Friday, November 10th, 2017

DPMI Plus Spotlight: Malvya Chintakindi

 

Malvya at the Taj Mahal. It is around half a day’s journey from where she currently lives!

We spoke with Current DPMI Plus student Malvya Chintakindi about her experience as a researcher for the organization Outline India, which specializes in quantitative and qualitative research. She talks about her strategy for finding the right internship, which classes from MIIS have helped her out the most, and advice for working in development.

How early did you start looking for internships?

During my DPMI Monterey classes, I was of the mindset that I would look for an internship as summer approaches – probably during March. I soon realized that I wanted to a internship in India as it is more pertinent and relevant. I actually started looking for jobs/internships in February 2017 and my plans were finalized in May 2017. The earlier one starts, the better.

What was your strategy? 

I had two points in mind – 1. I want to work in India, 2. I would like my role to include Monitoring and Evaluation duties. Finding a job/internship by based the job title alone can be heavily misleading. It is not easy to find a job that says “M & E Officer” or “M & E Specialist” as it may not always be feasible or practical depending on the region of work, terminology used in the region and what “M & E” particularly entails for that specific organization. I broadened my scope of search and looked for anything within the development sector with my own specifics in mind.

What suggestions do you have for interviewing well?

I was myself! Once through the written test, I had a skype interview where I spoke about everything that excites me.

 Which classes at MIIS have been the most practical in terms of the work you are doing now?

 A mock interview with enumerators, before kickstarting fieldwork for a project with Tsuda University, which aims at building a multidimensional index for measuring poverty and life satisfaction.

Definitely DPMI, Program Evaluation, and Organizational Sustainability. I wish that I had taken classes on finance for nonprofits.

 

What is the best advice you received for working in development?

I have been hearing out anyone who talks to me about the field of development. I think ground level experience is invaluable and I am so excited to embark on ground/field work soon.

A snapshot of one of the enumerators from the Tsuda University project, This project aims to build a multidimensional index to assess the overall life satisfaction of individuals belonging to low and middle-income groups.

What are your plans once the internship is completed?

I will still be working with the same organization and exploring the field of development in India.

What has been the most surprising thing to happen to you since arriving in India?

I am living in a city called Gurugram up north – away from my home city, Hyderabad. It has been a great learning experience to be in a new city, exploring both new foods and culture. I have been mistaken for a school kid so many times!

 

 

Any other tips or suggestions for students who are about to begin their internship search?

Be yourself – do not compromise on that. Give everything a very persistent try. Search for internships early and be sincere.

 

Thank you Malvya! Best of luck!

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Are MIIS Alums using a New Model of Sustainable Development in Peru?

Full Article Published in Middlebury Magazine
By Carolyn Kormann ’04
Photographs by Brett Simison

OVER THE PAST HALF DECADE, in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru, two bearded Americans—a couple of Middlebury Institute graduates named Aaron Ebner MPA ’11, and Adam Stieglitz MPA ’11—have made the same harrowing trip hundreds of times. Their starting point is the city of Calca, where they live, and their destination is Lares, a district on the other side of a mountain pass—14,448 feet above sea level—where a group of indigenous, Quechua communities with Incan roots are scattered. Since 2009, Ebner and Stieglitz—under the auspices of their nonprofit organization, the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD)—have worked and conducted research in the region, establishing long-term relationships with the campesinos who survive there by farming and raising animals on the steep mountainsides. Ebner (known locally as Ah-ron), Stieglitz (A-dam), and the AASD have, at this point, become household names.

Julio Cesar Nina and Yésica Cusiyupanqui had seen numerous NGOs come and go in their native Peru. What they’ve experienced with the Andean Alliance is a different story.

The AASD is a small, unique NGO. Its mission is to support community-led development projects. Unlike other NGOs, at least those working in the Andes, one of its primary tactics has been the establishment of deep trust-based relationships with the communities in which it works. Since Ebner and Stieglitz started the organization while they were graduate students at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, they have also made academic research and experiential education key components of the alliance’s model. Their approach relies heavily on the help of students who take part in their courses and programs.

International NGOs have traditionally followed and, in many cases, still follow a top-down model of development. In the cartoon version of this model, an NGO shows up in an isolated, poor (by Western metrics) place and tells its residents what they are missing, or what will improve their quality of life, or what skills they should learn. NGOs dig a well, or teach some classes, or do whatever it is that they determine the place needs, despite having never lived there. Then, like a traveling circus, they leave.

Ebner and Stieglitz are critical of this approach but admit that their own mindset when they arrived in Peru was not so different. They gave lip service to the idea of community-led development, but actually came to the Andes like nouveau eco-missionaries, with a plan to build greenhouses next to schools. They believed that this simple idea could immediately create significant improvements in people’s lives. Instead, over the next eight years, they were humbled, frustrated, resented. Some of the greenhouses were ignored or unused, the victims of changing school directors or a lack of community ownership. Ebner and Stieglitz had many sleepless nights wondering what they were doing with their lives, and if their efforts had any value or impact. They spent years without salaries. But they also were not afraid to acknowledge their failures, their misunderstandings, and to use those experiences to help them refine and refocus the alliance’s mission.

Gradually, the AASD has made a small but steadily positive impact. School greenhouse projects led to family greenhouse projects, which turned out to be much more successful and sustainable. (Since 2012, they have helped 65 families build them.) Beginning in 2014, they began emphasizing the experiential-education arm of their organization and started collaborating with Middlebury professors to create courses for both graduate and undergraduate students. Students did a semester of in-class preparation for the work they would do on site in Calca—during J-term or summer recess—then another semester of follow-up reflection and analysis. (The AASD has also conducted an independent research practicum every summer since 2015.) These projects have centered around topics related to social change and communication, climate change, or, this year, school greenhouse gardens. The AASD has then presented its findings to organizations like Calca’s regional office of economic development, ensuring that community members’ wants, needs, and concerns are addressed on the larger institutional and governmental stage.

