Q & A with Hailey Alemán, DCSEU Extern working at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Tags: Workforce Development

Meet one of DCSEU's Winter 2020 Externs! Hailey Alemán is a Project Assistant at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Office of Sustainability.

Q. How did you hear about the DCSEU's Workforce Development Program?

    A. I received a message over LinkedIn from Karen Zapata of Corestaff Services, one of DCSEU’s partner staffing agencies.

    Q. What interested you about the program?

    A. The program seemed like a great opportunity to get a foot in the door with reputable organizations and become a more competitive candidate, as well as gain further experience in the environmental field. The latter is of particular interest to me; I studied environmental science at Cornell and am always looking to work in a relevant position where I can do the most good for the environment and for the public.

    Q. Describe the tasks and expectations of your job. What are your assignments and things that you do on the day-to-day?

    A. My main project is the creation of a central database to track planned and completed replacement of old lighting fixtures with new, energy-efficient LEDs, and to track the associated energy savings in dollars as well as kilowatt hours. Eventually, I will enter this data into an energy tracking software platform which WMATA has recently implemented.

    My secondary project is compiling a database of school contacts in the D.C. area for a pilot program on sustainable transportation, in partnership with our communications and resiliency teams. I began by reaching out to schools that I worked with in my past position as an environmental educator. I also have the opportunity to represent Metro at external meetings and conferences related to sustainability and green energy hosted by agencies such as MWCOG and the Bipartisan Policy Council, and report back with useful insights.

    Q. What are your goals after completing the WFD program?

    A. I hope to be able to continue working with Metro, possibly in the areas of outreach and/or resiliency. At any rate, the experience I will have gained by the conclusion of this program will be invaluable. In the long run, I am interested in environmental policy and am strongly considering applying to the Peace Corps.

    Q. How do you think the DCSEU's WFD program helping you complete those goals?

    A. I had numerous interviews with incredible agencies where the decision came down to one other candidate and myself. The experience I have gained and will continue to gain through this program may have helped me bridge those gaps in the past. I have also gained invaluable insight into the effort and logistics involved in coordinating sustainability initiatives among large, diverse stakeholders and across jurisdictions, which is ideal for a future career in environmental policy.

    Q. What advice would you give to anyone interested in enrolling in the program?

    A. I would absolutely encourage anyone who is interested in the program to apply. You lose nothing by trying, and you have the potential to gain invaluable experience and meet and work with some great people at DCSEU as well as with your host agency.

    Q. Discuss your new interest with NetZero and how our recent field trip was insightful to you.

    A. I think the increased interest in Net Zero is encouraging and represents a growing acknowledgement that our efforts to combat climate change were not nearly urgent enough. Given that buildings are often the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in an area, Net Zero buildings will be a critical component of climate action plans moving forward. The tour of the American Geophysical Union introduced me to many sustainable technologies I had not seen before, and how these may be adapted in other buildings and other locations.

    Blog Categories:

    green jobs, sustainable dc

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