Synapse and Climable Welcome New Participants of the Energy Workforce Diversification (EWD) Internship Program

February 22, 2024

This winter semester we are thrilled to welcome the latest participants of the Energy Workforce Diversification (EWD) Internship Program (formerly called the Energy Justice internship). In fall of 2021, Climable and Synapse partnered to establish the program to diversify the energy analysis field through mentorship; relationship building; and exposure to regulatory; utility, and energy processes.

Welcome Andrea Hilsaca and Khadija Hussaini! Check out their brief introductions below. 

My name is Andrea Hilsaca, and I am currently starting my career journey in the sustainability and climate sector. I graduated from Bentley University in May 2023 with a B.S. in Management and Sustainability Science. I have been passionate about working in this sector since middle school, having witnessed how climate change and environmental degradation have affected my home country, Honduras. I am an advocate for a just and equitable environmental movement.

At Bentley University, I participated in research projects and collaborated with the Bentley Office of Sustainability. I gained insight into areas ranging from plastics and waste management to energy and the environment, alongside a business background. During my senior capstone project, I focused on gathering data and analyzing waste management practices in Honduras, to propose improvements and policies prioritizing a social-equity perspective to uplift marginalized communities. 

After graduating, I worked as an Energy Efficiency Intern for residential projects in Massachusetts, where I learned about energy codes, rebates and incentive programs, as well as various green building technologies and sciences that can help lower energy usage and emissions in homes. I believe there is a great opportunity to learn, grow, and make a positive impact on the environment and people within the energy sector. I am interested in working with energy policies, understanding the challenges and opportunities in the clean energy transition, and improving my data analysis skills.

In warmer weather, I love visiting the beach and the ocean. In my free time, I enjoy reading historical fiction, visiting new restaurants, and learning to cook new cuisines from around the world. I am also an active volunteer for Operation Smile, participating in missions during my vacations back home to help children with cleft lips and palates.

I am Khadija Hussaini, an international development practitioner and researcher. I completed my undergraduate degree at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, majoring in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE). I have worked in humanitarian aid and development sectors in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, implementing projects and conducting research related to rural development, education, and conflict emergencies.

My career so far has focused on improving conditions for vulnerable communities through humanitarian and development programs. As Program Coordinator with the Norwegian Refugee Council, I contributed to design and implementation of development and aid services for displaced populations. At the Afghanistan Analysts Network, my research on rural development, immigration, and gender issues informed programs and policies for conflict-affected areas. I leveraged on-the-ground expertise and research skills to create evidence-based equity and social justice focused programs. 

I recently completed a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University through the Fulbright program. This program deepened my knowledge of energy and environmental issues and the need for an inclusive and equitable clean energy transition that does not leave vulnerable communities behind. At Brandeis University, through courses on environmental policy, political ecology, and energy economics, I gained exposure and insights into the energy industry and the potential of renewable energy for the future. The blend of policy perspectives and practical analytical skills I developed during my master’s has inspired me to pivot my career toward the energy economy. I joined Synapse to learn more about the U.S. energy infrastructure.

During my internship, I look forward to contributing to Synapse's work on distributed energy systems and energy justice. An equitable, distributed renewable energy policy is critical to building a just, clean, and sustainable future. In my role, I aim to assist with research and analysis on topics like building decarbonization and decarbonization-related regulatory interventions. I am excited to explore these issues' technical, regulatory, and social dimensions. 

I enjoy cooking, reading, painting, hiking, and exploring Boston's music events in my free time. Getting to know American art and culture so far has been very fun.