My Summer Internship: Working with Purpose and Passion to Clean Our Air

By: Austin Pettey

Air Quality Modeling

It’s awesome when an incredible opportunity opens up, and it seems like all your hard work is beginning to pay off. I was recently selected as a summer intern with the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. I am a third year student at the University of Utah studying chemical engineering. While taking an Air Pollution Control course last semester, I realized that I was very interested in air quality. I studied hard, got a high grade in the class, and ended up with a recommendation from my professor to DAQ when they were looking for an intern. Soon after, I was selected to interview and was thrilled to learn I landed the job for the summer. What a great feeling!

Now, things got real! I was actually going to work for DAQ. But, what would it be like to work with them? From the outside, I had always wondered how DAQ operated. I imagined it was a bunch of people running around taking air samples from different locations throughout the state, then trying to interpret what the readings meant. Of course, the inner workings of the DAQ are much more sophisticated and organized than that.

In the division, there are teams of people known as sections. There is a section for collecting emission estimations, one for collecting air monitor data, another to analyze the data, and a team for planning air quality regulations based on all the data and analyses. All of those sections belong to a single branch of the DAQ known as the Planning Branch.

That’s not all, though. There is another branch to design emission permits for industries. Also, another branch ensures that the permits and policies are enforced. With each of these branches having their own individual sections within them, DAQ is much larger than I expected.

The Full article can be found on the Utah Department of Environmental Quality blog.

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