Carnegie Mellon University

Bradley in UN Garden

December 01, 2022

Frederick’s UN Internship Focused on Preservation, Sustainability

Master's student Bradley Frederick hails from outside of Chicago, but he spent his first summer living in a big city during 2022, when he interned in New York City with the United Nations. Frederick focused on planning, design, and construction in the U.N.’s Manhattan campus, which spans six city blocks.

A master’s degree student at CEE, Frederick had two main projects during the internship. One involved assessing how well the U.N. campus was achieving sustainability goals. With only two landscapers on staff, the U.N. was looking to find a way to decrease the amount and impact of land management across the vast campus. The solution needed to meet green goals while integrating with the polished landscaping of the nationally-recognized property.

Frederick and his coworkers researched opportunities and landed on a solution. “We planned a cloverleaf lawn that will be planted in April 2023. It will handle stormwater runoff and require no mowing or watering. The lawn will also promote biodiversity and help to support the 200 species of bees that call New York City home,” he adds. While he won’t be onsite to see the planting, his internship supervisor will keep him updated on the project’s progress.

japanese-peace-bell.pngFrederick’s main internship responsibility was maintaining and planning restorations for all of the artwork located across the U.N. campus—both inside of buildings and outdoors. The U.N.’s 300+ pieces include works by famous artists as well as historical artifacts such as moon rocks. Frederick worked on a team that assessed the locations holding artwork, deciding whether the artwork needed to be moved to preserve it. He looked into issues such as sunlight exposure, moisture, and temperature in sites across the campus.

“There was an art historian on the team who’d determine if a piece needed to be moved or needed restoration or maintenance. I would then find areas where the piece could be displayed [without impacting the piece’s integrity].”

While working with artwork may seem unusual for an engineering student, Frederick says that the skills he gained at CEE were beneficial to the U.N. team. “I brought in something different than the artists had. I understood the science and impacts of temperature, humidity, and air pollutants.” He mentions that unlike most U.N. internships that are focused on the Secretariat, his work took him all over the massive campus.

His CEE coursework in coding was also especially helpful—the experience helped him  as he organized and conquered a massive database of information that cataloged floor plans, artwork, and environments.

Frederick states that his summer in the city helped him to see new opportunities for not only careers, but places to live. “I highly recommend doing a summer internship. It was a really great experience.” While his post-graduation plans remain uncertain, he’s currently pursuing opportunities available within the federal government and large nonprofits—including some in New York City.