My Summer Internship

by | Jul 28, 2021 | LTBLI news and updates | 1 comment

Written by guest author Annie Lee

Inclusive Sustainable Development and Storytelling through Interactive Mapping Tools

My name is Annie Lee, and I spent the summer of 2021 working as a Solar Intern for Let There Be Light International (LTBLI). As a rising Senior at Duke University, I’m pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and an East Asian Studies certificate. As a first generation college student, I am passionate about ways in which environmental policy can be implemented to ensure that marginalized communities are included in sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. I am deeply concerned about what voices are being ignored in the environmental policy and social science spheres today.

Energy and the Environment

As I was looking for a summer internship, I knew that I wanted to join an organization that focused on the intersection between energy and the environment, as well as other sectors including women’s health, education, and equitable energy access. I first heard of LTBLI through the Duke Energy Initiative, which connects qualified students with energy access projects and organizations. Let There Be Light International’s commitment to addressing energy poverty in low resource communities in sub-Saharan Africa immediately sparked my interest, and luckily I was offered the chance to work with this organization that is closely aligned to my areas of study.

Working with Sarah Baird (Executive Director of LTBLI) and Alissa Benchimol (a LTBLI Board Member), I created an interactive map to help tell the story of LTBLI’s impact over time and place. I learned how to use Mapbox, an online mapping and storytelling program, to develop a visual guide of programs for visitors to the LTBLI website. With support from Marena Brinkhurst (a Mapbox team member), I was able to create a map that narrates LTBLI’s mission and programming, contextualizing regions, communities, and clinics in Uganda, Malawi and Kenya. 

Over the past 8 weeks, I learned a great deal about energy poverty. I learned how to present information in a way that’s sensitive, clear and concise. Sarah, Alissa, and I often discussed how nuances such as map presentations, inclusion of topography, word choices, and coloring would impact the audience’s understanding and engagement with the issue of energy access and poverty.

I also honed many new skills – from data organization to infographic development, and I even attended an event at the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals. As someone who is deeply interested in the relationship between justice and environmental science/policy, I am grateful for all the opportunities I had through my summer with LTBLI and hope to continue to work with similar organizations that shine light on the lives and stories of vulnerable people. 

1 Comment

  1. Sarah M Baird

    The Let There Be Light International team is incredibly grateful for all of Annie’s hard work over Summer 2021.
    Good luck and Shine On!

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