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Gage Watson Serving His Internship with Pellere Foundation

Hi! I’m Gage Watson. I am a third year student attending Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), located in Washington, Pennsylvania, with a double major in Psychology and Environmental Studies. I will graduate with my bachelor’s degree next spring. My collegiate extracurricular activities include the Student Christian Association, the Student Government Association, Green Club, the theater company, and a job as a campus tutor.

I am back home for the summer working part time as an employee of Emlenton IGA grocery store and, also, I am in my third week as the Project Intern for the Pellere Foundation, which you may know as the sponsor organization for River Roots Redevelopment! In this new role, I will be spending time in the office and in the field working with team members and engaging the community. Some of my tasks and projects include researching and writing grants, attending “Coffee Chats,” sitting in on informational and strategy meetings for existing grants, and helping to coordinate interagency projects such as the Department of Energy’s LEAP grant for energy resilience, among others. My goal with this internship is to know Venango County better, be part of a new chapter for energy resilience, and use the experience as a launchpad for my senior capstone and my postgraduate career.

I grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Northgate High School in June 2021 as the president of the student body. Later that summer my family moved from Pittsburgh to Emlenton and we have been living here for 3 years. Since I finished my last semester, I was searching for opportunities where I can dedicate my time and energy to learn more about sustainability in this region and how I can serve the community.

I have been an advocate for sustainability and clean energy my whole life and I wanted to direct my love for nature and local communities into my college journey and career path. I chose Washington and Jefferson College because of its diverse community, location, deep academics, and one of a kind travel opportunities such as The Magellan Program, where students can create their own project to complete anywhere in the world. Last summer, I traveled to Sweden to experience and learn about its sustainability practices and embrace its culture. I came back to campus with new-found knowledge and skills that serve me well in my classes and career.

I found out about this internship through meeting Rachel Brosnahan, River Roots Redevelopment’s Community Engagement Coordinator. I initially approached her to find time to volunteer for River Roots Redevelopment and assist in that organization’s efforts in brownfield redevelopment along with conservation goals. She then directed me to the Pellere Foundation where I met Selina Pedi-Smith and secured an internship. I soon realized that the position aligns with my values, skills, experiences, and my needs and I am very grateful to take advantage of an opportunity at a nonprofit that’s dedicated to Emlenton and many areas in Venango County. 

I am having a phenomenal experience working with the Pellere Foundation so far and I am eager to see what the rest of this summer brings!

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