Skye Loto finds flexibility with Semester for Impact

Friday, April 19, 2024
Skye Loto in the woods.

Skye Loto, a junior majoring in analytical economics at Paul College, has found flexibility and opportunity with an internship through the Semester for Impact program.

Skye Loto is passionate about businesses that focus on environmental and social good. When she was looking for an internship to help her grow her hands-on experience in this area, she discovered the Semester for Impact program.  

Semester for Impact is offered by the College for Social Innovation in Boston, Massachusetts, and pairs UNH undergraduates with Granite State organizations to support projects related to positive environmental and social impact. Semester for Impact is a companion program to Semester in the City, offered through the Changemaker Collaborative.  

“I would’ve loved to participate in Semester in the City, but I had one economics course on campus that I had to take in person,” Loto says. "Semester for Impact has allowed me to stay in Durham, take that course, undertake an internship and receive all 16 credits that I needed for the semester, which I thought was beneficial and very flexible.”    

Loto, a junior majoring in analytical economics at the UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics and political science at the College of Liberal Arts, is one of four students participating in the first Semester for Impact at UNH.  

Loto is doing her internship with New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR), a nonprofit that brings together socially responsible organizations from around the state. She works remotely with NHBSR for 30 hours a week while earning a semester's worth of credits.   

She’s earning 12 credits through Semester for Impact, eight from her internship, and four from the College for Social Innovation’s “Becoming a Problem Solver” course. Loto is also taking an economics class for four additional credits, totaling 16 credits for the semester.    

Connections made during her internship also informed Loto about the UNH B Impact Clinic, a partnership between NHBSR and UNH that allows students to serve as consultants for regional companies working to assess their social and environmental impacts, which she will participate in during the fall 2025 semester.   

As a Social Innovation Fellow for NHBSR, Loto’s major project is preparing the Measure What Matters NH reports for businesses, which requires data analysis and creating charts with Microsoft Excel.      

The reports serve as a practical assessment tool that businesses can use to benchmark their sustainability initiatives against industry standards, understand their business’ strengths and areas of challenge, and obtain in-depth numerical and visually compelling reports on progress.    

“Companies unable to complete the entire B Impact Assessment, for whatever reason, can take the (Measure What Matters) survey and request an individualized report that shows how they compare to similar businesses in the six different categories of sustainability, along with individualized recommendations about how they can improve their score.”     

Zeina Eyceoz, program manager at NHBSR, has been mentoring Loto during her internship and works with her to analyze and interpret the Measure What Matters survey results. They review the data, identifying key trends and insights that could inform survey takers in making strategic decisions, according to Eyceoz.   

“During her time with us, Skye consistently displayed dedication, insight and skill in presenting, analyzing and interpreting data,” Eyceoz says. “Her unwavering attention to detail and thorough exploration of tools and resources notably elevated the caliber and comprehensiveness of our reports, providing members with valuable insights and actionable recommendations to facilitate informed decision-making progress in their sustainability journey."  

Loto’s role also includes communicating with businesses through Zoom, email outreach and attending NHBSR events.    

“I love the networking part of my internship,” Loto says. “I recently attended a peer impact networking meeting, and I met sustainability professionals from some of the biggest companies in New Hampshire, and they were incredible.”    

Loto admits that she initially viewed Semester of Impact as a resume builder, but it has since turned into an experience that has taught her about herself and prepared her for future professional opportunities. She encourages other students to give the program a look.    

“It’s helped me get that internship experience I was looking for. As a sophomore, I've been very lucky to even have an internship. It's been incredible to be so valued by my mentors, even at a young age,” Loto says. “People should absolutely take a chance on Semester for Impact. UNH has so many opportunities to gain real-world experience, and this is a great option.”   

Loto, a Paul Scholar, has no plans of slowing down once her internship concludes. She’ll travel to London during the summer to take a four-credit course at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She plans to study abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and intern at the Washington Center in Washington, D.C., in 2025.    

Loto came to Paul College intending to major in finance but decided on analytical economics because of her interest in economic policy and math. She took on her additional major of political science because she had room in her schedule, and the two majors represent the intersection of government and economics, both of which fit into her goal of working at the Federal Reserve.    

“I want to help people,” Loto says. “The economy is what makes the world go around, and I want to be able to help keep it as stable as humanly possible.” 

Radames Gonzalez | Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics