Skip to main content

Alumni Success Story

Alumna’s Internships Lead to a Fellowship at the EPA

By Liisa Rajala

Portrait of Alli Gold, SPA/BA '10.

Alli Gold, SPA/BA '10.

While securing a good job right out of college can be difficult in a recession, Alli Gold, SPA/BA ‘10, used the skills and contacts she gained through previous internships to set herself apart from the competition.

Patricia Scott, her current supervisor at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was immediately impressed by Gold’s prior experience and demonstrated interest in conservation science.

“She’s the one I want!,” Ms. Scott recalls thinking after evaluating Gold’s application.

Further bolstering her appeal, Gold had previously interned at the EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW), and received a rave review from her then supervisor. That supervisor went on to recommend Gold to Scott.

In addition to her internships at the EPA, the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C., and with Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D) of Pennsylvania, Gold also used her time at AU to pursue her passion for the environment. Her senior capstone, which explored water technologies in Israel, combined her interests in conservation and the Middle East. When reviewing applications, Scott was impressed with a paper on rainwater harvesting that Gold authored while interning at the EPA and later presented at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Low Impact Development Conference. Gold also helped to create AU’s bike lending program, and served as a teaching assistant in the SPA Leadership Program for the environmental sustainability issue group.

Now working at the EPA’s OWOW office full-time, Gold is officially a fellow with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The institute advances science education and research programs by creating opportunities for collaboration through partnerships with federal agencies.

In her current position, Gold spearheads public education and outreach for EPA initiatives, and has grown conversant in a broad range of environmental concerns. For one project, she develops publications and social media campaigns on the importance of lake shoreline protection. Gold considers this communications work one of the most exciting parts of her job, and has taught herself how to produce podcasts, use the graphic design software program InDesign, and create webinars and webcasts.

Scott wholeheartedly stands by her decision to hire Gold. Indeed, her enthusiastic support seems to have grown.

“She’s an exceptional young woman,” says Scott, adding that Gold “accomplishes more in a day than most people do in a month.”

Gold advises students heading into the tough job market to “have a variety of internships for different things they’re interested in,” in order to develop their resumes and effectively market themselves for different career paths.

Taking her own advice, Gold has different resumes to fit her distinct professional interests. One is focused on her Israeli/Middle Eastern affairs experience and another highlights her work in environmental policy.

By ambitiously taking advantage of academic resources and internship opportunities while at AU, Gold has turned her interests into the beginnings of a promising career.