Friday, March 16th, 2018

Immersive Learning Spotlight: Chelsea Lavalle, Boren Fellowship

Chelsea Lavalle is a 5th semester graduate student pursuing a dual degree in International Education Management (IEM) and Public Administration (MPA) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, CA. Chelsea was awarded the Boren Fellowship in the Spring of 2017 and participated in the National Security Education Program. Under the Boren Fellowship, she is currently serving as an Educational Sector Intern for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Asalam Alekum, Bonjour, Hello! These are the greetings exchanged every day here in Dakar, Senegal. Almost a year ago I submitted my application for the Boren Fellowship, hoping I would have the opportunity to travel to West Africa, immerse myself in a new culture, improve my French language skills and learn Wolof, the language widely spoken in Senegal.

The Boren application process is extensive and includes two essays, three letters of recommendation, a defense of the application and an oral language proficiency test (for French, and certain other languages). Luckily, the Center for Advising and Career Services (CACs) team, particularly Jen Holguin, MIIS professors, family and friends were all an amazing source of support throughout the entire process. I completed my application in January of 2017 and was notified as a successful recipient in April.  From there, I embarked on a 12 month journey to learn about Senegalese language, culture, history and politics.

From June to August, myself and eight other Boren Fellows and Scholars developed a solid base in Senegalese languages and culture at the University of Florida, Gainesville’s African Studies Department. Once in country, I continued my language courses at the West African Research Center and participated in workshops and lectures with local youth activists, Senegalese musicians, American Diplomats, researchers and experts from regional security think tanks and researchers of Senegalese culture and traditional religious practices.

I’m now in phase two of the Fellowship, which entails a full-time internship in my target language.  My placement is at UNESCO’s Regional Bureau in Dakar, where I work on the Education-2030/Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 4 Coordination team for West and Central Africa.  Using French in a professional setting everyday has been a challenge, but it has also enabled me to improve exponentially. Thematically, observing and supporting UNESCO’s role in SDG implementation in the region, working with Education Ministries, civil society groups and local NGOs has proven to be an unparalleled learning experience.

Though language acquisition is the focus of the Fellowship, time spent with my Senegalese host family, neighbors and friends has easily been the highlight of my experience here. In Senegal, people are eager to share their cultural history, the Wolof language and enter into meaningful exchange, especially over a cup of Nescafe or ataaya, delicious Senegalese mint tea.  Through these exchanges I’ve begun to understand people’s aspirations for the future of their country and the region, in terms of development, peace and prosperity.

When I applied for the Boren Fellowship, I never imagined all that was in store for me: from eating around the bowl, to celebrating Tabaski, to cheering at the World Cup qualifying match in Dakar, to attending the Global Education Financing Conference in Dakar, I’ve loved and appreciated every moment. It is easy to see why Senegal is known as the country of “teranga,” or hospitality.  I would highly encourage other MIIS students to seek opportunities in Senegal or in other regions through the Boren Fellowship.

Congratulations, Chelsea!

If you are interested in learning more about the Boren Fellowship, contact Jennifer Hambleton-Holguin, Director of Fellowships, Exchanges, and Study Abroad at

Monday, March 12th, 2018

DPMI Plus Spotlight: Ekshana Chhetri

Ekshana Karki Chhetri is a fourth semester Masters of Public Administration student, currently completing her Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) Plus practicum as a Youth Workforce and Entrepreneurship Intern at World Learning in Washington, D.C. Originally from Nepal, Ekshana received her Bachelor’s in Social Work and English from St. Xavier’s College in Kathmandu, Nepal. She went on to work with Empowering Women of Nepal in Pokhara, Nepal, a local grassroots organization that empowers, educates, and creates employment opportunities for underprivileged girls through tourism and sports. She was a participant in the Women Win Digital Storytelling and Mentorship program in the Netherlands, during which time she launched “Go Girls”, a community outreach project that teaches life skills to young girls. Ekshana’s sister, Archana Karki Chhetri, also attended the Middlebury Institute and graduated in 2009. 

