Solar panels and windmills on a green field on a sunny day
Category: Academics

Title: How I’m Jumpstarting My Career in Clean Energy After Graduating From Georgetown

Author: Ava Culoso (C'24)
Date Published: April 26, 2024

I started at Georgetown as a nervous eighteen-year-old, unsure how I fit in, let alone what I wanted to pursue as a career. I started studying computer science and quickly realized I had no interest in the subject. I explored different subjects at Georgetown, struggling to find a discipline I could be passionate about. By my sophomore year, I started studying economics and minoring in environmental studies, and I finally felt like I found my niche. I’ve always been passionate about environmental sustainability, and combined with economic factors, I thought I could find a career in this field and make a real change. 

I felt like my future career was coming together while I was studying abroad in Copenhagen. It was in Denmark I discovered my interest in the energy transition and began applying for positions in energy. Living and studying in a city that has made such significant strides in its clean energy transition was fascinating, and I thought the Danish perspective I had learned would be of use in an internship in the states. While abroad, I applied to renewable energy internships for my summer before senior year.

I got an internship at NRG Energy in their Renewable Advisory Group in New York City. NRG Energy is a Houston-based energy company providing both residential and commercial energy services. The Renewable Advisory Group is a particularly interesting group at NRG because they connect corporate clients with community solar, which are solar projects often incentivized by state governments that provide solar energy to multiple customers within a particular geographic region. This group is responsible for procuring over one gigawatt of sustainable energy solutions for their various Fortune 100 clients. To conceptualize that, one gigawatt is the amount of energy that can power about 750,000 homes!

Although energy is not of interest to everyone, I found the work fascinating. I developed quarterly reports for the clients, created expenditure reports outlining savings and kilowatt consumptions, and I left with so much knowledge about energy and the renewable market. It was my most challenging professional environment, but it was so rewarding. I left NRG with invaluable experience, extensive energy knowledge and a better understanding of what I wanted to do after graduation. 

When I started my senior year, I started applying to clean energy-related analyst positions. Clean energy is a quickly growing field that most have recognized the vital need for, but it can be a difficult sector to break into as a recent graduate, which is why internships can be so important. However, after a lot of searching, I landed a great opportunity at National Grid. After numerous interviews where I spoke extensively about my experience working at NRG and my interest in the energy transition and clean energy, I was offered a position in December and very excitedly accepted. I applied to dozens of positions and after many interviews I was thrilled to be offered a full-time opportunity, particularly in an industry I find so exciting. Although the job hunt was at times stressful, my experience interning at NRG gave me insight into industries and personal areas of interest which allowed me to be confident in my interviews with ample energy knowledge.

As an associate analyst for National Grid, my job will be to support the team’s commercial priorities and assist with deliverables around the future of LI Generation (batteries), competitive transmission and other emerging clean energy technologies. I am so grateful and excited to be working on a team that has already made significant impacts and is leading the clean energy transition. 

Although it took me time to find my way, Georgetown helped pave the way for my interests and passions which led to my internships and my first job I have after I graduate. While I’m still at times uncertain about my future, I know that taking the time to think about what I’m passionate about and trying out different subjects and industries helped me fall into a line of work I’m very excited to pursue. I am looking forward to the bright future of the clean energy sector and being a part of the crucial changes and unprecedented growth being made in energy.

Ava Culoso (C’24) is a Georgetown Storyteller and a senior from New York City in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in economics and minoring in environmental studies and English.