Po-Yu Yuen, a research analyst at Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC, talks about her experience at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.
What was your area of study at Northeastern?
My academic work focused on renewable energy policy, sustainable planning, and community outreach.
Why did you choose to study at the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs (SPPUA)?
The diversity the program offers. The MURP program exposes students to a broad range of urban issues: transportation, environment and energy, economic development, housing, etc. It provides a great degree of flexibility that allows students to develop a program that caters to their academic and professional goals.
Also, the co-op opportunities; I have had co-ops in the past when I was an undergrad, but my co-op experience at Northeastern was different. First, the faculties at Northeastern, with their great network and experience in various fields, are extremely helpful and generous in helping students find the right position. Second, Northeastern’s programs focus on practical experience and provide students with applicable knowledge and skills. I often found myself applying what I just learned in class to my co-op.
For your particular career, and perhaps current job, which courses provided you with the most applicable skills?
There isn’t a specific course. I learned many valuable skills in many courses.
Which skills that you gained in the program are most useful / relevant in your job?
Analytical thinking –being able to apply both quantitative and qualitative techniques effectively to support strategy development and policy decisions is critical to my current job.
Where did you intern while enrolled in the program? What did you do and learn while there?
I interned at Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). It’s a regional planning council based in Boston. They served the 101 cities and towns in the Greater Boston region.
I helped develop and provide guidance in the implementation of Local Energy Action Plans to help municipal governments, including Medford, Medway, Stoughton, and the four towns served by the Reading Municipal Light Department, adopt cost-effective strategies, policies, and technologies that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission in the municipal, residential, and commercial sectors. I also assisted in the development of a Clean Energy Strategy Toolkit that provides guidance for communities on planning and implementing innovative energy consumption reduction and greenhouse gas emission reduction actions.
How did you find this position?
I found the position online, but Professor Pollack was really involved in MAPC’s work, and that has helped shape my experience at MAPC.
Did this internship impact or guide the rest of your studies and your job prospects?
This internship really shaped my career goal. I learned that I enjoy doing work that uses an interdisciplinary approach, one thing that both MAPC and my current job value. Further, while I have always been interested in policy development, I learned from this internship that my ideal job would be one that allows me to be involved in a broad range of work and engage with different people. I have always worked in the energy area, but I learned that I want to be involved in all aspects of this field: energy market, finance, policy… everything!
What you do in your current position?
My company is a consulting advisory firm focused on renewable energy development in the New England market. My work focuses on renewable energy policy research and analysis in support of our company’s comprehensive tracking service for all regional renewable energy activity. My work also includes research, analysis, and quantitative modeling of renewable energy legislation, regulation, and project development activities in the northeast.