Social Impact Interns, Anna Kwon and Nicole Doering, Awarded Jane Matlaw Environmental Champion Awards!
MIT senior Anna Kwon and sophomore Nicole Doering have been recognized by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) for their work as interns last summer. Both students received Jane Matlaw Environmental Champion Awards, which honor leaders and innovators who have catalyzed changes that align with BIDMC’s sustainability goals and foster a healthier future for staff and patients.
The awards, which were established 25 years ago, had previously only been given to individuals and teams within BIDMC. “This year, given the significant leadership and alignment with our public commitments that Nicole and Anna had over the summer, our Sustainability Award Review Committee determined that we would include a student category of our awards for both a high school student and undergraduates as well,” says Avery Palardy, the climate and sustainability director at BIDMC.
Kwon and Doering worked at BIDMC through the Social Impact Internship Program, one of many experiential learning opportunities offered by MIT’s Priscilla King Gray Center for Public Service. The program provides funded internships to students interested in working with government agencies, nonprofits, and social ventures.
Both students conducted work that will help BIDMC meet two commitments to the Department of Health and Human Services Health Sector Climate Pledge: to develop a climate resilience plan for continuous operations by the end of 2023, and to conduct an inventory of its supply chain emissions by the end of 2024.
“It was fun — a new challenge for me,” says Kwon, who is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. “I have never done research in sustainability before. I was able to dive into the field of health care from a new angle, deepening my understanding of the complexities of environmental issues within health care.” Her internship involved performing data analysis related to carbon emissions. In addition, she developed actionable recommendations for conducting a comprehensive supply chain inventory.
“Anna demonstrated unwavering diligence and attention to detail throughout her work to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory of our supply chain,” says Palardy. “She showcased exceptional skills in market research as she investigated best practices and emerging technologies to ensure that we stay at the forefront of sustainable practices. Her keen insights and forward-thinking approach have equipped us with valuable information for shaping our path forward on our sustainability goals.”
Doering, a chemical engineering major, guided several departments in an internal assessment of best practices, vulnerabilities, and future directions to integrate climate resilience into the medical center’s operations. She has continued to work this fall to help finalize the climate resilience plan, and she has also been analyzing food procurement data to identify ways to reduce BIDMC’s Scope 3 emissions.
Climate resilience isn’t an area of sustainability that Doering had considered before, but the internship experience has inspired her to continue pursuing other sustainability roles in the future. “I’m so thankful for all I’ve learned from BIDMC, so I’m really glad that my work was helpful to them. It is an honor that they trusted me to work with them on something that will have such a wonderful impact on our community,” she says.
“The impact of Nicole’s contributions cannot be overstated,” notes Palardy. “From planning and organizing crucial focus groups to crafting our climate resilience plan, she played a pivotal role in shaping our climate resilience strategies for the better. I’m so grateful for the collaborative spirit, passion, and leadership that she brought to our team. She helped to drive innovation in health-care climate resilience that is necessary for us to ensure this continues to be a priority.”