Several Middlebury Institute alumni have traveled down to Calca and stayed with the AASD after their internships or independent studies ended, including, most notably, two current senior staff members: Gaelen Hayes, the experiential learning program manager, and Christopher Miller, the director of organizational development. Miller told me that he especially values how the AASD establishes long-term relationships with the people who live in the region. Their approach, he added, couldn’t be more different from big governmental or NGO development projects. “We’re not coming into these communities like Oprah: ‘You get a greenhouse! And you get a greenhouse! Everybody gets a greenhouse!’” Miller said. “We know that’s never going to work. Instead, we go to these community assemblies and present these ideas to everyone. Those who are really open to it, really see the benefit of it—that’s where you’ll see success.”

Adam Stieglitz and Aaron Ebner at a school in Choquecancha.

What is scalable, they say, is their hybrid model bridging experiential education with community-led development. Stieglitz believes it will revolutionize the future of education and cross-cultural exchange, and will spread around the world. He sees universities working with other small NGOs to support their grassroots

development efforts by sending students to help them. Students, in turn, have new hands-on and place-based learning opportunities. The model has endless possibilities, some of which have been piloted at Middlebury already: undergraduate students working with a regional economic development office to evaluate their programs, network with other experts in a particular field, and help the office adapt the program to make it better; and wraparound courses that precede and follow a student’s research done in Calca. “It’s not just about a three-week experience during J-term,” Stieglitz said. “It’s everything leading up to that and what comes after.” He imagines an evaluation class in which students design a way to evaluate one of the AASD’s programs, then go to Calca and carry it out; or a live case study, in which people in a community in Peru are involved in the class taking place at Middlebury. “It’s about building that cohesion,” he said. “Experiential education is adding value locally, in Peru.” But in their model, it’s “not just about students coming in and helping communities. There is also this bilateral flow, push and pull—what students are taking away from these brilliant sustainable communities as it relates to their studies.”

 

Read the full article published in Middlebury Magazine here.

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale

Interested in attending or presenting at the world’s largest global health and social entrepreneurship conference? Well the 15th annual Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale is happening on April 14-15, 2018!

This event annually convenes 2,000 leaders, changemakers, students, and professionals from all fields of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.

There is a highly reduced registration rate (40% lower than the regular rate) during October, so don’t miss this opportunity to register now!

Abstracts are currently being accepted from professionals and students for research presentations, program presentations, and for the social impact pitch presentations, including submissions for the $10,000 and $5,000 GHIC Innovation Prize. October 15 is the final abstract deadline for submitting a research or program abstract.

The conference has 300 confirmed speakers to date – see them all here.

Global Health & Innovation Conference
April 14-15, 2018 | Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
15th annual conference

http://www.uniteforsight.org/conference

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

How high quality evaluations are helping to improve the lives of school children in Cambodia

Author: Monique Rao

MIIS graduate, Monique Rao completed her DPMI Plus practicum for UNICEF Cambodia this past August. If you are interested in a Spring internship with UNICEF Cambodia, they want to hear from you! You can find the listing for their current Spring 2018 Evaluation Intern opportunity here.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 2017: In June this year, the UNICEF Office of Evaluation at Head Quarters in New York announced the organization’s 15 Best Evaluations of 2016. Out of 101 evaluations completed globally, UNICEF Cambodia’s Evaluation on Child-Friendly School Policy was selected as one of the top 15 across the entire organization. This recognition shows UNICEF Cambodia’s commitment to transparency, accountability and improvement, and illustrates how the outcomes of high quality evaluations can positively impact the lives of children here and around the world.

Speaking about the role evaluation plays at UNICEF Cambodia, Country Representative, Ms. Debora Comini stated: “UNICEF is keen to continuously promote reflection and engage in seeking evidence to guide our work for children. A well conducted evaluation will always produce lessons that we must transparently debate and apply.”

But what exactly is an evaluation? Why is it so important for UNICEF to invest time and resources in conducting them? And, how does this help make a difference in the lives of children which is UNICEF’s central mission?

Evaluation is a type of research-based activity that UN agencies, governments and non-government organizations (NGOs) carry out. They measure the results of implemented projects, programmes or policies against the intentions of what they set out to achieve.

Let’s say UNICEF wanted to implement a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme in schools so that children have access to proper washing stations and restrooms at school. Initial questions the team might ask are: in which provinces will we implement this programme and why, how many schools will we provide washing stations and restrooms for, how many children will this affect, and by doing so, what will this achieve? Perhaps they intend that by providing a child with safe water, in an area where they otherwise would not have access to it, then this will decrease the occurrences of preventable diseases due to poor sanitation and increase school attendance.

 

In general, evaluations are conducted once the project, or phase of the project, has been completed. The evaluation team will ask the same questions the implementing team asked before beginning the project: How many children were given to access to clean water? How many schools did they build washing stations and restrooms for? Why did they choose to start this programme in this province, and was this a good choice? The Evaluator’s job is to use observation, statistics, interviews and surveys to determine the extent to which the programme has achieved its goals. In the example of a school

©UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Isabelle Lesser

water and sanitation programme, by how much did the amount of preventable diseases caused by these decrease, and did school attendance improve, if at all?

UNICEF then takes the key findings, lessons learned and recommendations from the evaluation to make improvements and adjustments to the programme or future phases of the programme, so the end result has the greatest impact. In the example of the school WASH programme, any improvements would be made to ensure that programme is implemented in the most efficient and effective way in order to improve children’s access to WASH facilities. Ultimately, better health and school attendance, lead to more opportunities later in life for these children.

