SolarCorps graduates celebrate their 5-year GRID-iversary!


September 22, 2020
Large group of SolarCorps Fellows posing for a photo on the beach.

Graduates of GRID’s inaugural cohort of 40 SolarCorps Fellows are celebrating their five-year work anniversaries this month! The 2014-2015 Fellows were the first cohort to start and finish their terms alongside one another, and many chose to stay at GRID after completing their terms of service. In honor of their GRID-iversaries, we caught up with a few alumni and asked what advice they have for the incoming 2020-21 SolarCorps Fellows.

Nick Boateng | Outreach Manager, GRID Greater Los Angeles

Family poses in front of an electric vehicle with a GRID staff member.
Nick Boateng (right) poses with GRID clients in Los Angeles.
I can honestly say that my SolarCorps Fellowship put me in a position to learn so much about the intricacies of the residential solar process, community engagement, project management, building meaningful and effective partnerships, and being part of positive social impact. SolarCorps set me up to be successful in my many roles at GRID after my term ended.

My advice to the new cohort is to absorb as much information as possible even beyond the departments you are assigned to. As you begin to master your craft, I would encourage you to also understand how everything connects both on the micro and macro scale. It will give you a deeper appreciation for the process and what it takes for an organization like GRID Alternatives to have the impact that it does.

Michaela Ruppert | Corporate Partnerships Officer, HQ Philanthropy

While I didn't actually stay on with GRID immediately after my fellowship ended, it wasn't too long before I came back, which I think is a testament to the amazing work that GRID does. My experience as a Fellow greatly increased my level of professional development and helped provide purpose in my life during the confusing post-college time period when you're suddenly off in the world trying to figure it all out. 

While I certainly don't have it all figured out, my advice to incoming Fellows would be to ask lots of questions, and not just about your specific role. Learn how GRID operates as a whole because that foundational knowledge is transferable to other departments. 

Yoselyn Sanchez | Outreach Operations Coordinator, GRID Inland Empire

Couple poses in front of a GRID banner on their garage with a GRID staff member.
Yoselyn Sanchez (center) with GRID clients in the Inland Empire.
My SolarCorps experience was the perfect segway into the nonprofit and solar worlds. It was my first job out of college and the 13 month outreach fellowship really was a crash course on all the amazing work that community-based organizations like GRID do every day in my region. Having entered as a cohort of 40, I was able to keep in touch with other Fellows in the different regional offices and built a network of support. I was able to learn all about residential solar projects, back-end operations, and community outreach. 

My advice for incoming Fellows would be to absorb as many skills as you can during your fellowship, follow your curiosity, and to always remember that we are privileged to serve our communities through our programs. Every little task you complete is part of the bigger picture of making a positive impact on an individual's life.

Angel Bianchi | Operations Coordinator, HQ Construction

During my SolarCorps term I was given warehouse duty for a week, even though I would have rather been on the roof installing solar and not dealing with equipment (especially since there were so many unfamiliar parts I had to sort and count). My manager noticed I was a bit frustrated and said to me, "You know what might help? Next time you go to Home Depot, walk around all the aisles and look at all the different wire and conduit sizes, lengths and features, and specialty tools and try to familiarize yourself with them -- you'll see it'll get easier to manage.” I took her advice and actually became impressed with all the different types of material. So much so, that I ended up volunteering more for warehouse duty, eventually ordering material, finding and assigning contractors, and becoming involved with projects from beginning to end -- skills that I continue to use and learn to this day. 

For incoming SolarCorps Fellows I’d say this: don’t be afraid to listen to advice and step outside of your comfort zone, even if at first it doesn't seem like something that interests you. You’d be surprised where the littlest thing you learn could actually take you!