Meet Ethan, Fresh Energy’s Capitol Pathways Intern

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The Minnesota Capitol Pathways program works to make our government truly representative of our communities, connecting young leaders of color with established policy leaders. Fresh Energy has hosted interns every legislative session since the program’s inception five years ago.  

Ethan Culver knew early on that he wanted to work for the public good–he just wasn’t quite sure of the path he’d take. Until about age 10 he was set on being the President of the United States, but since then he’s set his sights on government and policy work. Ethan is currently a sophomore studying environmental policy and sociology with a policy analysis track at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. 

Ethan grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and chose the UofM for its notoriety as a research institution, its affordability, and for the “Minnesota nice” which Ethan says has rubbed off on him. “I’m a person now that holds doors open for people. Minnesota nice is really catchy.”  

Minnesota nice aside, Ethan is tackling a demanding academic and extracurricular schedule this year.  He plans to use his studies around social theory and sociology to influence environmental policy and through his experiences with the Capitol Pathways Internship and Fresh Energy he believes he’s found his niche. “Eventually I want to go back to school and get my PhD in science technology and environmental policy or something along those lines, and ultimately become a professor.” 

Ethan will be working with our government affairs director, Justin Fay, and policy and public affairs associate, Anna Johnson, through May. Prior to Fresh Energy’s move to a virtual office, Ethan was joining the government affairs team at the State Capitol and at lobbying meetings. Now he’s focusing on independent research for Fresh Energy on greenhouse gas emissions and electricity generation statewide, as well as exemplary clean energy policies in other states. His research will be vital to Fresh Energy’s advocacy and communications work going forward.  

Outside of his studies, Ethan serves on the board of the Honor Student Association as the Diversity Chair, planning events and grant writing. He also cochairs the student-led Honors Multicultural Network focused on professional and social development for multicultural students in the honors program. 

When not in class, at a committee meeting, working with Fresh Energy, or serving on student associations, Ethan uses his free time to bake. He’s most proud of his banana bread recipe which calls for a surprising secret ingredient – ask Ethan for tips!