Be Green! Projects, job fairs, and Leaves of Absence


Hey,
everybody!  My name's Matt Ritter (ME, 2010), and I'm here to represent
the myriad of entrepreneurial options that you'll have as a young
engineer.  I'm also very excited about environmental sustainability, so
most of the things that I've done have tended in that direction.

 

The
good news is that it's absolutely possible to do both sustainability and
entrepreneurship during your time at Olin.  The bad news is that you're
going to have to take some initiative to make it happen (oh no!)  A simple
first step is to get a project going on campus.  We've got students doing
everything from reducing paper use to maintaining our community bicycles. 
You can even help us forge connections with groups on other campuses, like
Wellesley's Energy and Environmental Defense group, or Babson's Green
Tower. 

 

Once
you're having some fun within the bubble, you can start to think about getting
some professional experience outside of it.  Olin has been co-organizing
the Impact Career Fair with MIT for the last few years, which is a great way to
meet sustainability companies.  That's where I got my internship with GreenMountain Engineering after sophomore
year (I was, unfortunately, not there long enough to have the top of my head
featured on their website).   The engineers out there are fantastic,
and have even hired Olin's own Jon Chambers (ME, '06), leading to a brief
period in which Oliners dominated the small Boston office.

 

If
you really want to sink your teeth into a project, there is a third
option.  The Leave Of Absence, a 1 or 2 term break from school, is
becoming increasingly popular with Olin students who want to give their
extracurricular dreams a shot before the pressures of real life start to bear
down.  My LOA absolutely changed my life, and everyone else who did it
with me reported fantastic experiences.  I'll be diving further into the
advantages and disadvantages of a LOA in future posts, but let me give you a
sense of what Oliners have done during their time off:

 

Ben
Salinas/Chester Macklin/George Harris
: Did extensive user research and design
to start a specialty coffee company, which applies engineering principles to
change the way that coffee is brewed, reducing energy use and providing
consistent quality.

 

Matt "in the third person" Ritter
Started with the MIT Solar Decathlon Team,
and ended up going to California with a green energy startup
(I'll take this moment to point out that the choice between Olin and MIT isn't
binary- I had very little trouble taking part in MIT extracurriculars, and even
got an access card and email address given to me by the projects
)

Gui
Cavalcanti/Carl Herrmann
: Did great robotics work at Boston Dynamics on Big Dog.

  

Tim
Smith
: Interning with the Youth and Campus Outreach team at the Human Rights
Campaign in DC for a semester, and then spent five weeks in the trenches as a
field organizer for the Hillary Clinton caucus campaign in Las Vegas."

 

Jona
Raphael
: Went to India to work at a nonprofit, which turned out to be
disappointing, so he studied in a monastery and traveled around the country

 

Maia
Bittner
:  Started working at Spock.com and was ultimately Marketing
Director, then moved to Product Manager at Seeqpod.com

 

Jef
Gluckstein
: Went to Africa with MIT's D-Lab to help evaluate how effectively
Appropriate Technology was being deployed in the field

 

Allison
Weis
:  Studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, and did an
internship at IBC Solar in Germany, where she designed a 10MW photovoltaic
plant in Italy.

 

Clearly,
there are a lot of ways to explore outside world during your time at
Olin.  Over the next few months, I'll dive further into my experiences
with each. 

 

Have
fun!

 

           
-matt

 

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