How did you find World Learning? What was the application/interview process like?

I found World Learning through Carolyn Meyer (Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs). Carolyn introduced me to Elizabeth Silva, Senior Program Officer of the Women’s Empowerment Program at The Asia Foundation, who happens to be alumni from MIIS. The Asia Foundation already had an intern for the spring semester, therefore, Elizabeth was very kind to forward my resume to her circle of friends and that is how I learned about World Learning (WL).

I did some research about WL through their website. The organization attracted me immediately and I was very impressed by their work. It was definitely an ideal organization for me because some of the important work they were doing in the U.S and abroad was vested in empowering and educating youths through exchange programs and creating entrepreneurship skills.

The application/interview process went very smoothly.  Within a short period, I interviewed with World Learning and received the offer right away. Now, I am here in DC!

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

Go out and network with people in the field as much as you can. You will learn a lot from their experiences.

Which courses at the Middlebury Institute (MIIS) have been the most beneficial in your current work? Why?

As a Youth Workforce and Entrepreneurship Intern, I have been assisting my supervisor to develop a career center toolkit. This toolkit will provide important information about career development centers and services in academic institutions. My role includes literature reviews on career centers and services in community colleges as a way of learning from existing models and how to develop more. Since I am interested in learning more about project design and evaluation, DPMI has been one of the many crucial courses that have helped me to understand project design and evaluation. DPMI provided me with the basic understanding of project design and also provided the platform for practical experimentation within the classroom. Additionally, the courses I took as part of Sprintensive 2017 provided further understanding of storytelling within development work.

Courses such as Finance Functions, Proposal Writing, Leadership and Social Innovation have been very helpful with the practical skills. Professor Lisa Leopold’s course on Professional Presentation skills is coming handy in my internship as I am expected to present research findings with my team.

In Professor Arrocha’s globalization class I had written a policy memo about Youth Migration in Nepal and everything I am doing at World Learning has been helping me to narrow down my policy memo. It has been really helpful because it has allowed me to focus and not feel overwhelmed.

What is something you had to learn “on the job?

One of the many things I like about my internship with World Learning is that my supervisor creates the platform for me to attend and observe several project design-related meetings. Every day I am learning so much at World Learning. Additionally, I am learning new technological skills, such as utilizing Zotero to manage references for my research work.

Tell me about your favorite memory from your time at Middlebury Institute?

It’s difficult to share my favorite memory from my time at MIIS because I have so many. The best part was meeting students from all over the world and interacting with them in and out of class. I enjoyed learning from them and hearing about their world wide experiences.

I really enjoyed group work because it pushed and challenged me in so many ways.

Besides academic life, I worked as a Library Graduate Assistant, which was a great way to interact with students, staffs and faculty. I also had a plot in the school garden and enjoyed looking after it with my friends and planting vegetables. When I needed to distress and reconnect, I liked to cook and eat with friends.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Honestly, I am not quite sure where or what I will be doing in five years; however, I have always been passionate about working for youth engagement and women’s menstrual health. I believe I will be utilizing the skills and experiences I have learned up to this point in order to bring change in this field.

Final Thoughts?

Internship and job searches are usually one of the most stressful processes for students.  Always reach out to your adviser, faculty and alumni for connections and resources. Don’t be afraid, be open, be kind to yourself and trust your journey.

Thank you, Ekshana! We wish you all the best as you continue on your journey.

If you would like to learn more about DPMI Plus, please contact or to apply, fill out this form.

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

IPSS Spotlight: Aricquel Payne, Six Square

Aricquel Payne is a current MPA student, completing her IPSS practicum at Six Square, Austin’s Black Cultural District, in Austin, Texas. Originally from Woodbridge, VA, she received a degree in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, VA. Before attending MIIS, Aricquel taught English to first graders in the Dominican Republic for one year.


What other opportunities have you had at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies? 