Let’s look at the Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) policy evaluation that made UNICEF’s top 15 evaluations, as an example of the positive impact that evaluation has on Cambodian children.
The CFS policy aims to have all children enrolled in school and improve access and quality of education nationwide. It seeks to have schools that are practicing student-centered learning in a healthy, safe environment for children to ensure they get the best education possible, and uses six key elements to assess this: 1. Access to Schooling, 2. Effective Teaching and Learning, 3. Security, Health and Safety, 4. Gender Responsiveness, 5. Community Engagement, and 6. Overall School Management and Leadership.

Two types of teams are used to assess whether schools are actually adhering to the six key elements above: District Training and Monitoring Teams (DTMTs) and School Clusters.  Both groups are made up of school directors, teachers, and parents, but work at the district level and local level respectively.

One of the key findings of the evaluation of this policy was that School Clusters were more effective in implementing the CFS policy at the local school level than the DTMTs. Generally, this is because members of School Clusters were from the same commune or community, so they could meet more frequently to discuss their schools’ adherence to the policy, which when done properly, means safer, cleaner, more inclusive and ultimately, more child-friendly spaces for students.

As a result of this finding from the evaluation, there was a sharing in responsibility of the key elements between DTMT or School Clusters. DTMTs were restructured to be responsible for all six elements of the CFS policy and school performance as a whole. The role of School Clusters was also redefined so that they would just be responsible for the second key element, “Effective Teaching and Learning” in the schools.  This change to more clearly defined roles, plus some additional government support, meant that School Clusters would be more effective in helping schools train teachers in more child-centered techniques that will make learning more fun and engaging for their students, ultimately benefitting the children to the largest extent.

As CFS is being implemented across the country, the idea is that by using successful monitoring systems like the School Clusters, Cambodian schools will become safer, more welcoming places for children to learn and grow.

The example of the Child-Friendly School Policy in Cambodia demonstrates why it’s important to conduct evaluations. Without them, we wouldn’t know how successful programmes and projects are, or whether or not they’re actually helping improve the lives of children, which is the overall goal of UNICEF’s mission.

*Monique Rao has interned with UNICEF Cambodia’s evaluation team until August 2017.
*Sarah Cowley, Communication intern, has also contributed to this story.

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

IEM Practicum Spotlight: Dave Malacki

We spoke with the always delightful Dave Malacki about his current IEM practicum experience in Portland, Oregon. Read on to see what he has to say about the pros and cons of staying local vs. working abroad, post-practicum plans, and tips on finding the best practicum fit for you!

How did you find your practicum? What is your job title? How big is your office?

My practicum search first began by identifying liberal arts institutions in California, and after discussing some options with IEM faculty I expanded my geographic search northward into the Pacific Northwest (PNW). I conducted informational interviews with IEM students on practicum and IEM alum in the PNW as well as having a cold email template ready to send to any institution that met my search criteria.

I held multiple conversations with the assistant director in Lewis & Clark College’s Overseas & Off-Campus Programs office and opted to join their team based on the projects I desired working on that aligned with their needs. The Overseas office has three full-time staff members and three student workers. I’m serving as their graduate assistant for the term.

What has been the most surprising/unexpected thing to happen to you at work?

Well, before even having the first conversation with LC I knew their study abroad participation rate was rather high (60-65%), yet did not expect such high interest from newly matriculated students. This was a pleasant surprise and required me adapting my advising strategy away from major-specific advising more towards general education advising as most freshmen have yet to declare majors.

On another note, the first project I worked on was a rather robust redesign of their application portal. Due to it being a large project, it was somewhat daunting and required working with campus stakeholders to identify resources available on campus to reduce the final price point. It was surprisingly challenging, yet very rewarding to see it implemented for all fall applicants.

What are the pros and cons of doing your practicum in the U.S. vs abroad?

Well, doing practicum in the US was a very personal decision between my partner and I. We both would have loved to live overseas, but didn’t really want to go through immigration procedures again if we decided to come back to the US.

A pro of doing practicum anywhere in the US is the ability to network in that location. It’s great to do phone informational interviews, yet doing them face-to-face really helps both parties establish a bit more rapport which could lead to potential job notifications earlier.

Do you have a favorite local Portland spot?

Ohh, I have this awesome tea spot, Tea Chai Té (where I’m ironically writing this), that serves the best milk tea I’ve had outside of China! To jive with the hipster vibe, one of their locations is inside of an old train caboose.

Aside from businesses, the entire Columbia River Gorge and areas around Mt. Hood for hiking and exploring are easily my favorite places to enjoy some time in nature and escape from city life. Unfortunately, the fires in the Gorge have closed a couple of the epic trails I did there. However, for anyone looking to get some awesome exposure, the Cooper Spur trail on the NW flanks of Hood offers views of Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Jefferson, and on clear days a couple of the Sisters. It tops off around 8,500 feet with nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain in about five miles. Well worth the constant trudge up!

Which IEM course has helped prepare you the most in your daily work?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one specific course, yet based on the book that I find myself reaching for in the office most days I suppose Education Abroad Management. Advanced Topics in Education Abroad, as well as Design & Assessment, were both highly useful in the work that I’ve done thus far, too. I’m continually referring to the NAFSA Guide to Education Abroad to ensure that my project work is getting rooted in established practice. Both skills developed through D&A, along with topics discussed during Advanced Topics have helped me greatly in drafting reports and informing the designs of projects.

Do you have any plans post-practicum? If so, what are they?

Find a job! Extending beyond that I’m planning on returning to Pittsburgh a bit later in 2018 to see my two best friends get married. As always, I have plenty of concerts I want to attend and the northwest is a great place to ensure that happens! Professionally speaking, I do want to stay connected in the field through conference attendance and establishing connections with organizations like Lessons From Abroad and PDX Abroad.

What has been your favorite cultural experience?

