ECONorthwest Internship Program: Profiles of Past Interns

Since 2015, ECONorthwest has hosted dozens of interns from colleges and universities across the United States. These profiles shed light on past ECONorthwest interns, their experiences, skills gained, and where they are now.

2019 Summer Cohort

Ella M.

Internship: Graduate Intern in Planning & Development
Current Position: Graduate Student of City Planning
Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Why did you choose to accept the internship?

I decided to accept the position because I was interested in the opportunity to work on a variety of projects in different topic areas (housing, economic development, redevelopment).

What is your most memorable project at ECO?

Too many to mention! I have really enjoyed working on a business planning document for a proposed public market. I also enjoyed the Kitsap County housing market analysis, since I got the opportunity to interview a variety of stakeholders and then synthesize their perspectives into a useful document.

What are the most valuable skills you learned at ECO?

I was relatively inexperienced with economic principles, and I learned how to use an economic lens to look at problems and identify pragmatic solutions.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

I am interested in making structural changes to reduce inequalities using place based interventions and tools. I'm also interested in promoting economic opportunity for underserved and marginalized communities.

What advice do you have for new interns?

When you first arrive, make a point of getting coffee with everyone you can! It's a great way to learn about the different practice areas within the company, and you may also find some unexpected overlaps in interest with various colleagues.


Giovanna O.

Internship: Undergraduate Intern in Planning & Development
Current Position: Government Relations Associate
Education: Bachelor of Science in Government & Politics and Economics

What is your most memorable project at ECO?

I was really fond of the work I was doing with a Housing Needs Analysis. I was able to see the fruits of my labor at a planning committee meeting when I took notes during one of ECO's presentations. It was really valuable for me to see the Housing Needs Analysis work come full circle.

What are the most valuable skills you learned at ECO?

I learned to uphold the integrity of my work by being thorough and accurate. I learned how to be reflective and think about new approaches and ways to complete a task more efficiently. I also learned how to communicate throughout my process, and how to use my time and those of others more efficiently.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

I am passionate about social and economic justice. I think that in order to make informed decisions about the future of our communities, we need data-driven research. I am interested in bolstering a background in political science with applied statistics and economics. I hope that by learning as much as I can, I can make myself a valuable asset to any number of groups, whether public or private, and work to achieve equitable outcomes for marginalized peoples.

What advice do you have for new interns?

Approaching consulting with a positive attitude and an open mind can make a big difference. I recommend talking to as many people in the office as possible and asking people about where you could help on any type of project.


James K.

Internship: Graduate Intern in Planning & Development
Current Position: Graduate Student of Public Affairs
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

What is your most memorable project at ECO?

Imagining the future of urban real estate when autonomous vehicles become a major mode of transportation.

What are the most valuable skills you learned at ECO?

I was given the flexibility and independence to learn Python so that it can be used for a project. I also learned the many terms used in housing policy.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

Learning with and learning from other students with professional experiences in the public sector.

What advice do you have for new interns?

Plan ahead to get project work and don't hesitate to ask.


Melissa C.

Internship: Undergraduate Intern in Natural Resources
Current Position: Research Analyst
Education: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics & Policy

Why did you choose to accept the internship?

I chose to accept an internship position at ECO because I see the importance of objective and independent economic and policy research. Also, after my interview, I felt the culture to be welcoming, hard-working, and inquisitive, all of which are important to me.

What is your most memorable project at ECO?

My most memorable project was creating a matrix of legally viable funding sources and governance options necessary for revamping a lake in Washington. It challenged my understanding of local government and state government interactions and processes. I learned a lot about Washington's code, taxes, and levies, and the importance of strategic facilitation for large stakeholder groups.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

The ability to use my skill set to provide high-quality unbiased information to decision-makers to help progress toward a more fair, just, healthy, and equitable society.

What advice do you have for new interns?

Throughout your internship, you will be told to ask any questions you have and ask as many coworkers to coffee as possible. Take advantage of this. I believe the connections you will make at ECONorthwest and the knowledge you acquire from talking with your coworkers are equally as beneficial for your future as the work you will do.


Previous Interns

Denise C. 2018-2019

Internship: Post-graduate Intern in Planning & Development
Current Position: Measurement and Evaluation Analyst
Education: Masters in Urban Planning

Why did you choose to accept the internship?

I chose to accept the internship at ECO because I believed that the position would expose me to local-level urban planning and strengthen my analytical skills.

What are the most valuable skills you learned at ECO?

During my internship, the most valuable skill I learned was time management in the consulting world. Understanding how budgets are made. Learning how to upmanage. Basics of understanding IMPLAN. Business writing through the writing course and through collaborative writing. Being a good analyst involves knowing how to manipulate data and how to write it out in clear language for clients of various contextual levels to understand.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

Contributing to projects that focus on benefiting the economy, environment, and equity. Being part of a team that is collaborative and enthusiastic about the work.

What advice do you have for new interns?

The advice I would give to new interns in to enjoy and take advantage of the many learning opportunities at ECO. Take on tasks that you know little about and the learning curve will be great and rewarding. Set up coffee dates with partners, project managers, and associates to learn their journey, be inspired, and make more connections.


Angelica T. 2017-2018

Internship: Undergraduate Intern
Current Position: Research Analyst
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English and Economics

What is your most memorable project at ECO?

Although I did not have a favorite project, I always liked when I got to create something from beginning to end, especially if it featured layout and design or data visualization.

What are the most valuable skills you learned at ECO?

During my internship at ECO I learned to accept that sometimes there is not always a right answer, but there is always a best answer.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

Our clients ask us to do work for them because they have a question that is important to them and they need an answer. Even if I am not particularly interested in the topic of the project, I want to try and give people the best answer I can so that they can do their best work.

What advice do you have for new interns?

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Obviously, there is value in a good Google search and figuring out the answer yourself, but you should never be afraid to ask a question.


Andrea P. 2016-2017

Internship: Intern in Planning & Development
Current Position: Associate Economic Development Planner
Education: Masters in Urban and Regional Planning

What is your most memorable project at ECO?

The research and interviews I did to help write a plan for a food hall/business incubator/public market in the City of Salem have served me well in multiple ways since working on that project.

What are the most valuable skills you learned at ECO?

The project management skills I learned from watching the planning staff work were invaluable.

What inspires or motivates your current work?

The idea that my work can have an immediate and long-term impact in improving the economic outlook of disadvantaged populations.

What advice do you have for new interns?

Keep your spreadsheets well organized! Also, take a break and get to know your coworkers. They're all very smart and interesting people that you'll be happy to know in the future. Ask if you can help on something you've never done before!