Meet Our Five Interns

IREC is excited to welcome five interns to the team this summer to help with each of our program areas—Regulatory, Workforce, Local Initiatives, and Communications!

While IREC has envisioned a formal internship program for some time, capacity constraints prevented the program from becoming a reality until Hannah Rome, Operations Manager, joined IREC in November of 2023.

Hannah, the leader behind IREC’s inaugural internship program, said she reviewed nearly 300 applications from highly qualified candidates in detail before narrowing down the pool for IREC’s hiring managers.

“The recruitment process was intense and time-consuming, but after a lot of time, effort, and planning, we’re thrilled to have onboarded five amazing interns for the summer,” Hannah said. “The interns that have been selected are incredibly energized, motivated, and smart. They have already made a huge difference, providing much-needed support to each team across the organization. We are so fortunate to have such bright emerging leaders to have joined our team.”

Hannah said she’s most eager to hear feedback from both the interns and hiring managers about their experiences this summer. She hopes each intern gains valuable exposure to the clean energy industry, and that managers receive the project support they need.

“Learning about the program’s impact and identifying areas for improvement motivates me and makes me look forward to continuing this program in the future,” Hannah said.

IREC invites companies to participate in this program as an internship sponsor.  Please contact Leslie Graham ([email protected]) for information on how to become involved. Sponsors will be recognized on future recruitment materials distributed to colleges and universities nationwide, and will be highlighted as a key IREC partner helping to provide early career support to students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in exploring clean energy careers.

Learn more about each of our interns and what they’ll be working on this summer below!

Jenna Schaefer

Bio: Jenna recently graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics and is now pursuing a Master of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics. Some of her experience includes leading sustainability initiatives, conducting research on environmental policy, and promoting food security.

IREC Program: Workforce 

What will you be working on this summer?

This summer, I’ll mainly be working with the Solar Ready Vets program, which advances solar career pathways for service members and veterans, helping solar employers recruit and retain military talent. Some of my work will include updating the Solar Licensing Database and profiling past fellows. Aside from that, my summer project will focus on researching clean energy workforce policy.

What are you most excited about?

I’m really excited about the opportunity to work in the clean energy field for the first time and contribute to an organization doing such important work!

Tamika Thomas-Murray

IREC Program: Regulatory 

Bio: Tamika is an aspiring environmental attorney, currently pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, with an expected graduation in May 2026. She is currently a Peer Collaborative Teacher for the New York City Department of Education where she spearheaded remote, blended, and in-person projects to provide fellow teachers with up-to-date, research-based remote learning support to improve instructional practices.

What will you be working on this summer?

I will be designing a legal memo focused on governing clean energy projects, policy, and law, particularly before state public utility commissions focusing on microgrid interconnection. This role will allow me to contribute to projects such as legal research on emerging energy trends, drafting memoranda and briefs, and assisting with regulatory compliance tasks.

What are you most excited about?

I am excited about the potential to address systemic inequities while proposing legislative and regulatory reforms that will include legal analysis for lawmakers and advocates to adopt policies that prioritize environmental justice communities.

Emma Bernbaum

IREC Program: Local Initiatives

Bio: Emma graduated from the University of Virginia last month, majoring in Environmental Thought and Practice with a Minor in Spanish and African American and African Studies. She studied abroad in Spain and her capstone project was on Environmental Cultures of Puerto Rico. She is fluent in Spanish and passionate about making a meaningful impact in clean energy. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, dancing, yoga, and spending time with her friends and family. 

What will you be working on this summer?

This summer I will be working with the SolSmart team, which supports local communities in achieving their clean energy goals.

What are you most excited about?

I am most excited to be able to see SolSmart programs in practice, such as local communities and governments receiving technical assistance. Overall, I am thrilled to work with the wonderful IREC team who is so dedicated to a clean energy future.

Kolby Braxton

IREC Program: Local Initiatives (Puerto Rico)

Bio: Kolby plans to graduate with a bachelor’s in environmental science from La Universidad Ana G. Méndez-Cupey and will pursue a master’s in environmental resource management and conservation immediately afterward. 

Born and raised in New Jersey, Kolby joined IREC after a successful internship with a company that strives to bring clean water to countries across the globe. As a Local Initiatives Intern, Kolby helps identify clean energy stakeholders and partners in priority regions while also participating in community-based outreach. 

In his time in Puerto Rico, he has traveled to Fajardo and Cabo Rojo to take a deeper look into the environmental issues across the Island. In his spare time, Kolby is a volunteer with Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña where he helps to plant trees alongside the Martín Peña River.

What will you be working on this summer?

This summer I will be mainly focusing on the ConSOLCIO project, which aims to create a scaffolding to allow federal clean energy incentives to flow through to low income communities in Puerto Rico.

What are you most excited about?

I am most excited about meeting other community leaders because I believe that building strong bonds is the key to making meaningful change.

Tammy Vu

IREC Program: Communications

Bio: Tammy graduated from the University of Southern California last month with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. She has recently completed internships at USC Wrigley Institute as the Kelp Research Intern and Team Kids as the Social Media/Marketing Intern where she honed her communication and leadership skills. Originally from Oklahoma City, she likes to hike, travel, learn new languages, and try new foods with her friends and family. 

What IREC projects will you be working on this summer?

This summer, I will be highlighting IREC’s work by writing about how the organization integrates DEIA into its programs, working on SolSmart case studies, and creating social media graphic posts.  

What are you most excited about this summer (working for IREC)?

I am most excited to get an inside look into the energy sector and learn about the moving parts behind an organization dedicated to promoting an equitable and clean future.