Connor Drinkard was selected to participate in the William A. Demmer Scholars Program in Washington, D.C. in summer 2019.
The program, based out of Michigan State University, offers a 12-week paid internship at federal agencies or non-governmental organizations that focus on natural resources. Drinkard will join 30 other students in the nation’s capital, where he will also take part in an advanced federal policy course.
The CSU junior is one of the few students chosen to take part in the program outside of scholars selected from Michigan State University and Mississippi State University.
After serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Drinkard is pursuing a double major in natural resources management and natural resource economics. His experience in the government and his interest in natural resources from the management and financial side drive his pursuits.
“I want to help people, and one of the most pressing issues is climate change,” Drinkard said. “Generally, we need to do a lot of policy work to make improvements in this area.”
Drinkard initially learned about the program while volunteering with the Society for Ecological Restoration student organization in fall 2018. He connected with fellow FRS student Max Griffis, a recent Demmer Scholar, who helped him with the application process.
“I had no idea volunteering to plant trees with the Society for Ecological Restoration would lead to an opportunity like this,” Drinkard added. “Opportunities can happen anywhere, and at any time, and when they do you have to go for them.”
Drinkard said beyond this program, he is interested in finding other opportunities that tie economics to policy implementation. He would like to work with cap and trade, or emissions trading — a market-based approach to controlling pollution — or the carbon tax, which provides economic incentive to reduce emissions of pollutants from vehicles and manufacturing.
The 2019 program runs from May 20 – August 9.
Since 2009, the William A. Demmer Scholars Program has provided over 200 students with the opportunity to learn policy first-hand while interning at high-profile agencies and groups in Washington D.C. The program is led by Mark Rey, executive in residence for the Center for System Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University.