Giving Back Abroad: Ilana Cohen '22

Ilana Cohen
Ilana Cohen

Throughout this summer, we will be spotlighting the summer experiences of our IOP students working in politics and public service through their internships across the country and globe.

The Director’s Internship program has been a signature of the Institute of Politics for nearly 25 years and each summer the IOP works with more than 150 government offices, non-profits, and news organizations to provide internships for students who are looking to pursue careers in politics and public service. The IOP also offers summer stipends for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors accepting non- or low-paying summer internships in local, state, or federal government, public interest groups, non-governmental organizations, political organizations, and political campaigns.

This summer, as in years past, many of those students will be spending their summer giving back abroad - gaining experience working with governments and organizations across the globe.

Ilana Cohen '22 is spending her summer in London working at the UK Parliament with the Office of Seema Malhotra MP.

What inspired you to choose this public service internship?

I have long been fascinated by British politics and was eager to engage with a system of government that operates very differently to that of the U.S., particularly as I had the chance to do so this summer in a unique political climate against the background of Brexit and the UK's recent adoption of a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, both of which will have significant effects on the way that UK residents' daily lives.

What issues have you been focusing on in your internship?

I have been focusing primarily on climate and constituency-related policy issues, including increasing financial incentives for electric vehicle uptake in polluted areas, bolstering Government support for microgeneration, and supporting institutional divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

What are you most excited about working in public service and government?

I am most excited by the unique capacity of public service and government positions to foster engagement in national and even international political dialogue that also has a direct impact on local constituents' daily lives. Knowing that the policy research and writing I support aims to drive legislative change that is meaningful for the average individual -- and in the case of my work this summer, particularly for low-income individuals who lack equal access to social, political, and economic resources -- is incredibly rewarding.

What have you learned from/gotten out of your internship experience this summer?

I have gained invaluable insights in the UK policymaking process, parliamentary procedure, and British politics, in addition to honing my skills in policy research and writing, speech-writing, and event coordination.