EmpowHER Alumnae Spotlight: Jess McDonald

BA Women's Alliance


December 1, 2017

Jessica McDonald was a Graduate Public Service Scholar in the summer of 2016, when she interned at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Office of International Affairs.

Where are you from?
Doylestown, PA

Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I attended Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where I obtained a Masters in Environmental Management with a focus on Energy and the Environment. Prior to graduate school, I received a bachelors degree in environmental studies from the University of Pittsburgh. I studied international energy policy, sustainability and climate science.

What was the best part of your internship?
There were several incredible components of my internship, but one of the best parts was working alongside a dynamic group of smart and dedicated individuals passionate about deploying clean energy technologies. During my internship, I also enjoyed the opportunity to support the coordination of an international initiative providing clean energy policy advisory support to policymakers around the globe. Another great part of my internship was the opportunity to continue my work as a full-time hire at the end of the summer.

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
My advice would be to ask for additional responsibilities, ask to attend meetings and conference calls with your colleagues, and ask for feedback during and after your internship.  

What are you doing now?
I’m a manager with the Edison Electric Institute and their international programs. In this role I’m working with international electric companies creating more resilient, reliable, and sustainable electric grids around the world.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
That’s a long ways away! I hope that in 10 years I’m a leader in my field, continuing to have a positive impact to create a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
I read continuously so it’s difficult for me to choose only one favorite. One of my favorite books that I’ve recently read is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Another book that I would recommend is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Tell us a fun fact!
I’m a huge foodie and my favorite restaurant in D.C. right now is Keren Restaurant and Coffee Shop, which serves Eritrean/Ethiopian food.

BA Women's Alliance

The BA Women’s Alliance is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization which supports the educational, personal, and professional development of women who seek to make a difference in the world.

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