I think most of my classmates know I have a keen interest in live music. Recently, I caught a performance by a solo pianist in an old church that had the most amazing acoustics. It certainly helped that the performer was covering mostly Phish and The Grateful Dead, two of my favorite bands. Initially, I wanted to write going to Powell’s Bookstore for the first time, but that just seemed too generic. However, Powell’s is a great place to get lost on any rainy day!

Final thoughts?

The process of finding a practicum site accompanying with having a full course load was a stressful experience for myself. I had classmates that didn’t find practicum until well after the end of the spring term, and having that patience could prove useful when determining the best fit.

Best of luck in the future Dave!

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

IEM/DPMI Plus Practicum Spotlight: Charlotte Grant

Charlotte Grant is an IEM/MPA student who is currently completing her IEM/DPMI Plus practicum working as an Adolescent Initiative Intern for Save the Children in Laos. We spoke with Charlotte about which classes from MIIS have helped her the most, the pros of taking an unpaid internship, and what life “on the ground” is like in Laos!

How did you come across your internship?

Actually, I was in the process of sending emails to UN offices and IOM offices in Southeast Asia when a friend mentioned that there was one at Save the Children in Laos that she wasn’t going to take. I had a quick Skype session with her contact and it sounded like what I wanted to be doing and was a position where I could learn a lot in a very short amount of time.

Why did you choose Laos?

It sort of chose me I guess. I knew I needed my practicum/DPMI+ to be either paid or cost neutral. I looked for opportunities in Southeast Asia so I could take advantage of the Freeman Foundation monies. Since cost of living in Laos is so low the $5000 grant is going really far. If visas allowed for it I could probably afford to stay longer than 6 months. Unfortunately business visas are pretty highly regulated.

What has been the most unexpected thing to happen to you at work? Outside of work?

I expected to be working on design and evaluation planning components of a new project. But I’ve actually been able to work a lot on the new global Every Last Girl campaign and International Day of the Girl events. I’ve created two videos, one of which will be shown at the event as well as at a regional conference in Bangkok. I was also sent into the field to photograph young mothers in everyday life. Many of my photos will be printed and displayed at a gallery for International Day of the Girl and others will be used for the global campaign. I’ve always loved photography so getting to combine my passion for development AND photography has literally been a dream come true. I spend my days at work creating frameworks for situational analyses and editing photos and videos. If I was getting paid I would probably never leave.

Outside of work I’ve been surprised with how friendly and happy everyone is here. Having previously visited communist countries I half expected the same demeanor. However, Laotians are nothing but friendly, helpful and caring. The people I rent my apartment from lived in France for many years so we actually communicate in French instead of English or Lao. On Wednesday nights I play board games with their son and his friends from France. Learning to play new games in a language I’m still learning has been a challenge but really fun!

What has been your favorite cultural activity in Laos?

Hopefully that will come next week! All of this month has been the boat racing festival. Each village has their own boat races and then there is a national holiday for the Vientiane boat race. I went to one village’s race on the Mekong but supposedly the one next week is huge since everyone has work off and people come from all over.

Much like the American south with churches on every corner, here there are temples on every corner. Many times they are used as landmarks. For example, “the mini mart with good bread is by this temple” kind of thing.

What is one thing you hope to gain from your experience abroad?

I hope I don’t just gain one thing! Overall, I would like to feel confident about going to work in an international development office in the field. I think there a lot of things I need in order for that to happen but so far, I’m gaining all of that and more here in Laos.

Which class or classes have helped you the most so far in your new position?

Language! I know it’s a prerequisite for MIIS, but honestly doing SILP and learning French has been incredible. Not only has it given me a circle of friends here I never would have known previously, it’s also opened work opportunities and allowed me to communicate with locals who speak French.

Data and Policy Analysis- Laos is communist. That’s no secret. But because of that there is very limited data and research done on touchy subjects. Having learned R has actually allowed me to be able to pull UN data and run my own analysis which I’ve then been able to use in reports and even in the video I created.

Not a class, but Human Centered Design has been HUGE for me here. I pitched the idea of running a short workshop with my team to help us design the new program for very young adolescents and my supervisor liked the idea so much she thought of three more ways we could use it. One of which is coming up very soon. I’ll be introducing the idea of HCD through a workshop aimed to build community. Though not confirmed the topic will be “How can we build community on a multi-cultural team.” Save the Children Laos recently hired two Hmong staff members to work on this project because we are targeting Hmong communities. They speak a different language and have many unique cultural traditions. Since they came on board there has been a clear divide in the staff. This workshop will attempt to begin to bridge that gap and then will be followed up by a staff retreat where we can delve deeper into some of the things that came up and where we try to prototype some of the ideas that came out of the workshop.

Favorite new food from Laos?

SO MANY! I’m super into the BBQ right now. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Not US BBQ, Korean, nothing. Super tasty and fun. You BBQ everything at your table and there is sort of like a moat of broth and veggies surrounding the meat that’s over the fire so the veggies cook as the broth heats. I’ll send a photo or video of it.

Do you have any tips for people who are apprehensive about taking an unpaid internship?

JUST DO IT. I cannot say this enough. If you are apprehensive about it, do it in SE Asia so you can apply for the Freeman. The flexibility my office has given me with deliverables is incredible. They’ve been so open and accommodating and are grateful for everything that I produce. They’ve been impressed with what I’ve been able to do after my 3 semesters at MIIS. (hopefully this means they’d be open to someone else taking on my role!)

Yesterday I had dinner with Save the Children Norway and they mentioned jobs they had available. My resume has been pushed into the hands of CRS, Unicef, and USAID chiefs of party and country directors. The connections you make while in the field are incredible. I understand MIIS has deep connections but it pales in comparison to the personal relationships you build while simply being in country (sorry MIIS Mafia) and actually being able to sit by a pool and talk about your career goals over a cold Beerlao (This literally happened. I was sitting by a pool with a USAID Nurture Chief of Party, mentioned CRS, and she mentioned the country director lived right behind her. He now has my CV and is circulating it to see if there are any positions that fit my skill set). This experience has become the cornerstone of my resume and the $3000 it would have cost me on my own was probably worth it. Fortunately, with the Freeman I didn’t have to worry about that.

