In December of 2016, my mom suggested I look into a Danish company leading the charge in green energy which my dad was making software for. The company, unfortunately titled, was DONG Energy, and after a very lucky chance, I arrived in Copenhagen on June 16th, ready to start as a summer intern.
Three months later, it is time for me to leave.
First, a little background on the company. DONG Energy is Denmark’s leading energy supplier, and is quickly developing the reputation of the worlds leaders in offshore wind farming. They manage offshore wind farms all over Denmark, the UK, and now two in Germany. And seriously, offshore wind farming is SO COOL. The company employs over 6,000 people and is wholeheartedly devoted to reducing emissions, leading in innovations, and providing an unmatched working environment.
SO, what was I doing there? I started under the ambiguous title of ‘external consultant’ but was added onto the GIS team within the IT department. One of my majors, physical geography, gave me a year of baseline GIS, Matlab, and Python experience. My second major, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, sparked my interest in green energy and environmental engineering. With my limited background but unlimited interest and enthusiasm, I was assigned tasks focused on applications involving wind farming and online capabilities.
I will not dive into the specifics of what my individual projects entailed, but I will say I had actually challenging and engaging work, and I never felt like a second-rate employee just because I was a college intern. I had endless support on my team. It was challenging at times, but it made the victories so much sweeter.Even the breakfast and lunch in the company cafeteria were bar none. How could I not fall in love?
I’ve had some moments of doubt this summer. I have felt like a phony and I did not deserve this opportunity. Now I see all I have learned and I feel like I have done this summer justice by soaking up all the lessons like a curious little sunshine sponge.
In the UK we acted as consultants for the IT department, making personal visits to two wind farms where they use the applications we develop for wind turbine performance, weather conditions, vessel tracking, bathymetry data, engine errors, and anything that could be useful to an engineer who has to decide how much energy their wind farm should be generating and if the conditions are safe for their maintenance workers. We paid a visit to the London office as well, where the GIS team there explained how they are maintaining data during the development of new wind-farms, and how difficult it can be to process it after it has passed through so many hands. There were so many good ideas exchanged during that week, and I cannot wait to see what comes of it.
Because offshore wind farming is a new industry and DONG Energy is leading the charge globally, there are endless possibilities for creativity and innovation. It is an exciting opportunity to distance ourselves from any emerging competitors. Being in such a new field, though, is also incredibly overwhelming. There is no one to follow for examples. Everything is developing so fast and innovation alone cannot sustain the exponential growth. This conflict in large part makes me so excited for this company, and to have the opportunity to be right here right now.
In Kuala Lumpur, our visit was for a completely different purpose. Half of the IT development team works in KL and many bosses (mine included) have to manage their teams from half way across the world. It’s important to touch base in person, and show the employees that they are valued, which is how I ended up getting a free ticket to Malaysia. I was able to see a huge diversity in working styles, and got a better understanding of just how challenging it is to make so many moving parts work together within a team. (If you want to read more, I have a couple of posts detailing just how life-changing of an experience it was)
Theres really no way to describe how much I have learned this summer. I know my time here has changed my lens on the world. I know there a million other ways to do things successfully than my way. I know I’m capable of moving to a foreign country and diving into a 9-5 job (more like 9-4 tbh) I know pickled herring is delicious and how much of a difference software versioning can make when uploading data *painful flashbacks* I know I had the coolest co workers in the world! (you guys know who you are)
A good part of my heart will be dedicated to Copenhagen, my job, and all the crazy experiences of this summer. After my last meeting with my bosses, I was lucky enough to hear that they want me back (WHAAAAAT) and I might have the opportunity to work at multiple offices, including London, Boston, and maybe even San Francisco. Although I am sad to be leaving, this is not a goodbye. This is more like a see ya later nerds!
I am endlessly thankful for this entire opportunity, and humbled to be asked back to this company after graduation. For a beautiful three months I have traveled the world, tasted adulthood, and worked for something I truly believe in. I am the luckiest girl in the world.
Jeg elsker dig Copenhagen!