Toxic Reduction and Safer Alternatives

The Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience internship
The Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience
internship program connects talented engineering, chemistry, sustainability and environmental science students with Oregon businesses for pollution prevention research projects. Projects focus on reducing toxic chemicals, energy, water use and waste, jointly benefitting the businesses’ bottom lines and Oregon’s natural resources.
Oregon businesses host interns for 10 weeks during the summer. Interns receive a stipend and travel support, and are paired with a technical advisor and an academic mentor who provides additional support and resources.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Sea Grant partner to administer the program, creating the following benefits:
  • Allow businesses to find solutions to sustainability-related challenges they may not otherwise develop or implement.
  • Help businesses improve processes and materials using pollution prevention techniques and principles.
  • Provide students with practical experience applying sustainability principles through hands-on internships. Participation in the program will allow students to strengthen their networks, build their resumes and improve their potential job opportunities.

2017 Results

Interns worked with host businesses: the Craft Brew Alliance, EcNow Tech, Hummingbird Wholesale, Lamb Weston, and West Linn Paper. After receiving training, interns worked onsite at the host company to gain a deep understanding of that host’s unique processes and challenges.
Oregon’s first cohort of interns achieved impressive results. If host businesses implemented the interns’ recommendations, they could annually:
  • Save nearly $900,000
  • Reduce water use by 60 million gallons
    Decrease solid or hazardous materials by 8.5 tons
Last year’s host businesses fully endorse the intern program
“Our intern experience was very helpful. Our intern was responsible and reliable, and helped focus our team on important improvements to our processes. The program administration process was efficient and effective, too.” —Penny Machinski, West Linn Paper Company
“Hosting an intern was immensely valuable for Craft Brew Alliance, resulting in tools that are helping us save resources, and projects that have been installed!"Julia Person, Craft Brew Alliance

2018 Internship: June 25-Aug 31

The Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience interns 

2018 cohort, pictured left to right:
Sharlee Hughes, Portland State University-New Seasons Market; Ashley Baker, University of Oregon-Northwest Green Chemistry; Maya Vigil, University of Oregon-NOSSA Familia Coffee and Oregon Coffee Board’ Jensen Perrick, Portland State University-Columbia Sportswear; Jake Price, Oregon State University-Boeing; Emily Hodges, Oregon State University-Craft Brew Alliance; Anika Sarkar, Oregon State University-Knife River Concrete.



The Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience internship program was funded by a 2016-18 EPA Pollution Prevention Grant to place 12 interns with businesses. Future program development is dependent on identifying and obtaining funding. Please contact program coordinators for funding opportunities.

Call for Applicants


The Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience wants you as a paid intern to conduct pollution prevention research at a local business. Visit Oregon Sea Grant’s webpage to learn more.


The Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience internship program wants you to host a 10-week, free intern to conduct pollution prevention research at your business.
Your business may be able to address waste reduction and energy efficiency projects sooner and faster with the help of an intern. An intern can make suggestions that improve efficiency, save money, reduce waste, or decrease regulatory requirements.
The application deadline has passed. We anticipate advertising the next opportunity in winter 2019.  Contact Lisa Cox to receive an email update for future opportunities.

What is pollution prevention?

Pollution prevention is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source, also known as "source reduction." Implementing best practices can improve efficiency, prevent wasted resources and save money.