Summer Intern Spotlight – Ellende Chongolola

In support of our Strategic Growth Project initiative, EHS Support is launching a Summer Internship Program this year. We have assembled a multi-disciplinary team from science and engineering backgrounds with varying knowledge in hydrogeology, ecology, chemistry, economics, and data science/geographic information systems. Each week we’ll be spotlighting a different intern to share their skills, interests, and experience in the program.

Next up is Ellende Chongolola, who recently earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University.

What attracted you to the EHS Support Summer Internship Program?

After meeting representatives from the company at Drexel’s 2022 Spring Career Fair, I was very intrigued in EHS Support’s projects, mission, overall objectives, and culture. Also, I enjoyed learning about the fundamentals of environmental health, safety, and sustainability during undergrad. So, I was very interested in learning more about a company dedicated to EH&S.

Why did you think you would be a good candidate?

For my last co-operative experience at Drexel, I investigated the common public health impacts associated with wastewater reclamation and consumption. This research involved a lot of similar themes to this internship such as researching human health and environmental risks, reading through historical reports on the behavior and contamination of different water bodies, and more. I believe this co-op helped me prepare well for both this internship program and a career involving risk evaluations, root-cause analysis, and monitoring hazardous compound impacts on neighboring environments.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to begin a full-time career in the field of EH&S. Truthfully, I hope to stay on the Hackensack Research Team to further build out reports and assist with the development of remedial goals for the future of the Hackensack River.

How has it been working alongside the other interns?

I am having a great time working alongside the other interns. It has been nice bouncing ideas around during discussions and sharing information from our site investigations to help bolster our understandings of site histories and impacts.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?

So far, I would say that the two most valuable skills I’ve gained are over-communication and data maintenance. I think that most young professionals want to ask all the “right” questions, so I’ve been appreciating the encouragement from our team leaders to reach out for even the smallest questions if it means clearing up confusion and avoiding future miscommunications. Also, learning the more appropriate practices in data maintenance has made it much easier for me to find, reference, and sort through all the data we’re dealing with. I’m eager to dig deeper into the later portions of this program so that I can learn and apply computational analyses for further data organization and assessment.

What would you like to do in your career in the long term?

I would like to stick with EH&S and other careers focused on safety, sustainability, and mitigating environmental or human health risks.

What’s one fun/little known fact about you?

I enjoy collecting vinyl records. I’m sure everyone I speak to knows that by now! I think it’s such a fun hobby and cool way to discover old music and music history. It’s almost like having little musical time capsules.



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