KIP Student Feature – Alina Keshodkar 

During the summer of 2023, Alina Keshodkar (CAS’26, Political Science & Economics) participated in an internship at the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute, conducting research on the economic impacts of incarceration to its local communities. Keep reading to learn more about Alina’s summer and how this work helps inform social justice reform.  

Q&A with Alina Keshodkar 

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

My internship at the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute (LVJI) involved conducting research on the impact of incarceration on local GDP beyond the allocated budget for the facility and maintenance and investigating the socioeconomic costs of the criminal justice system to its surrounding community. LVJI is an organization in my local area in Pennsylvania that works on collecting information pertaining to policy issues in our community to help inform the public and work toward social justice reform. Their approach to resolving inequality and promoting equity is centered around data analysis to identify specific issues and craft viable solutions based on their findings. 

How did your internship fulfill the goals of social justice? 

My position as an undergraduate researcher this summer entailed data collection for their economic impact project, and I believe that my internship with this organization fulfills the goals of social justice because of the Institute’s focus on reforming the criminal justice system and other related social issues. The high incarceration rates in the United States and the strained practices surrounding criminal justice are why the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute was formed. My main objective in my internship was to contribute to their mission of social justice through data-driven initiatives geared toward promoting transparency and implementing equitable practices. 

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

Yes, since I wasn’t very familiar with this research approach to social justice work before participating in this internship. I think investing in research to gather more in-depth information about different policy areas and the effects of policies currently in place should be more common across the country. I wasn’t aware of LVJI until I saw a report they published pertaining to mental health during the pandemic at my old high school, and I think organizations such as this should receive more publicity for the important work they do. 

How did you find out about this internship, and what advice would you give to students hoping to apply for this funding opportunity in the future? 

I was hoping to find a summer internship close to home and came upon LVJI. I was really interested in their approach and during my interview with them, I found out about their newest economic impact project, which felt perfect for what I am interested in pursuing. I recommend that other students look for internships early on, towards the end of the fall semester. This allowed me to plan ahead, since I found an internship I was really interested in and was able to apply for the funding from KIP in time. 

How has the Kilachand coursework helped prepare you for the work you are doing during your internship? 

The Studio classes I took over my freshman year helped me with my writing and research skills, which were extremely important to the work I was doing for LVJI. Many of the topics we discussed in Studio were related to the research I was doing as well. 


Learn more about the Kilachand Internship Program here.