Interns of 2015
A California native, Adin enjoys being outside whenever possible – gardening, exploring, camping, etc. His love for California’s landscapes has inspired numerous bicycle tours. Last summer he and a friend traveled by bicycle from Southern California to New Orleans, Louisiana (see their blog at aidsipoo.tumblr.com). Shortly after that adventure, Adin found himself at the Grange Farm School in Willits, CA, where his passion for organic farming was sparked. Other interests of his include: natural building, renewable energy, Judaism, and reading science fiction novels. Currently, Adin is finishing his degree in Environmental Science from Pitzer College in Claremont.
Caitlyn, better known as Cait, Schieneman is from Pittsburgh, PA. She is very passionate about the outdoors and enjoys practicing sustainable living. She received an undergraduate degree at Chatham University in Environmental Science and a certificate in Latin American Studies. Her experiences abroad in Costa Rica and Brazil shaped her areas of interest and helped her to realize how fulfilling it was to build sustainably. In her past internships and jobs, Cait focused mostly on environmental education and trail building. Through this internship, she hopes to connect people with nature and develop the skills to transform buildings and landscapes to work with the environment, instead of against it. In her free time, Cait likes to run, do yoga, read, or go for a hike. She is greatly looking forward to meeting the people at The Solar Living Institute who are dedicated to protecting the environment.
Enis Cirak is a Chemical Engineering student from Tennessee. He is originally from Bosnia and grew up in a diverse part of Nashville. He has always loved other cultures, science, technology, and philosophy. Traveling, learning, and conversation are naturally his favorite hobbies. He is very passionate about solar energy and is extremely excited for the summer. He hopes to learn a lot about solar energy and meet a lot of amazing people.
Hillary is from Townshend, Vermont. She graduated from the University of Vermont with focuses in Chinese Studies, Sociology and Fine Metals. While studying at UVM, she studied abroad in Yunnan Province, home to 38 of the 52 cultural minorities of China. Her trip inspired her to become the Fair Trade Education Intern at The Peace & Justice Center of Burlington, VT. She has since self-funded a trip to Costa Rica for a Permaculture course at Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living and Education. Her teacher suggested that she travel to California and join the organization Common Vision. She has since traveled Southern California with a CV team of Environmental Educators planting fruit trees and painting orchard signs with students in grades k-12. Her travels to California organically led her to the Solar Living Institute where she is excited to share ideas and help to cultivate a more balanced and harmonious future. She has been passionate about social and environmental justice for as long as she can remember. She appreciates differences in learning styles, is grateful for the outdoors, promotes creative outlets and enjoys dancing, live music and laughing with friends.
Robin started out in Mendocino, traveled to Lake county, and eventually ended up in Sonoma where he spent two years at the JC studying environmental science; Mendo will always be his home. He loves being out doors, perusing being a master of all trades. Robin is mainly focusing on solar installation and the science behind it. He's also in the process of writing a book about nor cal, but wanting to travel! Robin loves getting down and dirty- motorcycles are his passion. Look for him if you want a smile on your face!
Interns of 2014
Michaela Ruppert: Communications Intern
Michaela was born and raised in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. She recently graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Community, Environment, and Development and a minor in Sustainability Leadership. She joined the Solar Living Institute to expand her knowledge about solar energy and other sustainable living practices. Michaela hopes to use her knowledge and experience from SLI in the field of International Sustainable Development.
Jo Felix: Workshop Intern
Jo came to SLI right after graduating from Morgan State University with an undergraduate degree in Hospitality Management. Her internship with SLI will provide the perfect opportunity for networking, event planning and hands on experience with practical sustainable solutions – an excellent foundation for her future career in hotel management. Jo hopes to return to her home country, St. Lucia to work with eco-resorts and boutique hotels that are interested in reducing their carbon footprint.
Rachel Sutton: Communication/Education Intern
Rachel grew up in Lake County and has always had a passion for environmental conservation and sustainability.
Rachel is now a Junior at Cal State Monterey Bay studying Environmental Studies with a focus in Sustainable Communities. With her passion for the environment she hopes to one day have a career where she can influence others to be aware of their everyday impacts and appreciate the natural world around us.
She joined the Solar Living Institute to gain hands on experience in solar and experience a sustainable living life style. Rachel hopes that her internship with SLI will enhance her knowledge in solar energy and also help her decide where she wants to take her career. No matter what career she chooses, she knows her time at SLI has better equipped her for success in the sustainability industry.
Justin Simon: Site Intern
Justin Simon is a site intern for The Solar Living Institute. He grew up in Sacramento California. Shortly after graduating high school he started making arrangements to intern at SLI and hopes to leave with a strong start towards a career in the solar industry by the end of the internship. As far as fun Justin enjoys any heavy music and crazy rope swing sessions.
Caleb Gordon: Site Intern
Caleb Gordon is a summer site intern at the Solar Living Institute. He first heard of SLI from a friend who referred him to the PV Installation and Design course offered here. After visiting the institute and researching more about the workshop, Caleb was able to attend the PV 200 Installation and Design 40 hour intensive and found a job for the summer installing PV systems.
