I first learned about the opportunity to intern at Forth through Lents Youth Initiative, an organization that offers hands-on leadership skills and career development opportunities for the underserved youth in the Portland area. A friend of mine who does a lot of community work with LYI and loves it, encouraged me to join the training program the following summer. 2017 was the second year I’ve been a part of this organization and I was able to have my first choice of all the internships available: to work with Forth!
During my internship at Forth, I was mostly involved with community outreach. I was tasked with creating various activities that would attract a younger audience, as well as be informative for adults. One of the outreach activities I created is to build a 3-D model of the 2017 Chevy Bolt. I was able to combine one of my hobbies, graphic design (to create the 3-D Bolt model), with some of Forth's existing projects and create something new. As someone who is afraid of speaking up, I have never been one to easily share any ideas I might have, but my co-workers cared about my opinions and made it clear that they wanted to hear what I had to say. I found myself coming out of my shell more so than I thought I could.
I also did quite a bit of research on other forms of green transportation. The staff were very helpful and friendly and provided me with a lot of information regarding electric cars, but I still was able to do a lot of my own research on other topics, such as electric bicycles and Oregon’s laws surrounding them. Because Forth supports all kinds of clean transportation, I was able to learn more about electric scooters and automated transportation as well.
This was my first time working in an office environment. While I didn't work in Forth's main office as often as I did in the Go Forth Electric Showcase, it was where I did the majority of my research and planning. Working in an office and getting used to how different it is from the classroom has definitely prepared me for wherever my career path takes me. I didn’t realize how important teamwork is when you share an office, which is something I will be sure to keep in mind for the future.
Overall, this internship has been a very positive experience. I learned about electric vehicles and many different types of transportation, to speak up and not be afraid to share ideas, and how important teamwork is. My original hope for this internship was to come away with better communication skills and more knowledge of smart cars, and I ended up with much more.