While at MIIS, I have been able to consult with a blockchain company that provides access to the global economy for traditionally unbanked populations around the world through my participation with M-Force. I was also fortunate enough to conduct a research project on the social impact sector in Nicaragua during the summer of 2017 as a Social Impact Scholar through MIIS’ Center for Social Impact Learning. I also participated in the Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) program in January 2017.

How did you find Six Square? Why were you interested in working with them?

I am interested in the intersection of social justice, public policy, and economic development. These factors drove my search in finding an IPSS placement. I found Six Square by searching through different organizations on Idealist. I wanted my IPSS experience to be different than anything I have done before, and to me this meant looking for positions in the United States. Upon speaking with Six Square’s Executive Director, I learned that out of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the United States, Austin is the only one that is experiencing a decline in the African-American population. This statistic intrigued me and made me want to know what factors have contributed to this anomaly.

Why did you choose to stay in the U.S. versus an internship abroad?

I chose to stay in the U.S. because I have previously done development work overseas, but never really done much within the United States. The political state of the U.S. also influenced my decision to stay in the country and see how I could assist in mitigating the oppressive decisions being made across the country by the current administration.

What courses at the Middlebury Institute helped prepare you the most for your current position?

Program Evaluation for SCOs; DPMI Monterey; Intro to Conflict Resolution; Organizational Perspectives for Policy and Management Professionals

What has been an unexpected challenge you have faced while at Six Square?

One challenge that has presented itself during my time with Six Square has been settling on a project to pursue for my IPSS final deliverable. Six Square is very multifaceted and has a lot of “irons in the fire,” so to speak. I am very eager to attend every event and help with every project that I have found it difficult to decide on just one project to focus most of my time on.

What projects are you currently working on? How do they relate to your personal mission?

Currently, I am researching city policy and reports surrounding displacement and gentrification in communities of color in Austin, as well as other cities in the country where gentrification is prominent, in order to inform recommendations that will eventually be produced by the City of Austin Anti-Displacement Task Force. I am also working on conceptualizing a program evaluation system for Six Square to be able to gauge their impact in the community and use the feedback from its intended target audience to continue to improve its programming.

What have you learned “on the job?”

I have learned more about the importance of flexibility. Working at a nonprofit, it’s essential to be open about what you’ll end up doing every day. While working at Six Square, I have been able to participate in everything from fundraising and event planning all the way to being in a meeting with the Mayor of Austin. Being flexible and willing to try out anything can lead to some awesome opportunities!

What are your plans after you complete your practicum at Six Square?

I am not particularly sure about my plans after completing my practicum, but I know that the skills that I am cultivating now through my IPSS placement will contribute immensely to whatever positions I pursue.

Thank you, Aricquel. We look forward to what comes next for you!

If you would like to learn more about IPSS and how you can apply, please email or check us out online.  




Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

IPSS Spotlight: Kimani DeShields-Williams

Kimani DeShields-Williams is a fourth-semester International Policy and Development student, completing her International Professional Service Semester with the International Organization for Migration in Bangkok, Thailand. 

What were you doing before you came to the Middlebury Institute?

Before MIIS, I was completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware! My experiences on campus with study abroad, service trips with the campus ministry, and interning at the IRC had a huge influence on my decision to go straight to graduate school. MIIS was the perfect fit!

How did you find your internship? What resources would you recommend using?

During my first semester, I printed out a list of all the internships previous students held to get an idea of different possibilities. After deciding what experience I wanted to gain and which organizations I would like to work for, I began to make connections. Carolyn Meyer (Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs) helped me get in contact with the Regional Office here in Bangkok and now I’m here! In my opinion, the best resource is your network! Simply talking to people, asking questions and not being afraid to reach out will take you a long way. Not to mention, the MIIS mafia is strong. We have connections everywhere! 

Have any of the lessons you learned at the Institute been applicable to your current position?

