Exploring the Climate Impacts of COVID Through the Carbon Reduction Challenge

Drawdown Georgia Blog

College students generally spend months each fall scouting, applying, and interviewing for summer opportunities that align with their interests at companies that will give them real-world experience. After searching online, revising resumes and cover letters, networking at career fairs and company events, taking competency tests, and preparing for interviews, students can finally relax when they sign their offer letter.

This past summer, I was lucky enough to work as a Quality Engineering Intern for the Ear, Nose, and Throat division at Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology. Although the program was originally supposed to be a 10-week program located in Jacksonville, Florida, I completed the entirety of the internship virtually from Columbus, Ohio due to the pandemic. This opportunity was actually my first experience in the industry so I was apprehensive when I learned the program would be remote, but was grateful to still have an experience for the summer.

I worked on two main projects over the course of the summer. Primarily, I spent my time analyzing customer complaint data to optimize end of line quality testing on capital systems. This project involved open-ended solutions, and I was impressed by the creative freedom given to me by my manager and by my team. Additionally, I completed trend and risk assessments for a new product line. This process was more structured and required reading through and following the company’s standard operating procedures.

Alongside my internship, I also competed in the Carbon Reduction Challenge (CRC) sponsored by the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, to quantify Medtronic’s carbon reductions and monetary savings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, many of the 774 employees at Medtronic’s Jacksonville location had already transitioned from working in the office to working at home, which led to a significant reduction in carbon emissions and monetary savings for employees. As a part of this challenge, I proposed a plan that further shifted employees from working onsite to working at home and quantified the impact of this shift.

Read the full story.