Denver Water hosts interns from four countries, three continents
Denver Water’s summer intern program returned with gusto in 2022 following a pandemic-spurred two-year hiatus, attracting college students and recent graduates from around the globe.
Each year, Denver Water's summer internship program provides an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to spend three months working in an area relevant to their studies.
Though interns each have an individual project or focus area, the program takes a collaborative approach. Participants are grouped by subject area and placed with mentors knowledgeable in their field.
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At the end of summer, each intern presents their project, findings and lessons learned in a graduation ceremony.
"Our program is really an excellent way for students to gain real-life experience, while also helping to expose them to different professions,” said Veronica Hernandez, Denver Water talent manager.
“I love seeing the passion these students bring to us for the summer. We hope this internship helps them turn that passion into a career in the water industry."
This year’s end of summer graduation presentations capped off the program’s most diverse year yet.
The program drew students from four U.S. states — Colorado, South Dakota, Michigan and Georgia. And students also came from four countries on three continents, the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands and Rwanda.
The 2022 program boasted participants from all levels of higher education, with interns from bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs.
“The breadth of experiences shared by this year’s intern class really speaks to Denver Water’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Hernandez said.
“This collaborative program ultimately helps us work toward our vision to sustain vibrant communities that value water for future generations, both in Colorado and abroad. This year we made an effort to extend our recruitment efforts not just across the country, but around the globe. And the results really enhanced our interns’ experiences.”
Intern Maanav Jhatakia, a master’s candidate at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands agreed.
“I really enjoyed working with the other interns, learning from their successes, and sharing in their growth and breadth of experience,” Jhatakia said
University of Colorado Colorado Springs student Charlie Penvari believes the connections he made are a key benefit of the program.
“For me, the scale of Denver Water’s operations helped me hone my collaborative skills,” Penvari explained.
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“I worked for a much smaller water utility in the past, and though it was beneficial for its own reasons, the scale of Denver Water’s projects improved my mental agility. It was a challenge I welcomed, and I am better for it.”
Holly Roth, a University of Colorado Boulder doctoral candidate, found that working with the other interns helped cement her classroom learning.
Roth explored hydro-climactic trends on the Upper Colorado River Basin, calculating how climate change will affect snowpack, the runoff and water supply forecasts.
“One of the most valuable parts of my internship was taking what I learned in the classroom out into the real world,” she said.
In addition to seeing how his classroom experience connects with the real world, Joseph Pitti, an environmental planning intern from University of Michigan, said he also felt more empowered.
Pitti worked to expand fishing opportunities at Denver Water’s Williams Fork Reservoir in Grand County and was able to see firsthand the connection between his project and the long-lasting effects of his work.
“Though I focused on just one small part of Denver Water, it is really cool to think about how my work will end up impacting Coloradans for generations to come.”
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Pitti believes the lessons he learned in the program will continue to have a positive impact on him and on the local community.
“I hope to come back to Williams Fork one day, see people using the fishing dock that I worked on, and say ‘I helped do that.’ If one summer of my work helps make a few lives better, my career can do even more.”