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Meet Silverado Policy Accelerator's Interns: Zoe Stilphen

08/10/2022 | Silverado Policy Accelerator

This summer, Silverado has had the pleasure of welcoming three wonderful interns to its team. As the summer draws to a close, we asked each of our interns to reflect on their time with Silverado and share some thoughts on pursuing a career in public policy and national security.

Last week, we spoke with Jimmy Galvin, who shared his experiences working as a policy intern. This week, we sat down with Zoe Stilphen, another policy intern, who returned to Silverado this summer after joining our team for the first time last summer.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm originally from Topsham, Maine, and I’m currently going into my second semester of senior year at Bowdoin College, where I am a sociology major, a digital and computational studies minor, and a leader of the Criminal Justice Reform Club. I played softball during the 2021 season — a very brief career, but very fun. I'm really excited about public policy, and I'm taking two courses that are related to policy at Bowdoin this fall, so I'm very excited for that.

Which of Silverado’s three pillars — cybersecurity, trade and industrial security, and Eco²Sec — appealed to you the most?

I would say probably the environmental pillar, or Eco²Sec. I was really intrigued by that idea when I first joined Silverado, because I'd never really thought about the intersection of economic and ecological security, so I was really intrigued to learn more about it. I was super excited to be able to explore that interest when I got to Silverado and actually started working directly in that pillar, and it’s been really exciting to see the work that I was hoping to do come to fruition.

What's been a project that you’ve worked on at Silverado that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

Last summer, I was working on a project with [Silverado’s Junior Economist and Policy Analyst] Meagan Reid to do a literature review and data analysis of the environmental impacts of high-tech industries, which was really a valuable experience. I didn't know anything about semiconductors before coming to Silverado, so I was really excited to jump in on that, and I learned so much during the process.

This summer, I'm really enjoying the project that I'm doing on NOx regulations on an international scale and comparing the United States’ emissions regulations with those of the other countries that we trade with.

What’s something you've learned about working in public policy from your time at Silverado?

Data is scarce — I would say that's the biggest thing I've learned. It's been very interesting, and sometimes frustrating, to go through and see what goes on behind the scenes of policymaking and to see the difficulties of providing a persuasive argument to get policies passed, because there's such a lack of quantitative data that's available for pushing those different policies forward.

What sort of career path are you considering, and has Silverado influenced your thinking about your future career at all?

As of right now, I'm hoping to go to graduate school for sociology, and I'd also love to go to business school. I think those two things would be useful for understanding the more humanistic side of policy and the impacts that policy has on real people. With that in mind, I think it's been really useful to have this opportunity at Silverado to see how the interaction between the environment and the economy factors into policy discussions. I'm really excited to see that work through and hopefully do something related to policy or public service after my time at Bowdoin.

Is there a book that you’ve read recently that you particularly enjoyed?

I was actually just reading “Where the Crawdads Sing,” by Delia Owens, and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't something that I would normally pick up off the shelf to read, but I'd heard great things, and I was really intrigued by the prose. And then to find out the story behind the author as well was fascinating. So I'd say that was definitely my favorite book of the summer.

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