at the agency, I worked on the Climate and Health Assessment, an interagency project stemming from USGCRP’s National Climate Assessment and coordinated members of my assigned Branch. I also assisted with public communications which focused on informational websites on Short Lived Climate Forcers (SLCF’s) and Climate Change Indicators, both of which were geared to the public thus demanded thorough review in order to ensure clarity and understandability.

This summer was full of great opportunities afforded to me by the members of the Agency with whom I worked and the electric political atmosphere that surrounded me. The actions taken by President Obama as part of his Climate Action Plan were the guideposts for the Division. It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience to see the implications of Executive action play out in the nationwide arena as well as within the Agency. The EPA responded to the President’s directives and developed groundbreaking policies in the form of the Clean Power Plan.

Also, one of my most rewarding experiences was experiencing first hand the profound global effect of the Pope’s Encyclical, which focused on climate change awareness and action. Once the Encyclical was released, I worked to collect regional climate change data for U. S. Archbishops, who were preparing their public responses. They called upon the Agency and specifically, my Branch, to provide the most accurate and comprehensible information that could be offered to assuage public doubts and facilitate public acceptance of this doctrine. Indeed, the summer of 2015 in D.C. encouraged me to seriously consider the field of environmental policy and action as a future career endeavor.