Meet Equitas Project Summer 2018 Undergraduate Intern Zena Jahmi

Did you know? The Equitas Project offers internships year-round. These internships offer in-depth experience in the mental health and criminal justice advocacy arena. This summer at Equitas, we have two undergraduate interns and one master’s practicum student working with us.  Learn more about undergraduate intern Zena Jamhi below. 

Zena Jahmi, Undergraduate Student, University of Colorado, Boulder

Concentrations: International Affairs; Minors in Ethnic Studies, Spanish


1. What do you love most about Colorado?

My favorite thing about Colorado is the ubiquitous beautiful landscapes. Not only do we have 300 days of sunshine, but we also have the gorgeous Rocky Mountains in sight all the time.

2. Why did you choose to major in international affairs?  

I chose international affairs as my major because I have always wanted to work in international aid. With this major I am able to study topics I love while also building up a great foundation for working with an intergovernmental organization (IGO) or a non-governmental organization (NGO) in the future.

3. What interested you about interning with Equitas? 

I was interested in working with Equitas because I have always taken great interest in the sociology and demography of incarceration. Although it can be a very daunting topic to learn about, I feel as if there is not much public knowledge around the sociological injustices of incarceration in this country. I find the work that Equitas does not only extremely interesting, but necessary, and I knew I had to be a part of it in whatever way I could.

4. What types of projects will you be working on?

I am working on projects to increase grassroots participation in the national discussion on the issues surrounding incarceration and mental health in the criminal justice system. I’d like to be a part of getting the local community to not only learn more about this issue but encourage them to participate in finding solutions.

5. At this time, what your goals for after you graduate? 

After I graduate I would like to join the Peace Corps and hopefully work for an IGO such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or at an NGO.

6. Who or what inspires you?  

People who fight to change the world for the better inspire me. Whether it be Malala Yousafzai or Nelson Mandela, individuals who stand up for justice and work to address major problems in their communities are who I look up to most.

7. What are you currently reading or watching? 

I am currently reading The Despot’s Accomplice by Brian Klaas as well as Locked In by John F Pfaff. Meanwhile, I am watching the TV shows No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and Game of Thrones.

8. What are some recent projects—school related, volunteer related, or work related—that you’ve enjoyed?

For my “Social Inequalities in Health” class, I recently finished a project in which I studied the relationships between socio-economic status and health behaviors. I explored this through research into the health lifestyles of college students of different economic backgrounds. I also recently presented a paper on the ongoing genocide in Myanmar. That project focused on potential international intervention strategies to help address the diaspora of refugees seeking asylum. Though both project subjects were somewhat grim, each taught me about important global issues and inspired me to work toward solutions.

9. Three things you can’t live without?

My phone, my HBO subscription, and caffeine.


Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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