 

To follow Charlotte on her journey abroad check out her blog: lifeofasaveintern and instagram: chgrantz.

If you would like to learn more about DPMIPlus email Miranda Meyer at dpmiplus@miis.edu

 

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Planning J-term & Spring Break 2018

Maybe you want to tackle a grueling research project in some remote location wearing an embarrassing hat. Maybe you want to wear fuzzy socks on your parent’s couch and just sleep off fall semester. No judgement.

Whatever your intentions, your pals at GSIPM are here to help you scope out MIIS winter & spring break opportunities and narrow in on what’s a fit for you.

 

If you have an appetite for something beyond the amazing GSIPM options, consider paying a visit to our friends at Omprakash. With over 172 partners across 39 countries, their bread and butter is playing matchmaker for organizations hungry for talent. Anyone can peruse and apply for available positions without incurring eye-roll inducing placement fees.

 

To help ensure you make the most of your time, consider these your To Do’s:

  1. Familiarize yourself with aforementioned amazing  options
  2. Schedule time with your adviser or the lovely Carolyn Meyer
  3. Once you’ve nailed down a plan, apply for that sweet, sweet IPL funding.

 

Whatever you choose, the crew at GSIPM is here for you.

 

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

IEM Practicum, DPMI Plus, IONP, and Boren Fellow Participants for Fall 2017 Announced

For fall 2017, a total of 58 Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey students will participate in our distinguished semester long immersive learning programs, to be placed around the country and the globe. Domestically, students are as close as Monterey, CA and as far away as Washington, D.C. Internationally, they are spread across five continents.

Programs include the International Education Management (IEM) Practicum, DPMI Plus, International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), and the Boren Fellows Program.

Below is a list of current participants, their organizations, and their locations.

International Education Management (IEM) Practicum

Name Placement Location
Christopher Adams Middlebury School Abroad Spain Spain
Lauren Bell Peace Corps Liberia Liberia
Noelle Boucher Education USA Malaysia
Khatab Cissokho Middlebury School Abroad Cameroon Cameroon
Caitlin Cook Portland Community College USA
Janira Cordova California State University at Dominguez Hills USA
Jessica DiFoggio Middlebury C.V. Starr School in Italy Italy
Grace Earley DC Language Immersion Project USA
Catherine Golub Middlebury Schools Abroad at ICU in Tokyo Japan
Charlotte Grant Save the Children- International Laos(SCIL) Laos
Eli Hatch NYU School of Professional Studies, Tokyo Japan
Schuyler Horn Monterey County Weekly USA
Victoria Hudak UC San Francisco USA
McKenna Hughes Middlebury C.V. Starr School in France France
Elizabeth Imasa Knowledge Exchange Institute (KEI) USA
Alyssa Jackson EUSA Madrid Spain
Martha Jensen DIS Study Abroad in Scandanavia Denmark
Seth Joyner Univeristy of Utah Asia Campus South Korea
David Malacki Lewis and Clark College USA
Anna McCreedy UC Berkeley International Office USA
Jessica Meado CEA Study Abroad Prague Czech Rep.
Melissa Nix EUSA Spain
Karla Piacentini Foundation for Sustainable Development USA
Erika Quinonez Florida International University USA
JoLyn Rekasis The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development Peru
Rebecca Richey Performing Arts Abroad (PAA) and Syracuse University Madrid Center USA
Hope Sanders Kent State University USA/Italy
Alexander Smith Northeastern University, Global Experience Office USA
David Smith EUSA Sevilla Spain
Daniel Solomon CIEE USA/Chile
Brett Srader International School of Myanmar Myanmar
Eric Staab WorldChicago USA
Laura Stipic Syracuse University France
Shayna Trujillo Diversity Abroad USA
Yijun Wang California State University San Marcos USA
Stephanie Weisfeld Case Western Reserve University USA
Sarah Whitley University of Utah Asia Campus South Korea
Katy Wilson Middlebury Institute of International Studies USA
Ayako Yamada Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Philippines
Zilin Zheng ISS and FIUTS offices, University of Washington USA

DPMI Plus

Name Placement Location
Eli Hatch NYU School of Professional Studies Tokyo Tokyo, Japan
Sarah Whitley University of Utah Incheon, South Korea
Amy Nguyen Relief International Myanmar (remote)
Karla Piacentini Foundation for Sustainable Development Sacramento, CA
Charlotte Grant Save the Children Luang Prabang, Laos
Malvya Chintakindi Outline India Gurgaon, India
Lauren Bell Peace Corps Response Liberia
Katie Morton TechnoServe Johannesburg, South Africa
Katie Boynton Oasis Legal Service Oakland, CA
Cody Minnich   Unicef Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Ayako Yamada Asian Institute of Management Makati, Philippines

Boren Fellows

Name Placement Location
Chelsea Lavallee African Flagship Language Initiative (French) Senegal
Andrew Meador Hopkins-Nanjing Center Certificate of Graduate Studies (Mandarin) China
Jimmy Smith Middlebury Schools Abroad Jordan

International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP)

Name Placement Location
Joseph Rodgers UN Instistitute for Disarmement Research (UNIDIR) Geneva, Switzerland
Stephanie Halasz International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria
Maria Rivas Cueva Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Vienna, Austria
Paul Warnke UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, New York
Margaret Rowland UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, New York


Leave of Absence

Name Placement Location
Ariana Alva Ferrari Think Beyond Plastic Honduras

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Unicorn Strategies: Like Magic, But Better

Ever wonder what happens to graduates once they leave MIIS? We spoke with recent graduate Lieselotte Siegenthaler, a consulting partner at Unicorn Strategies, to get the scoop!

