This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Mark Wasuwanich, COL ’21
I had been given an incredible opportunity to work in the Food Waste industry through the Career Services Summer Funding Grant.
I would like to note that the effects of Covid had been especially tough on my family business. Due to the uncertain time, I was initially reluctant to take an unpaid internship and instead take up a paid job. It was because of this funding I could explore the sustainability field.
Through my internship at OLIO (a mobile food waste application) I was able to contact and create communities where Food Waste would stop becoming a norm. In a fast paced environment, I learned quickly how to brush up on skills like organization, time management, leadership, and communication. A few of my tasks include talking to local business owners to sign up to the app to develop my sales skills. With the help of my supervisor, I talked to the owners and convinced a few of them to use OLIO despite many setbacks. I reached out to food banks and ordinary consumers to also use OLIO and reduce their own food waste. This took a lot of initiative that I’ve built through continuously cold emailing and calling managers. I’ve done the difficult task of customer service among OLIO users crafting responses to complaints and giving feedback to my supervisors. I also help made changes to the OLIO app for better user experience based on some of the feedback I’ve received. Those were just a few of the tasks I committed to working on. Daily, I have been assigned work by all roles in the startup and through this, I learned how the entire business dynamics work. It’s thanks to OLIO, I can say without a doubt, I learned so much in such a short time. I hope to bring my knowledge back to campus in the fall and help make Penn a zero waste community. And just as much I’d like to take my skills to learn better academically and lead outside the classroom.
I believe this experience has helped convince me to pursue a career in sustainability. I can only hope I can apply for this funding again to explore the field even further in depth.