This is our second installment of Where Are They Now, a series of articles dedicated to the success and achievements of former EESI interns. As an organization dedicated to furthering win-win sustainable solutions, EESI recognizes that educating and preparing today’s future environmental leaders is essential to protecting our Earth.

What internship would you recommend to an aspiring graduate with a passion for policy and the environment? Kholla Ahmad credits her internship at EESI for directing her career path towards research and the sharpening of her communication skills. Since her time at EESI, Ahmad has been furthering her environmental policy work and honing her research skills at various organizations including ICF International, where she currently works as a research assistant.

Ahmad’s interest in policy started long before college, beginning with the environment in which she grew up—Washington DC. She took this interest with her when she attended University of Maryland-College Park. “When I was in college, I knew that I wanted to study something that would help me make a difference,” explained Ahmad. Combining her interests with her love of nature, she earned a degree in environmental science and policy. After completing her degree, Ahmad knew she wanted to work for a nonprofit. She heard about EESI, and was drawn to our organization for its active work on the Hill. She landed a development internship at EESI in summer 2011.

As a development intern, Ahmad assessed funding sources and worked with EESI’s Director of Development on securing support for EESI’s mission and programs. Ahmad most enjoyed her hands-on experience “researching different foundations for possible grant opportunities and then working on compiling the information necessary for submitting a grant proposal.” She attributes her work at EESI with helping her learn how “to build a foundation of communication, which is extremely helpful with larger organizations.”

Kholla's experience at EESI helped her land a position as an environmental health policy intern at the American Lung Association. During her yearlong internship there, she worked primarily on their State of the Air report, gaining more technical writing and research experience. “To some degree all of my positions have required for me to be adept at research. Whether this meant that I was required to attend conferences, sit in on meetings, or coordinate field activity research, it has been the one constant in determining my career path,” explained Ahmad.

Her research work with the American Lung Association inspired her to continue on as a research assistant with ICF International. ICF International is a consulting firm that advises and assists clients with policy analysis, strategy, project evaluation and management. At ICF, Ahmad’s research work spans several projects at a time, ranging from the IRS, to state-level departments of health, to the environment. She attributes the variety of research topics at ICF for the engaging and rewarding nature of her work there.

From development to research, Ahmad has continued to pursue rewarding work in her areas of interest. She encourages anyone willing to listen and learn to pursue an internship so as to jumpstart their career and discover their interests. Of her experience as an EESI development intern, Kholla told us, “I would recommend this internship to anyone who has a passion for policy and/or the environment and wants an opportunity to have some great hands-on experience with an awesome group of people.”

EESI is currently looking for 2015 summer interns, learn more here!


Author: Angeline Foshay