Deanna Phillips – Environmental Sustainability Internship
My name is Deanna Phillips and I’ve been working as an intern at Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories in Leola, Pennsylvania. This massive lab is home to thousands of professionals who specialize in pharmaceutical product testing, environmental testing, medical device testing, and more. Here, I am a part of the sustainability department and I spend most of my time with my mentor Amanda who is the Sustainability Project Manager for Eurofins’ Lancaster campus. Eurofins is a huge workplace of over 500,000 square feet and 2,100 employees, not to mention several other laboratories and testing facilities located internationally. There is plenty for someone like me to learn and experience at a global corporation like this!
The Eurofins sustainability program is fairly new and only began a little over 2 years ago when larger clients (mostly drug companies) did not want to work with testing companies that could not prove to have a strong system in place to lessen their impact on the environment (which Eurofins now shows by compiling the year’s projects in an annual sustainability report). In fact, the Lancaster campus is the first one to even have a sustainability program, so a lot of what we do is done as guinea pigs. Throughout the year, the few dedicated sustainability specialists at Eurofins design projects and events to help elevate the company’s role in the future. This department is only in its early stages with just a handful of employees involved, so this learning experience has truly been one of a kind. Because sustainability is unlike any other department or laboratory position in that it works in cooperation with the whole campus in uncharted territory, the job description is not easily defined. Every day, I entered the office with no expectations, except to be surprised.
One thing I could count on doing each day is logging into my computer and checking my company email for updates on projects or events from employees from other departments or even from outside partners or organizations. Sustainability covers many different areas including environmental impact, employee wellness, and diversity. Each day I came, I worked on a different project or a different task, and even met different people. It’s difficult to express all that I did at my internship because in a relatively short period of time, it varied incredibly. I sought out this position with the sole purpose of getting involved in environmental science and our future impact, completely unknowing of the much broader and unique world available. One thing Amanda really likes about her job is not only that every day is a new and interesting experience, but also that she holds a lot of control over how she schedules her daily ideas and activities while using her degree in sustainable energy.
At Eurofins, I attended meetings with the sustainability team leader (weekly), the Green Team, other department leaders, community outreach employees, employees in charge of facilities (to discuss electric charger construction), Garden Club members, and more. I took part in anything from typing notes, replacing bags for recycling systems for employees (whether it’s old cellphones, eyeglasses, aluminum, TerraCycle, or Trex recycling), sorting batteries for recycling, emailing/communicating with other employees for new projects, and thinking of wellness center plans, to working on projects to reduce individual employee waste, advertising for upcoming events, generating ideas for diversity programs, understanding ways to alleviate impact on wildlife and climate, marketing for community outreach programs, creating flyers, proofreading writing, and even searching for lanternfly eggs. I’ve gotten the chance to explore all Eurofins does, especially in how they interact with their environment and plan for the future.
This internship has allowed me to grow in a multitude of new ways. Not only have I gained an incredible insight into how multiple laboratory-based buildings operate, but I’ve learned the ins and outs of how a testing facility stays environmentally friendly and tracks their progress. Above all, I unexpectantly had the privilege of getting to meet and work with such a large variety of people and employees from all different backgrounds. I’ve definitely learned a great deal about myself and handling myself around others in a professional setting, but also how to connect with people in a personable way. I’ve developed my skills in communication and sustainability topics. My internship has influenced me to hopefully explore more environment-related topics in college. Sustainability has shown me that I love being able to make a noticeable positive difference and to interact with all different types of people for the better of humanity as a whole! This has also helped me understand how my personality fits, or doesn’t fit, in an office setting and taught me more about keeping an open mind to each day. This amazing opportunity will certainly have a lasting effect on me long after high school. If you are considering this internship or a similar one, please reach out to me, I’d love to discuss my take on it further!