IGEL Research Internship Program

The Program

In light of the high demand from our students about careers in sustainability, and from our stakeholders’ interest in student research, we will be compiling opportunities related to environment and sustainability here.

Internship Opportunities:

Exciting opportunities with ERA Environmental Consulting, Inc. this summer:

Environmental Consulting Internship

Sustainability Analysis Internship

Student Experiences

Here are some of our students’ experiences:

Sara Drexler 90x90Sara Drexler
Graduate Intern
FMC Corporation

FMC Corporation Internship Experience: As Sustainability Analyst Intern at FMC Corporation, I was responsible for benchmarking, researching and developing a strategy for FMC for external assurance on the company’s Sustainability Report. As sustainability reporting matures, report assurance ensures validity and trustworthiness for stakeholders, while providing improved data management systems and reduced risk for companies. I provided recommendations for FMC’s approach to external assurance, including gap analysis strategy, scope, assurance provider selection, and use of internal audit. I coordinated and led meetings with leading accounting firms to discuss assurance trends and possible approaches. Additionally, I researched and reported on best practices for an external stakeholder advisory council for sustainability, and also worked on the formalization and update of SOPs for quarterly data collection. My experience was unique and invaluable in that I was personally fully responsible for developing the assurance strategy, with support and guidance from FMC’s experienced sustainability team. I was able to utilize my research and coursework in the Master of Environmental Studies program and Wharton to bring current research and thought leadership to the development of a new project at FMC.

Biography: Sara Drexler is a second year Master of Environmental Studies candidate focusing in Corporate Sustainability with subject matter emphasis in climate. She received her B.A. from Colgate University in 2009 in Sociology & Anthropology with a minor in Peace & Conflict Studies. Prior to her work at FMC, Sara’s professional experience includes small business regulatory and environmental management at Wharton’s Small Business Development Center’s Environmental Management Assistance Program.

Luke Zhou 90x90Luke Zhou
Sustainability Engineer Intern
FMC Corporation

Internship Experiences at FMC Corporation: While working as the Sustainability Engineer Intern at FMC Corporation this summer, my responsibility was to research the water usage within FMC’s manufacturing network and supply chain in both short and long-term. I researched current best practices in water usage analysis and conducted benchmarking of similar chemical manufacturing water usage levels.  I communicated with personnel within FMC manufacturing and supply chain management in order to collect additional data on current operations state.   I was then able to use 3rd use party designed water tools to provide preliminary assessments of risk associated with current and projected future water usage.  I then built a risk model in Excel to identify the critical nodes specific to FMC’s operations. Upon completion of my risk assessment, I had the chance to present my final results and recommendations to the Procurement Leadership team, Sustainability Implementation team and Manufacturing Directors, which I believe will help the company establish a well formulated strategy for its future Water Risk Mitigation plans and Corporate Water Strategies. FMC is a diversified chemical company with businesses in Agriculture, Health & Nutrition and Minerals. It was a great learning experience for me, as I constantly interacted with people from manufacturing sites around the world, supply chain management as well as the strategic marketing teams within all the businesses. This internship also provided me with opportunities to apply what I learnt about Corporate Sustainability and Water at Penn and through IGEL in the real corporate world. Additionally, and only marginally less importantly, I enjoyed working with the people at FMC. Sustainability is truly valued and I received tremendous support for my project from colleagues across the company.

Biography: Zhan (Luke) Zhou is a recent Master graduate of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Luke received his bachelor’s degree (Honors) in 2011 from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, with a major in Materials Science and Engineering and minor in business. He explored his career interests by interning in several industries, including research on nano-materials for the 3rd Generation Solar cell in France, internship with Strategic Change Group of Credit Suisse in Singapore and investment analyst internship with GreenWorld Capital in Philadelphia. His professional goal is to become an expert in the field of Industrial Ecology, building on his analytical skills, education and experiences in material science and corporate sustainability. His experiences in this field include conducting Life-Cycle-Analysis (LCA) and Europe REACH compliance strategy project for a U.S. building material company Vertex Group and a Sustainability engineering internship with FMC Corporation.

Jacob Sills 90x90Andrew Green 90x90Jacob Sills & Andrew Green
Second Year MBA Students


Andrew Green and Jacob Sills were selected by the Stroud Water Research Center to develop a go-to market commercialization strategy for its WaterMyWatershed technology. In order to develop the ideal solution for Stroud, Green and Sills first spent several hours with the Stroud team, understanding the needs and mission of the non-profit, as well as the current status of the technology. The students worked with a variety of different University of Pennsylvania resources, such as the Law School, to better understand potential business structures and strategies for the technology that would not be in conflict with Stroud’s non-profit designation. Over the upcoming months, the students will reach out to variety of potential customers and partners to gauge market sizing and to develop a compelling strategy for Stroud. Jacob Sills is a Second Year MBA Student at the Wharton School. Prior to returning to school, Jacob spent two years in investment banking in New York and then four years working for a renewable energy and materials-focused private equity firm in San Francisco. He was also a Partner at the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. Andrew Green is a Second Year MBA Student at the Wharton School.  Prior to Wharton, Andrew worked in business development at a full-service water conservation and management startup in San Francisco.  He also has four years of management consulting experience in the energy and high-tech sectors.