I started my morning by walking from my dorm up to Nassau Street, since APPRISE is located just across the street from Princeton’s campus. As soon as I reached the office I was greeted by Deena, one of the Policy Analysts at APPRISE, who called over her coworkers Zach and Dan and introduced them. As the four of us had a nice breakfast of bagels, they gave me a quick overview of what I would be doing throughout my day at the office. Once Deena brought me around the office so I could meet the other employees, I settled in to shadow Dan for a while.
Dan is a Senior Policy Analyst who is working mostly on the National Retrospective Evaluation of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP provides weatherization services to low-income households, including sealing cracks that let in too much outside air. Dan’s overall goal is to estimate the amount of energy saved by the program, and he does a lot of work with statistics and data analysis. After he explained his work and answered my questions, I moved on to shadowing the other Senior Policy Analyst, Daya. She is working on a related project called the Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program (WIPP). This project aims to develop innovative energy savings approaches.
The final person I shadowed in the morning was Leah, another Policy Analyst, who was working on a survey task. APPRISE implements many surveys to collect data to assess program effectiveness. Leah had recently sent out a survey, and when I went to shadow her, she was fielding questions and answering emails from the survey recipients. She still took the time to answer my questions and explain her work, and then it was time for lunch. We had a fantastic meal at Winberie’s with Nick and Matthew, a Policy Analyst and an intern.
After lunch, I shadowed Nick, who is working on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program provides aid to low-income families for use on their heating and air conditioning bills. Nick is in contact with representatives from all fifty states, as well as some territories, to aggregate and analyze data about their LIHEAP results from past years. After talking to Nick for a while, I moved on to shadow Kathi, who is a Research Director, and she is in charge of various surveys. I was able to listen in on a conference call between her, a Research Assistant, and someone from a phone survey company. I spent the end of the afternoon at APPRISE shadowing Deena, who had shown me around the office when I first arrived and who also works with surveys. There was a small sendoff celebration for Zach because it was his last day at APPRISE, and then Deena and Daya reviewed the day with me and answered any final questions I had.
All told, it seems that most people in the office work primarily with either data analysis or surveys. However, all the people I shadowed work on very different tasks for different clients of APPRISE. They are all quite capable of working independently and take care of their own business. Still, the separate projects do not inhibit a nice office atmosphere; the small size of the organization makes it easy for everyone to know one another well and hold friendly conversations. Everybody was very open to answering my questions and showing me what a day at APPRISE is like.
I found it incredibly valuable to see how data analysis is useful in a variety of energy-related research. I could see myself pursuing almost any of the projects that I got to observe, so the Princeternship definitely helped me establish one kind of work that I would be interested in doing after college. My sincere thanks go out to Dr. Jacqueline Berger *96 and Mr. Carroll, the President and Managing Director, and to all the APPRISE employees for welcoming me into their office. Thank you also to Career Services for setting up the opportunity for me to explore the field for a day.