Okan Okutgen, 2011, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

As I looked for summer internship opportunities last winter, all I knew was that I wanted to follow my passion for renewable energy. AltaTerra Research is an industry analyst and market research company with its main office south of San Francisco, near Stanford. Working there allowed me to look at renewable energy from a non-engineering point of view and learn about the wider field of ‘green business.’ On my first day my supervisor gave me an overview of all the current projects that AltaTerra is involved in so that I could I decide which one I would like to focus on. At that point I knew that I made the right internship choice, because I had the opportunity to work on what I actually care about. I chose a project on solar water heating. In my fifth week I attended InterSolar North America, a conference on photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies. I interviewed solar water heating companies and got a more immediate perspective on the market than I could get just by doing research. In the last two weeks of my internship I consolidated all my work in a draft contributing to a report to be published within the next few months. Throughout my internship I also got to experience the dynamic and intimate working atmosphere of a small Silicon Valley company. Going to lunch everyday with the entire office was definitely one the highlights of my experience. We not only bonded professionally but got to know each other’s life outside of work as well.