It’s not every day that a company reaches out to a student to see if they would like to do an internship with them. It’s probably even less likely when that company is Amazon.
Yet that’s how Jared Culbertson ’21 landed his summer position. Someone from an Amazon distribution center read about his experience interning with UNH’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, where he has been interning since the winter of 2019, and contacted him.
“They said they thought I would be a great fit for their summer environmental health and safety internship program,” Culbertson says. “I filled out the application, made it passed the first round of cuts and then did two video interviews. A few weeks later, I was offered the position, and I graciously accepted.”
Culbertson was scheduled to start in June and work until August at one of the company’s numerous warehouses around the U.S. But before he received his assignment, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and the internship was moved online.
"While it is disappointing to not be able to do hands-on work at a warehouse, I am sure this will prove to be a valuable experience.”
Had he been in a warehouse, Culbertson’s job would have been to assess the safety practices of employees — practices such as properly handling and disposing of hazardous chemicals, wearing proper protective equipment, following proper procedures when moving heavy items and maneuvering large vehicles in a safe manner. Instead he will review case studies pertaining to environmental health and safety issues. That will have him examining projects remotely and making suggestions to fix potential problems.
“It’s designed to give me a realistic viewpoint of the organization and test my operations and leadership skills,” the Avon, Connecticut, resident says. “The internship is completely virtual, so I will be working from home on group projects with other interns and full-time Amazon staff.”
At the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Culbertson is charged with delivering chemicals to professors and making sure the chemical is listed in the UNH database. Among other tasks, he has done swab testing for radioactive contamination in labs, tested fume hoods on campus to make sure they are functioning properly and documented all of the UNH-owned aboveground oil storage tanks.
A chemical engineering major, Culbertson hopes to work as an engineer at a nuclear power plant or with a company that designs renewable energy hardware. He is already trying his hand in that area, working on a methane digester that would capture the methane from cow manure and power a generator to make a friend's small farm more self-sufficient.
“The part about energy that interests me is that everything needs it — our cars, our houses, everything we buy needs energy to either be made or function. I hope that I will be able to help make clean energy more efficient and widely used throughout the world,” Culbertson says.
Of his Amazon internship having to be done remotely, he says, “I am incredibly happy that Amazon has taken its interns' health into consideration. While it is disappointing to not be able to do hands-on work at a warehouse, I am sure this will prove to be a valuable experience.”