By Jessica Sams, graduate of SolarCorps 2021 and new GRID staff member
Thanks to feedback from the GRID community, we are continuing our SolarCorps newsletter series. This is another step in ensuring that knowledge of our programs remains accessible to those interested in our mission.
After my internship at GRID in April 2021, I sought a deeper perspective of GRID’s operations. Here’s my reflection as an Outreach Fellow in the 2021 SolarCorps cohort, where I’ve determined three important factors that people may not know about SolarCorps.
One - Fellows are Full-time
Working 40 hours a week, the SolarCorps Fellowship is no joke. Juggling between your regional, departmental, and SolarCorps tasks can quickly become chaotic without the use of proper organizational tools! On top of that, building relationships in the hybrid-remote position can be an entirely separate challenge in itself.
Jessica’s tip: Having a calendar is a life saver! Creating reminders and setting alarms to keep me accountable not only allowed me to respect my own time, but the time of others, as well. As for relationships – I got creative! Saying virtual “good mornings” that normally happen in the office and planning virtual breaks helped me stay in touch with my team. Lastly, I took advantage of PTO. As a full time employee, I had the freedom to use my accrued hours for self-care and relaxation days.
Two - Professional Development is Key
In eleven months, each fellow completes 80 hours of professional development. From LinkedIn Premium courses to Spanish classes, the program offers fellows $600 of funds to soak up as much knowledge as they can – while minimizing the financial burden that can often come with it.
Jessica’s tip: By the time Fellows have settled into their roles, an entire month has passed. In the remaining 10 months, I set a goal to complete two hours of professional development/week to meet the 80 hour requirement. Personally, I enjoyed using my funds on purchasing educational books and course subscriptions!
Three - SolarCorps is a Stepping Stone
It may seem obvious that fellowships are designed to add experience to one’s career. However, there is so much more to gain! A plethora of opportunities can come out of being in a cohort, as well as keeping note of your accomplishments in the workplace.
Jessica’s tip: Get to know your fellow Fellows! Once I realized that each fellow was also here to learn and grow, our monthly meetings and community building events instantly became a safe place to create friendships and share career advice. Being a SolarCorps Fellow is all about preparing yourself for the next steps of your career. With that, I challenge you to take the time to write down your accomplishments throughout your eleven months. Bonus points if you can translate them into quantifiable successes!
There you have it, the discoveries from my time as a SolarCorps Fellow. Now, onto the next job– a marketing and outreach position that includes writing reflection pieces about a great, 11-month solar program!