When he isn't learning new alternative energy concepts or weeding in the garden, Caleb likes to spend his time outdoors. Caleb's hobbies include mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, golf as well as jamming on the acoustic guitar. A combination of great music, food, and people is where you will find him.
Prior to his experience in PV installation, Caleb graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, New York. His passion is in Alternative Energies, but after moving west to California he gained a higher awareness to sustainable living practices and our overall impacts on the planet. The mission at SLI fits well with Caleb's passions and gives him the facilities and resources needed as well as networking and connections to improve his skills, knowledge and experience in sustainable living on his pursuit to become a devoted and conscious contributor to the global community.
As a Site intern at SLI, Caleb's duties are to assist in all phases of our organic gardens, which provide the interns with fresh produce throughout the year. He also works on site maintenance and improvement projects from landscaping to construction to natural building projects. Through the experience gained here at SLI in intentional community and sustainable living education, Caleb hope to spread the awareness of our impacts on Earth and help to contribute in our transition to a more sustainable future.
Angela Powell: Education Intern
Angela has a passion for the land and the environment. She came from the midwest and has been working and travelling up and down the west coast from Alaska to the Mojave.
Angela has over 6 years of volunteer non-profit and land stewardship work experience. Angela has worked as a wilderness field instructor leading kids in therapeutic expeditions and worked in outdoor and garden education for youth. She has also lead a young adult volunteer trail crew in Alaska, worked on over 7 farms and ranches with Willing Workers on Organic Farms, living and working at an urban homestead in SLC with the Fellowship for Intentional Communities. She has worked on habitat restoration with The Student Conservation Association, and been an AmeriCorps crew member.
During her time working with the land, plants, animals and living closely with other people Angela has gained great insight and skills regarding the environment and how people can work with and for the land for healthier people and communities.
Angela hopes the summer doesn’t go by to quickly because SLI is an oasis of knowledge and a meeting place for likeminded and passionate people. Angela looks forward to the rest of the summer learning and teaching with the other interns and the possibilities after!
Adena Rivas: Site Intern
Adena Rivas was born in Houston, TX, mostly raised on the east coast in Pittsburgh, PA, and currently lives in Illinois. Other than being an artist and musician, some of her extracurricular activities include gardening, landscaping, construction, community outreach and organizing, animal rehabilitation, as well as enjoying the beauty of nature through outdoor experiences.
Her education includes two Bachelor degrees from Oakland City University in History, Political Science, Sociology, and Humanities and a Masters degree from the University of Illinois- Springfield in Environmental Policy & Sustainability, which will be completed Fall 2014. Currently, she teaches at both a community college in Illinois and 4-year university in Indiana. In this sense, one of her greatest passions is learning and spreading knowledge as well as real world experience to her students, family, and friends.
Ultimately, her goal is to help bridge the gap between environmental and humanitarian issues that have become more prevalent within the 21st century. This includes gaining more knowledge about and helping to draw more focus on alternative technologies; both within her community and elsewhere. In this regard, SLI has become a perfect fit for her learning desires, offering both a chance to participate in courses offered at SLI dealing directly with alternative technologies (e.g., photovoltaic, aquaponics, etc.) as well a being involved with hands-on site experience.
Jonathan Mendez: Site Intern
Jonathan Mendez is a summer site intern with the Solar Living Institute. He is 22 years old and a student with the local Mendocino College. He has just finished a two year certificate program on sustainable technology and is continuing his education to receive a B.S. in Environmental Engineering.
After completing his certificate program he decided to apply to SLI to gain some real hands on experience with a company that specializes in environmental education. Jonathan hopes to gain experience in environmental practices like natural building and photovoltaics to name a few, by attending the workshops offered at SLI.
By gaining this real world experience he hopes to take his skills off into the workforce and do great things by creating a more sustainable future.
Thomas Harper and Laura Smith: Summer Caretakers
Thomas and Laura have come to SLI from Scotland to be Caretakers this summer. They both have a love of the outdoors, aim to live as sustainably as possible and hope to build their own natural home someday.
Thomas has had a variety of jobs over the last few years, from rickshaw (pedicab) driving in Edinburgh to upland path building and restoring lime mortar walls. He has always been very interested in sustainability, renewable energy and, especially organic gardening. He jumped at the chance to come to SLI for the summer to learn more.
Laura has spent 8 years working in nature conservation, managing Scotland’s first Voluntary Marine Reserve and a coastal reserve in the north of Scotland. She has experience in environmental education, naturalist training and storytelling. She says “Inspiring people about nature and the need for us all to walk more lightly on the earth has been at the center of my work for so long. It is great to have the opportunity to come to SLI to learn more about sustainable living and to be reinvigorated and inspired myself. I’m looking forward to taking everything that I am learning back to Scotland and sharing it with people there.”