I feel everything I studied at MIIS has been applicable. My internship involves a lot of proposal review. Drawing from my experience in Professor Ortiz’s proposal writing and Beryl’s program evaluation, I have felt confident in utilizing my knowledge to improve project proposals and develop tools. In addition, the hands-on nature at MIIS has taught me how to be critical and innovative. 

What has been your favorite moment of your internship so far?

My supervisor “threw me into the fire”,as he said, and gave me the opportunity to present a new framework to a group of project managers from different country missions. The first big presentation is always the scariest, but it felt good to have the opportunity to put myself out there.

My other favorite moment was my first day. My supervisor once again threw me in and sent me to a meeting to represent the IOM among other UN agencies. I was inspired by the representatives at the meeting and could not believe I was in the same room them. The United Nations has been a dream of mine since my freshman year of high school. Being in that meeting at that moment motivated me to continue on my path. 

 Working abroad can be mentally and physically exhausting. What do you do for self-care?

Bangkok is a busy city. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to find a quiet place to write. I enjoy sitting on my balcony or going to the park for a quiet and pretty place to take a “breather.” 

If you could give first semester-Kimani advice about school, work, internships…what would it be?

It all works out in the end! Don’t doubt yourself!

Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?

I know the process of finding an IPSS placement can be stressful. For anyone who is in the middle of searching for internships, don’t give up! Also, don’t be scared to take this opportunity to learn about a new culture or branch out!

Thank you, Kimani. We wish you all the best moving forward!

If you would like to learn more about IPSS and how you can participate, come to our informational session Thursday, March 1, 2018 in MorseB105 from 12-1pm or check us out online.  



Monday, February 26th, 2018

DPMI Rwanda Spotlight: Tyler Henry

For this month’s DPMI spotlight, we spoke with January 2018 DPMI Rwanda participant Tyler Henry. Tyler is a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in both the Ukraine and in Cameroon. Currently, he is completing his final semester in the MPA program specializing in monitoring and evaluation. He spoke to us about why he chose DPMI Rwanda vs DPMI in the US, challenges he faced during his time in Rwanda,  takeaways from the experience, and provided advice for anyone interested in participating in DPMI in the future. 

Could you tell me a little bit about your background

I’m a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Ukraine from 2013-2014, and in Cameroon from 2014-2016. In Cameroon I worked as a youth development volunteer in a rural school working on active citizenship projects, and in Cameroon I worked at an HIV treatment center as a community health volunteer. At MIIS, I’m completing my last semester in the MPA program specializing in monitoring and evaluation.


Why did you choose to do DPMI Rwanda vs DPMI in the US?

The big selling point of DPMI-Rwanda is the client-based project with Partners In Health. At this point in my academic career, I’ve learned many tools for facilitating projects and programs. I wanted to explore utilizing these tools in a public health setting, and that was exactly what DPMI-Rwanda offered.

What was one unexpected challenge you faced during DPMI Rwanda?

The biggest struggle I had was with group dynamics, but it turned out to be an important learning experience. I wrote about it in my blog here.
Oftentimes, I find group projects tedious and overwhelming. Many classes at MIIS involve ample time spent in groups deliberating over a deliverable or working on a presentation, when I’d much prefe…

What was your biggest takeaway?

It’s often depressing to read about development in an academic settings. There’s a feeling of nihilism that accompanies social change projects, particularly in today’s current political climate. However, seeing the work that’s being done by PIH in Rwanda re-invigorated my belief in sustainable social change. (I explain it better in the link above.)

Do you have any advice for anyone interested in DPMI?

If you’re interested in working in any field that requires critical thinking in order to identify and solve complex social problems, the DPMI curriculum allows you to creatively explore mechanisms for social change. By designing a social marketing campaign for Partners in Health, DPMI-Rwanda gives you the opportunity to immediately employ the concepts being taught as well an opportunity to identify your own approaches to problem solving.

Thank you for sharing your DPMI Rwanda experience with us. We wish you all the best!