Unicorn Strategies (located in Washington, D.C.) is a company that provides pro bono chief of staff services to retired national security leaders. In exchange, these leaders make themselves available for client projects where they work with young women in national security to solve real world client problems.

Could you tell me a little bit about your background and how it led you to Unicorn Strategies?

In undergrad I interned in both the public and private sector, including stints at the Department of Commerce, at a private tech security firm in Germany and with a human rights lawyer at the UN in Geneva. After graduating, I worked in administration at tech security companies in San Francisco. Working in these positions exposed me to various smaller scale security issues and avenues towards intercultural communication.

Last summer I interned at the American Security Project, where I met my business partner, Maggie, who was Chief of Staff to the CEO at the time. We collaborated on a project involving Timor-Leste and Australia’s maritime boundary dispute and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Part of the project included interviewing the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, as well as liaising with Australian diplomats and American political figures. In working together, we realized while we have different professional backgrounds, our skill and knowledge sets complemented each other’s.

In interacting with and researching the many think tanks and nonprofits in DC, I learned about the pivotal role that retired national security leaders play in these organizations. Maggie’s extensive experience working with retired flag officers at American Security Project afforded her significant insight into how the officers were able to succeed after retiring, and how sometimes they do not have the opportunity to properly use their expertise after transitioning out of government. In addition to recognizing security leaders’ post-retirement contributions to national security, we noticed, and sometimes experienced, the challenges of being a woman in security. Both of our professional and academic lives provided us with large networks of young women either aspiring to work or already working in security.

While thinking about these two groups Maggie and I identified gaps that may prevent them from achieving their career goals. For many retired national security leaders, it’s the gap between their capabilities and how much they are able to contribute to the national security space. For young women working in security, it is the gap between them and the retired leaders, which inhibits their opportunity for mentorship and network expansion.

How/When did you create this company?

After I returned to MIIS for the fall semester and Maggie started her master’s program at Georgetown, we continued to explore the two gaps. Unicorn Strategies came together over the course of the next several months, after recognizing not only the connected gaps such as retired leaders and a network of young women in security, but also acknowledging the impact of our combined skill set in filling that need. Our official foundation date was February 2017 when we won our first contract and we moved into our office April (come visit us!). It’s been a learning process, but we love Unicorn because it allows us to work both in and outside of the traditional national security system to support a more equitable, free, and prosperous world.

What does that mean in practice? 

The chief of staff services translates to helping security leaders use their knowledge and skills as they transition out of government and into the private sector. This can include getting them on retainer at a news organization, an advisory position at consulting firm, or speaking engagements. They are also currently working with one retired IC leader to do a Track II dialogue in Eastern Europe!

In addition to the chief of staff services, companies and advocacy organizations approach us to complete projects, such as writing op-eds, or advising on specific policy issues. To work on the projects, we partner young women in security with the leaders we are staffing. This facilitates knowledge transfer, grows everyone’s networks, and creates mentorship opportunities.

To learn more about Unicorn Strategies go to info@unicornstrategies.com

OR if you are looking for a Fall internship they are hiring! Join the herd.

 

 

Friday, September 15th, 2017

January and Spring Break Off-Site Courses and Special Trainings

GSIPM students now view initial information on international programs and special trainings offered in January and over Spring Break at http://go.miis.edu/practica.

January Off-Site Program Locations:

-Cuba

-Peru

-Colombia

-Egypt

-Rwanda

-France

-Czech Republic

January On-Campus Trainings and Courses:

-DPMI–International Development and Social Change

-FMS—Social Enterprise Management and Impact Investing

-Note: Additional courses including many 1-unit workshops taking place in January 2018 will be announced in early November when the spring course schedule is posted.

Spring Break Opportunities:

-The Balkans

-Washington, DC Career Exploration

Please check-back regularly as student budgets are posted on each program website.

Students with interests outside the programs offered, are encouraged to design their own experience. MIIS immersive learning funding can be used to offset the cost of a self-led applied learning project in the US or abroad over Jterm. Schedule a meeting with your career advisor or IPLSP Director Carolyn Meyer through Zócalo to brainstorm options.

Contact: 

Carolyn Taylor Meyer

Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs, GSIPM

831-647-6417

cmeyer@miis.edu

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

DPMI & DPMI Plus INFO SESSION 2017

2 or 3-week international development and social change training open to all degree programs with optional credit-bearing internship/job fellowship open to DPP and IEP students.

All students interested in DPMI & DPMI PLUS, are recommended to attend this INFO SESSION on Tuesday, Sept 19, 2017, at Casa Fuente-434.

Click here to read more

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Top Tips for MIIS Students Seeking Professional Adventure

Already fantasizing about the incredible summer internship you’re going to land? Good! You should be. If not, I’m here to plant the seed.

 

The truth is, summer seems like a grueling academic year away, but it’s lurking just around the corner.  Without a swipe left, swipe right graduate internship app option, identifying interesting organizations and cruising MIIS resources now will prevent you from giving the “OMG OMG OMG” crazy eyes to your advisors this May.

 

I sat down with Donna York (IPD ’18 – goldmine of good advice) to reflect on her time Interning for the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction branch of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Geneva.

 

Top Tips for MIIS Students Seeking Professional Adventure:


Be that annoying person who sees your advisor all the time. Planning is super important. I met with my advisor Scott Webb almost once a week to ask questions and get reassurance that I was doing everything right (Scott is good at the reassurance part).

 

Perfect the basics. Get your resume and cover letter absolutely perfect in the fall so you are set to send them out. Organizations like the UN see having mistake-free materials as just checking the first box.

 

Apply. Apply. Apply. I started sending things out early and applied for 30 internships across the UN and over a dozen more at organizations that interested me in Washington D.C. If I could, I would have applied for even more.

