Experiences don’t always come from the classroom
Doing an internship working for a solar non-profit right in his first year, Caleb Nghe ’20 soon discovered a career interest in renewable energy and sustainability. He nurtured his passion by becoming the Treasurer and Co-president of the Green Team with an ardent desire to contribute to the community.
What made you choose Beloit?
Going from a school with 100 kids (a small private international school in China) to 1,000 (a public school in Colorado, USA), I knew I wanted to go to a smaller college. With my interest in learning diverse subjects, I applied to several liberal arts colleges across the US. Among all my applied schools, Beloit offers an environment to explore my various interests while providing generous financial support to help me achieve my goals.
What do you remember most about your first year?
I remember all the opportunities available for me to get involved. I joined Clubs and Organizations Oversight (COO) as part of the Beloit Student Government committee while volunteering off-campus at a local food pantry and local food bank. My involvement with the COO started from my desire to make a difference on the campus. Although it primarily focused on designating funding for clubs, I felt COO could act as a forum for encouraging cross-organization interaction. I also received the Field Experience Grant, which allowed me to participate in a summer internship working for a solar non-profit and explore my interests in renewable energy.
What advice would you give to first-year students?
Because Beloit is such a small college, students are allowed to contribute to the community as much as they can. So for first-year students, you should not rely solely on a few resources to supply your experiences. Participate in all the events. Build your connection since a lot of connections lead to lots of opportunities that you will never know. Just remember that experience does not always have to be from the classroom.
How did your time/education at Beloit help support your personal and professional goals?
Through the Duffy Partnerships program, I landed an internship working as an Assessment and Planning Analyst to represent Beloit College in the higher education marketplace. The internship has introduced and sparked my interest in generating analysis and creating visualizations with given data. I was also elected as the Treasurer and Co-president of the Green Team, a student-run sustainability club on campus. I have always been interested in environmental issues, so the opportunity to join Green Team and later on Outdoor Environmental Center (OEC) did not only provide me the chance to pursue my personal interest, but it also helped me gain leadership skills and expand my network connection. With time exploring and working on community development, I connected with Professor Pablo Toral while working with OEC. At that time, he encouraged me to take his Environmental Policy course. During this course, I had the chance to collaborate with 12 other people on a consulting report for the Friends of the Boundary Waters program presented in Minnesota.
What are some of your involvements at Beloit that, in your opinion, have helped you shape the person you are today?
The experience that helped me grow a lot was when I served as the COO Director after working my way up through the executive positions in different clubs, namely Beloit Ultimate Frisbee Family (BUFF), Outdoor Environmental Center (OEC), and Green Team. Besides gaining invaluable leadership skills, I learned to improve my soft skills, especially teamwork. Because to run a club, it is really crucial to understand and know how to function with other people. I also had a chance to work as a Brand Marketing Intern at Kerry Foodservice. During my internship, I conducted research, wrote reports, and presented my analyses to improve internal and external marketing. I applied the skills I learned in my courses while supplementing my knowledge with real-world experience.
What Beloit resource did you find most valuable?
I really appreciate Beloit’s alumni network which helped connect me through various opportunities. In my senior year, through a Beloit alumnus, I took a semester off to intern at a consulting firm in Chicago that assists non-profits and colleges with their funding campaigns leading them to substantial and sustainable growth. The Seminar Capstone course with Professor Diep Phan was also instrumental in my career pathway. It has well-equipped me with technical skills since I had the chance to learn how to code in the R programming language.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am looking for an analyst role in the renewable energy field, given my experiences with sustainability at Beloit. I would also love to work at firms that give back and deliver value to the community. Whatever it is, I believe I can always leverage what I learned at Beloit and succeed in the field I choose.