If you would like to learn more about DPMI happening this summer in Monterey and D.C., let us know. Email Grecia De La O Abarca at or check us out online.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

MIIS voted as one of Best International Relation Schools in the World

Top Master’s Programs for Policy Career in International Relations

MIIS ranked 30 out of 50 of Best International Relation Schools in the World

Foreign Policy magazine, in collaboration with the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project at the College of William & Mary, is pleased to present the results of the 2018 Ivory Tower survey. The survey provides a snapshot of how top international relations scholars assess their discipline at a moment when the liberal international order — overseen by a U.S. president with little evident attachment to it — is in unprecedented flux. – Foreign Policy Magazine


Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Introduction to the 2018 Startup Challenge competition (Monterey)

Introduction to the 2018 Startup Challenge competition (Monterey)

When: Wed. February 21, 2018 6pm-7:30pm Pacific Time

Where: Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Morse building A101. 426 Van Buren Street, Monterey, CA (map)

Learn more about the Startup Challenge new venture competition and how to apply at one of our introductory sessions held throughout the Monterey Bay region.

What is it? Startup Challenge Monterey Bay helps innovators develop their ideas into new businesses. It supports the founding, funding and growth of new and innovative businesses in the Monterey Bay region. Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is a five month competitive acceleration process that teaches, coaches, mentors, networks and connects entrepreneurs to the knowledge and resources they need. Startup Challenge Monterey Bay empowers entrepreneurs to communicate their ideas effectively to investors, customers and employees.

There are three divisions in the competition:

  • Venture division is open to businesses that are intended to scale and provide venture-investor level returns. • Main Street division is open to small businesses, sole proprietorships, and non-profits.
  • Student division is open to students in high school, community colleges, colleges, and graduate schools.
  • Cash prizes for winners in each division.

Applications due March 12, 2018

For more information about the event go to

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) 2019 Info Session: March 1

Have you heard about our International Professional Service Semester or IPSS, but are unsure what it all entails? Come to Morse B105 from 12:50-1:50 on Thursday, March 1 to get a closer look!

What it can do for you:

IPSS will help you gain hands-on experience working in a public policy or social change organization by working with organizations such as:

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
Conventional Arms Branch (New York City)
Food and Agriculture Organization (Rome, Italy)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Romania)
Marine Conservation Institute (Washington, D.C.)
International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna, Austria)
U.S. Dept. of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Washington, D.C.)
Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (Calca, Peru)
International Organization for Migration (Bangkok, Thailand

and More!

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Summer Research Program with the Andean Alliance For Sustainable Development

The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD) is looking for students to participate in an intensive summer research practicum. The AASD has carried out research for the past four years independently and in conjunction with major US and Peruvian institutions. As members of a research team, students will participate in a complete iteration of a research project, from initial client engagement through deliverable creation and delivery. Not only are our research methods appropriate for these communities, but always attempt to address and positively impact local challenges. The AASD has researched themes ranging from bringing organic produce to market, effects of climate change on small-scale farmers and how access and connectivity affect poverty.


For more information check out their website.

Monday, February 19th, 2018

IEM Spotlight: Anna Galbraith, Andean Alliance

Making new friends in Peru!

Anna Galbraith is a third-semester, IEM student currently completing her practicum with the Andean Alliance in the beautiful Sacred Valley of Peru. We spoke with her recently to see what she has been up to and how her experience at MIIS prepared her for this new opportunity. 

Why did you choose the IEM program at MIIS?

Choosing the IEM program at MIIS was basically a no-brainer. I had been living in Spain teaching English but wanted to transition into something different in the States, something still related to international education but outside of the teaching role. The IEM program valued all of the skills I had learned abroad, but gave me a chance to learn the necessary skills to enter into the field as a manager. Honestly, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I got to spend a year in beautiful Monterey with an amazing cohort; learn from passionate, caring professors; and build my resume with on-campus work (as a GA in Recruiting, and as the Spanish tutor/activity coordinator for SILP). And now I find myself in the Sacred Valley of Peru, starting my practicum with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development!