 

Get financial support. I have applied for and received MIIS Immersive Professional Learning (IPL) funding twice. The process to apply was simple and the deliverables I was required to submit for receiving it were flexible.

 

Be that annoying person (again) that e-mails all the time. Once you’ve landed the internship, build your network. You have nothing to lose in making connections. Even if you don’t have a specific ask for that person in the moment, you never know when they might pop into your life again in the future. Seriously, always follow up after an information session, coffee, or even if someone gives you their card.

 

 


For more application inspiration, explore MIIS Immersive Learning Programs  and keep an eye on Zócalo for hot leads.

 

You can also check out more MIIS immersive learning examples from all over the world at the Immersive Learning Project Portal.   

 

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Tech in the Tenderloin Hackathon & Tech Fair

Calling all creative MIISfits interested in flexing your ideation and innovation muscles!

Click here to read more

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Call for Application: Certificate in International Development & Social Change

Certificate in International Development and Social Change

A professional graduate certificate program for careers in program design, partnering, management, and innovation (DPMI)

Launch Your Career

This program is designed for aspiring development and social change practitioners seeking expanded career opportunities in program design, partnering, management, and innovation (DPMI). You’ll gain the program design, evaluation, strategic partnering, and facilitation skills needed to launch a career in international development, becoming part of a global network of over 1,300 DPMI alumni tackling the world’s most pressing problems.

Intensive Hands-on Training

The highly interactive, participatory, and student-centered curriculum includes three modules:

Designing & Managing Development Projects

  • Design and assess projects that foster sustainable development
  • Use simulations and case study exercises to learn the approaches widely used by multinational organizations such as USAID, World Bank, and UNDP

Facilitating Participatory Development

  • Master the tools and techniques to be an effective facilitator, trainer, and change agent
  • Understand the importance of local human resource development
  • Learn to transfer skills to communities so they can conduct their own training programs

Social Entrepreneurship & Strategic Partnering

  • Conduct analyses of vision and mission in a context of social entrepreneurship
  • Identify core competencies and forge strategic partnerships for organizational effectiveness
  • Use innovative software applications for challenging simulations

International Faculty

The program is taught by internationally renowned specialists who have extensive knowledge of the development field, including Beryl Levinger of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Evan Bloom, formerly of Pact, and co-founder of Root Change, and Sharon Bean of USAID.

Upcoming Training: 
  • Monterey, CA: January 8-26, 2018
  • Rwanda: January 9-18, 2018
Application Deadline for Monterey and Rwanda:
  • Early Review and International Applicant* Deadline: September 1, 2017
  • Final Application Deadline: October 31, 2017

To find our more visit our webpage or email us at dpmi@miis.edu 

Student Testimonials and featured alumni 

TO APPLY, FILL OUT AN ONLINE APPLICATION FORM

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Reflections on DPMI 2017 Washington, DC

26 participants successfully completed three-week Certificate in International Development and Social Change program on June 23, 2017. The participants constituted United College Scholars, Middlebury Institute and Middlebury College Students, and international development professionals. As a field visit, the participants got opportunities to visit several development organizations in DC and explore the trends in the development sector. Read the testimonies of the United World Scholars below: 

I applied for the DPMI program because of its relevance to my current role at a microfinance technology startup. Tasked with creating and implementing pilot interventions I was actively searching for frameworks with which to formalize the design process within my organization. In addition to learning and practicing with tools on program design, I gained critical leadership skills, design thinking exercises, and was given time to develop my theory of change within the development sector. A major highlight of the DPMI program was getting to know the other cohort members- especially the UWC participants.

The group work exercises allowed us to learn from each other’s academic, professional and personal experiences with development. Beryl’s weeklong simulation was also a deeply immersive learning experience. I appreciated the visit to the Organization of the American States (OAS) as an opportunity to visualize an alternative path within the development sector. Ultimately, the DPMI program, along with the framework and tools imparted will be relevant irrespective of which sector they are approached and utilized through.  

Amita Ramachandran, Macalester College, ’15 (Economics & International Development)

 

When I applied for the DPMI program, I was a senior International Politics and Economics major at Middlebury College. I directed most of my academic career towards an interdisciplinary pursuit of subjects related to international development. My interest in the field has been largely shaped and informed by my experiences at home in the Philippines; I constantly think about how I might contribute to the betterment of my country and society.

Three weeks of DPMI was crucial in my efforts to build connections between the theoretical approach I was exposed to in a liberal arts education, and the practical tools and skills applied in the field. It was inspiring to learn from such seasoned instructors and facilitators, the frameworks that are widely used in addressing global and systemic problems. While it might be a few years before I pursue a career in international development, I am grateful to DPMI for allowing me a close look at some of what international development work could involve.

Gabbie Santos, Middlebury College ’17 (International Politics & Economics)

 

 

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

DPMI brings MIDD & MIIS students together in Washington, DC

25 participants gathered in Washington, DC, in June 2017 for the Certificate in International Development and Social Change, a professional graduate certificate program offered by Middlebury Institute. The certificate program centers around careers in program design, partnering, management, and Innovation (DPMI). The participants constituted Middlebury College & MIIS students, UWC Scholars, and International Development and Social Change practitioners. The DPMI program has been a big draw for MIIS and MIDD students that allows them to connect and build bridges between the two Middlebury campuses in Vermont and California. The students are not just learning about the recipes of international development and social change, but they are also connecting with one another and learning to work together.

The Certificate in International Development and Social Change program is also offered in January 2018 at Monterey. Please share this with someone who might be interested. To learn more about the program, click here.

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Amy Nguyen is taking DPMI beyond the classroom.

Hello! My name is Amy Nguyen, and today I will be sharing my experience in the Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) program in Monterey this past May.

A bit about me: Within the Development Practice and Policy (DPP) program, I am working towards a Master in Public in Administration (MPA) with a specialization in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Design. Prior to MIIS, I worked for the organization, Relief International (RI) (www.ri.org), where I am a still a member of its Performance Accountability and Learning team.

