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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

“Intern Spotlight” is a series about former CEC interns, detailing their experiences at the organization and finding out what they are up to now. Over the years, hundreds of interns have helped CEC with its environmental programs while gaining useful skills and connections pertinent to their future careers. 

Marjan Riazi works as the New Student Requirement Coordinator for the UC Santa Barbara Alcohol & Drug Program. Marjan completed a 9-month internship at CEC following graduation from UCSB with a major in Environmental Studies.

Tell us about your internship:

My internship focused on online marketing, writing, and Earth Day related projects. I wrote web articles and contributed to social media posts about relevant environmental news and community members engaged in sustainable practices. I contributed to the CEC “Powered for Good” blog, coordinated photo shoots, and assisted with talking points and press releases. I also assisted with the implementation of the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival marketing strategy and related marketing campaigns. All of this allowed me to expand my foundational social media skills, and I enjoyed having a broader scope of work than most interns working for local non-profit organizations.

How would you describe your experience as an intern, behind the scenes of the Earth Day Festival:

Being a part of the online marketing media team at the Earth Day Festival was an unforgettable experience. There are so many moving parts behind the scenes, during the production process leading up to the festival. As an intern, it’s a unique opportunity to learn and grow as a young professional, and develop fundamental project management skills, including managing multiple relationships with our Earth Day partners and sponsors.

I assisted in the development and implementation of our marketing and media campaign strategy. I coordinated the Earth Day Network’s Faces of Climate campaign throughout the course of the festival weekend, which gave me an opportunity to work and collaborate with environmental heroes like Bill Nye, as well as other influential community members.

We asked Bill Nye what issues concern him the most about the environment. His response: “Raise the standard of living for women through education and reduce the human population. Provide energy and clean water for everyone by engineering. Control the climate of the whole world by working together.” Working as an Earth Day intern for the CEC was truly a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

You stay involved with the CEC and volunteered again this year at the Earth Day Festival. Tell us about that:

The people I met and the genuine connections I made working as an intern at the CEC bring me back as a volunteer. To this day I am in touch with Earth Day production partners, as well as the CEC staff. I attended this year’s All Hands meetings for Earth Day, and helped out with events leading up to the festival weekend, like Green Drinks and the Opening Night reception.

Tell us about the value you see in being mentored, as an intern at CEC:

The mentorship component of my internship was enormous. The staff at CEC make a serious commitment to answer questions, and offer guidance, advice and support. I still seek regular professional guidance from CEC Assistant Director Sigrid Wright and Online Marketing Coordinator Brina Carey. As mentors, they provide a positive space for interns to grow and develop professionally, and it was a unique privilege to have such strong, successful female influences working in the environmental space.

In addition to mentorship, I built relationships and developed close friendships with highly influential community members, which has opened the door to an entirely new world of professional networking, development, and career opportunities.

What transferrable skills did you gain at the CEC?

I’m currently working as the New Student Requirement Coordinator for the UCSB Alcohol & Drug Program. The scope of my work is primarily research and communication-based. My internship at the CEC helped me develop essential professional and effective communication skills. I gained the ability to work collaboratively as well as independently, both of which have huge applications in my work now. I work with upwards of ten different departments here at UCSB, all at the same time.

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