KIP Student Feature – Isaac Killilea 

Isaac Killilea (Pardee ‘25) put their International Relations knowledge to work this summer in the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, interning with the Environmental Justice Department. In this feature, Isaac tells us more about his internship and the relationship between environmental and social justice.  

Q&A with Isaac Killilea 

Could you give us a brief description of the organization you are interning with and what your primary responsibilities are during this internship? 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is a state Cabinet level office that oversees 6 environmental, natural resource, and energy regulatory agencies. EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. I worked within the Environmental Justice sector under the Deputy Director of Environmental Justice for Inter-Agency Coordination at Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). My internship primarily focused on responding to public comment on the initial draft of environmental justice state policy, attending grassroots public comment meetings to connect all communities with policy change, and writing the environmental justice newsletter. 

How did your internship fulfill the goals of social justice? 

This internship was focused primarily around environmental justice, which is equitable treatment and involvement of all people in regards to development, the environment, or topics related to such. With this in mind, you can’t advocate for social justice if you don’t advocate for environmental justice. Whether it’s pollution or access to public green space, Boston and other Massachusetts communities have a long way to go before we can say we are environmentally just. The internship really focused on justice by promoting communication to make people’s lives better and more equitable in every possible way. Environmentalism is based around principles of sustainability, including the equity principle that is all about creating a world where systems are not only maintainable for the long-run but maintainable for everyone no matter who they are. One of the main examples of social justice that stuck with me from this experience was the growing importance of having multiple language translations of environmental justice policy available for varying communities so everyone can comment on policy changes up for question. 

Has the work you have done this summer changed how you think about social justice? 

Social justice to me was never a limited idea. It has always included the environment and how we connect to it, but after my experience with the EEA, I realized the importance social justice plays in people connecting with each other to attain environmental goals. This human connection was one of the biggest parts of the internship, as I did both in person and in virtual work with the public. This internship also highlighted how social justice impacts everyone, no matter who you are, especially in Massachusetts and when in relation to the environment. This push for equity in the field of energy and environmental issues opened me up to all the difficult conversations that need to happen to make spaces we call home stay maintained and not only that but make them flourish. 


Learn more about the Kilachand Internship Program here.