DPMI was a big draw for me when I applied to MIIS. I liked the idea of learning not only how to design projects, but also how to flip the traditional design process: how to make it more dynamic, more iterative and more community-oriented.

The two instructors, Beryl Levinger and Evan Bloom, have designed a unique, very hands-on learning environment. Over the span of the two weeks, we did all our work in teams: in the first week, to identify a development challenge facing a country and design a project, and, in the second week, to design a social innovation through collaborating.

These team projects took my mind to incredible places: first, to the coastal Ayeyarwady region in Myanmar, and, then, to the mountainous community of Barillas, Guatemala. Both projects involved understanding and addressing challenges facing farmers. Throughout the two weeks, we mixed and matched approaches, learning traditional tools and methodologies (e.g. as results frameworks and indicators) along with emerging ones (e.g. human-centered design, social network analysis).

My DPMI cohort was a fantastic group of working professionals and students. Each of us brought a different lens to the table: health, gender, migration, environment, education, and others. We asked hard questions. We brainstormed. We listened. And, just as importantly, we had fun. Somewhere in the mayhem of Google Drive folders, sticky notes, and team ground rules, our cohort was buzzing with energy and a sense of purpose. It felt like we were learning new approaches to think and work through development challenges… with some of the very colleagues whom we may be working alongside in the future.

DPMI has opened up new areas of work for me at RI. I am becoming more involved in the development of our new global partnerships strategy. This summer, I am completing my practicum with our Myanmar country team, focusing on ways to strengthen program quality through monitoring and evaluation (M&E), design and strategy. All of my deliverables will be tied to content from the DPMI modules. I’m excited to see my newfound skills and knowledge spring to life; as Beryl would say, I am excited to “hit the ground thinking.”

 

People, systems, and process matter a lot to me. Upon returning back to school, I felt it was important for me to become exposed to the methodologies, tools, and approaches that honor that principle. In the development field, we spend a lot of time in the development feeling stuck: The problems are great, and they are many. It is easy to feel beholden to the traditional way of doing things. DPMI beckoned us to do differently, and I am a better practitioner now because of it.

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Immersive Learning Student Portal is Live!

Read about students’ immersive learning projects all around the world including in the United States from 2014-2017.  Click here to visit the student portal. The student portal is a compilation of immersive learning experiences of MIIS students along with their project deliverables.

Immersive learning is the learning that occurs when students are outside of the traditional role of teacher and student. Immersive learning is collaborating with other people, organizations, and governments. It is the critical process of applying critical thinking and is a cornerstone of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) pedagogical philosophy on helping students develop skills and knowledge for preparing students to build a better world. 

Immersive Learning Programs include internships, DPMI +, IPSS, J-term & Spring Practica, summer opportunities, and directed studies. Through immersive learning programs, students take part in projects where they are outside of the traditional role of teacher and student.

To learn more about Immersive Professional Learning Programs and funding click here

 

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Do you have a social venture that needs funding to launch it?

The D-Prize social venture competition is live!   If selected we will award you up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in any region where extreme poverty exists. D-Prize funds new entrepreneurs who increase access to proven poverty interventions. Can you design a business or NGO that solves one of the Distribution Challenges below:

+ GIRL’S EDUCATION

+ AGRICULTURE

+ ENERGY

+ GLOBAL HEALTH

+ EDUCATION

+ GOVERNANCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE

+ CUSTOM

Interested in applying? Visit www.d-prize.org for details.

 

Monday, May 15th, 2017

IEMer Heather Rahimi Excels on South Korean Practicum

Heather Rahimi MAIEM ‘17 has spent the last four months on practicum at the University of Utah Asia campus in Incheon, South Korea.  Having never set foot on the Asian continent prior to her practicum, Heather utilized takeaways from her MIIS coursework, non-verbal communication and flexibility to excel throughout her experience.

What has been the most surprising thing you have encountered on your practicum in Korea?

Seeing as it’s my first time in South Korea, let alone Asia, I have encountered many surprises. I think the biggest surprise, or at least the one that has had the biggest positive impact on me, is understanding that one doesn’t need verbal language to communicate with others. My Korean is limited to “hello”, “thank you”, and “goodbye”, so coming here inspired a certain amount of fear in me. However, I discovered so much can be said without words, especially in Korea. A simple grunt can say a million words! These days I grunt at everything, it can mean “yes”, “oh!”, “I understand”, “I’m so sorry”, you name it! So here is a word of caution to all those who see me after I return state-side, be prepared for countless grunts, warm smiles, and a little bit of pushing.

Credit: Snow College News

What has been one of the most valuable skills or takeaways from your coursework at MIIS that has helped you succeed in your practicum work?

I was pretty nervous for my first day on the job, I was certain I wouldn’t know anything and would have to constantly ask my supervisor for help. But, I quickly found out, my coursework at MIIS had taught me so much more than I thought and left me utterly, if not overly, prepared for this position. I was most grateful for the skills I learned in my Staff Management course. Even as an intern, I definitely needed to manage up, be aware of cross-cultural differences, such as communication styles, and be prepared to lead a meeting when no one else was up for the task.

How has your experience in Korea informed what you hope to do next (whether or not you know what that is at the moment)?

My practicum position at UAC has taught me many invaluable lessons and enabled me to grow as a person and a professional. As an intern, I have been able to work on a variety of projects that wouldn’t typically fall under one person’s job responsibilities. Each project has given me insight into what type of work I want to do in my future and made me realize that although I would prefer to work in education abroad, I am now also open to and enjoy working in international student and scholar services. Whereas before I only wanted to work in education abroad, I can now broaden the scope of my job search and better identify positions that I will thrive in based on my first-hand experience with job responsibilities and work environments.

 

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