Ilana Cohen is a Natural Resource Specialist and Geospatial Data Lead with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Washington, DC.  During her last year at the Nicholas School, Ilana applied for the Presidential Management Fellows program—a gateway program for the Federal government for those with graduate degrees—and accepted a Fellow position with BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System.

Many people don’t realize that the BLM not only manages more land than any other agency at 250 million acres, but also, the Bureau makes a significant contribution to our nation’s conservation efforts by devoting over 30 million acres of those public lands to its National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS).  With the NLCS, Ilana has been working to improve the quality, management, and dissemination of spatial data in order to further the program’s conservation and public communication goals.  For example, through Ilana’s efforts, the NLCS’s most visited units—National Monuments—are now represented on Google Maps for the first time.  Currently, Ilana is overseeing a national project to create standardized maps (both interactive, web-based maps and static printable versions) for all of BLM’s hundreds of outdoor recreation sites in order to better serve and inform the public.

As a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF), Ilana has also been fortunate to complete a number of developmental assignments, or rotations.  She chose to spend her long rotation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she served as Deputy Associate Director for Ecosystems and coordinated Federal interagency restoration efforts for the administration’s five priority ecosystems.  During this rotation Ilana was able to meet Bo, the Obama family dog, which was an exciting career highlight for her!

Since her graduation from the PMF program, Ilana has continued to focus her efforts on furthering BLM’s commitment to conservation.  She looks forward to a long and fulfilling career safeguarding the country's conservation lands.