GRID volunteer, Parker Bennett, met with one of GRID's current fellows, Michael Yang, to talk solar, family, and boba tea.
Michael Yang, GRID Alternatives’ Multifamily and Commercial fellow, had known for a while he wanted to get involved in the world of sustainability. Michael also knew he was passionate about supporting low-income communities, and wanted to ensure the company he chose would reflect that commitment. When he came across the application for GRID’s SolarCorps Fellowship Program, he knew it was exactly the role he had sought.
Michael’s primary objective at GRID is assisting with development projects. Another important aspect of the SolarCorps Fellowship Program involves professional development, which includes attending a networking webinar, a wage negotiation training, a cover letter workshop, and other
professional development training. He also established and leads GRID’s first Asian-American/Pacific Islander Affinity Group, and dedicates time to planning and leading meetings for the group.
Six months into his fellowship term, Michael has found it most rewarding to know his team is doing work that aligns with his personal values, and is directly benefiting the community. “I’m a child of immigrants who came to America 30 years ago,” Michael said. “Growing up, we didn’t know what solar panels were; we didn’t know the importance of clean energy or how it could help us save money on our energy bills. There was a huge gap in the resources available to my community. It’s really great to be part of a company that’s doing amazing work for similar communities - providing equitable access to opportunities I wish my family had back then.”
Outside of work, Michael is physically active and a dedicated foodie. He starts the day off with yoga, walks on a treadmill from his standing desk while working, and loves cooking and baking in his spare time. He’s especially passionate about boba - he even created a boba blog while studying abroad in Paris, where he would travel to different boba spots around the city and rate each one for his page.
After the fellowship, Michael hopes to continue working in the clean energy field. He advises others who are committed to working in this realm to start early - and keep their eyes open for fellowships, internships, and similar opportunities. He also suggests people find their niche within the sustainability/environmental field. “Personally, I felt studying clean energy was the way I could most directly make an impact in the fight against climate change,” he said. “Although I’m relatively new to GRID, seeing and hearing about the impact our projects have had so far is really exciting, and I’m looking forward to helping future projects come to fruition.”