By Lawrie Mankoff
When Alexa Monserret was in high school she engaged in an energy focused summer internship program run by SEI. Monserret now works in new product engineering at Gillig, the second largest bus manufacturer in North America. She focuses on their electric buses, specifically designing the bus structure including the framing for batteries that power these zero emissions vehicles. Alexa recently spoke with us about her green career path following her time with SEI.
Monserret took part in the SEI summer internship program in 2013. This program was made possible through a collaboration between SEI and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which created paid summer internships that engaged high school students in school energy auditing and efficiency projects. Alexa says that this internship experience prompted her to think about sustainability from a new angle: “I was always interested in sustainability but the internship got me thinking about different ways we can approach that. One thing I remember us talking about is how everyday decisions like what kinds of appliances we use, how energy efficient they are, the way we design homes and infrastructure, and how we harvest those materials all makes an impact.” Learning about how our choices impact the environment led Monserret to think of incorporating a green focus into her future career path. Reflecting on her plans going into college, Monserret said, “With that kind of thinking in mind, I went into a major I was going to go into anyways but with the career focus of trying to find jobs that considered those things.”
After high school, Monserret attended UC Davis, where she was inspired by the green campus that surrounded her. She majored in mechanical engineering. As a college student, Monserret found a position at UC Davis as an electric vehicle research program assistant, for which she researched how people use EVs differently from conventional gas powered cars. This research position prompted Monserret to think of transportation as an area in which she would work after college.
Alexa’s first job out of college was at Gillig, working in program management in the engineering department before transferring into product engineering. She is passionate about her work because it contributes to the fight against climate change. When asked about what motivates her to do this work, Alexa responded by saying “Companies especially have the ability to create a really big impact on our environment. My personal goal is to do everything I can to make sure that impact is positive” so that “future generations get to enjoy the world as we have enjoyed it.”
On the impact of the SEI internship on her career path, Alexa says, “Being a part of the SEI high school energy auditing program gave me the opportunity to get involved in sustainable practices early on, something I’ve always been passionate about. It also looks great on a resume or college app, and teaches you valuable skills you can apply to any job moving forward.”
If you are interested in opportunities for high school students to engage in energy and climate protection projects through SEI, head to Energize Schools to learn more.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field