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Meet our 2020 Spring Interns!

July 14th, 2020 by

New Jersey Future’s internship program is developing the next generation of thinkers in smart growth. We offer graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to assist us with various projects, including research, writing, communications, and administration. We appreciate their wide-ranging contributions! See a list of our previous interns and learn how to apply

Here is what this summer’s interns worked on, in their own words.

Zachary Kocaj

Rutgers University
Field of Study: Bioenvironmental Engineering

Working as a data dashboard intern this summer was a new learning experience. The project involved gathering and analyzing data from potable and wastewater service systems throughout New Jersey. Under the guidance of Professor Daniel Van Abs of Rutgers University and Kimberley Irby of New Jersey Future, Matt Bewley and I collaborated to divvy up tasks to complete the project efficiently. Observing how much potable and wastewater services vary across the state has been eye-opening.

This internship has improved my communication abilities, time management, research efficiency, and Excel knowledge. I am thankful for the wonderful learning experience and look forward to continuing to work in the water services field. 

Matt Bewley

Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
Field of Study: Urban Planning and Public Policy 

This summer, I worked with the Jersey Water Works (JWW) team to support the development of JWW’s future data dashboard. In particular, I helped gather data on utility rates and on utilities themselves, including about the availability of financial information and consumer confidence reports. Gathering the rates and other information required combing through a variety of sources, and I learned to quickly sort through rate schedules and utility webpages to extract the information needed. With the guidance of Rutgers Professor Daniel Van Abs as well as Jyoti Venketraman and Kim Irby of New Jersey Future, we made sure that the information we collected was accurate and that it spoke to the data dashboard’s performance metrics. With the data gathered this summer as its basis, the data dashboard will allow policymakers and individual water and sewer customers to assess utilities’ progress toward the goals of the JWW coalition. By contributing to this project, I developed a much better understanding of water and sewer systems in New Jersey, and this knowledge will be a big help as I start my career in urban planning.

Tom Kozma

Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
Field of Study: Planning and Public Policy

Between graduating from Middlesex County College with an A.A. degree and starting at Rutgers University, I had the pleasure of working with Tanya Rohrbach on New Jersey Future’s Creating Great Places to Age program. My primary responsibility was to research municipalities which had successfully implemented strategies to increase the variety of housing available to residents, with a special emphasis on how older residents would benefit. 

Based on interviews with representatives from some of these towns, I co-authored a summary report of my findings. I also wrote two blog posts further explaining how some of these strategies, such as accessory dwelling units and public private partnerships, can benefit people of all ages. During my internship, I learned a lot about housing issues in New Jersey and the legal process surrounding zoning. I hope to use this knowledge as I continue my academic career and start to work in the world of planning and land use. 

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