How did you find your practicum opportunity? What was your strategy?

 My practicum search/decision was pretty seamless. I had worked previously with the organization in Marketing and Recruiting, and fell in love with the organization and their mission. I chose to work with them again in Design and Assessment. During that time I was able to communicate quite a bit with their previous intern, IEM alum JoLyn Rekasis, who had nothing but great things to say about her experience. My goals for practicum were to find a place where I could continue using Spanish (preferably in Latin America), to learn more about service learning, and to be able to try out a variety of responsibilities. The Andean Alliance checked all of the boxes.

Tell me about an incident where your Intercultural Competence (ICC) skills were challenged.

Considering it’s my first time in Latin America, my ICC skills are being tested on a daily basis! I’m also living with a host family, who is absolutely wonderful, but that experience comes with its own little challenges as well. I’m working on questioning my own biases and am finding it interesting to plot my journey on the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (nerdy, I know!). Some minor bumps in the road have been learning how to haggle, which I’m terrible at, and trying to look at guinea pigs as a nutritious, sustainable food source, instead of as adorable pets.

What are some unanticipated challenges you’ve faced so far in your new position?

Considering I knew the organization really well before coming, I wasn’t thrown too many curveballs upon arrival. However, navigating the differences in vocabulary between Spain and Peru has been a fun (read: frustrating) endeavor! That and the prevalence of Quechua makes me feel like I’m learning Spanish all over again.

What is one thing you’ve learned on the job?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve learned that theories of change and program logic models should be fundamental aspects of any organization, which is what they told us in Design and Assessment but which I had secretly hoped was an exaggeration (sorry for doubting you, professors!!).

What has been one highlight of your time abroad so far?

I arrived to Peru just in time to help the Andean Alliance host MIIS and Middlebury College students for J-term. It was exhilarating to experience a program right away and a pleasure to work with such a talented group. We even went to Machu Picchu together, which was an experience I’ll never forget!

Ana enjoying the sites at Macchu Picchu.

What advice do you have for any future IEM practicum students in regards to class choices, internship opportunities, or the IEM field in general?

 My advice would be to try out as many different classes and opportunities while on campus as possible, as that was the best way for me to determine what excited me and what didn’t. Definitely use the classes with learning partners as a way to become acquainted with the opportunities available. I also suggest taking an honest look at your own gaps in knowledge and taking advantage of the resources on campus to fill them (I’m looking at you, Excel workshops!). When it comes to practicum, go with your gut, and take into account your own personal goals as well as educational/professional ones. Oh, and while you’re in Monterey, take advantage of all of the natural beauty that the area has to offer. Sunset study breaks are ALWAYS a good idea.


Thank you for sharing your experience with us Anna. We wish you continued success!

To learn more about the IEM program or if you have questions about practicum, please contact or view us online.

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

MIIS students ask tough questions to world leaders…and get answers.

Snapshot of Oliver Grau recording his question for OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría.

In January 2018, students enrolled in IPSS workshops had the opportunity to participate in a social media engagement campaign hosted by the World Economic Forum. The campaign encouraged students to ask a world leader at the Forum a question in response to the prompt “How can we create a #sharedfuture?”

Current International and Policy Development student Oliver Grau asked, “How we can create a sense of shared ownership for those who feel detached from globalizing forces?

Secrety General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría, replied!

See his video response here!

Click here to learn more about the How can we create a #sharedfuture campaign.


Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

IEM Practicum, DPMI Plus, IONP, MGIMO, IPSS, and FMS internships for Spring 2018 Announced

For Spring 2018, a total of 57 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, DC. Top cities include 7 positions in DC, 6 in the Bay Area, and 6 in New York City. Internationally, they are spread across five continents and 21 countries (Peru, France, Senegal, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Russia, Austria, Thailand, Cambodia, Kenya, Switzerland, Zambia, the Netherlands, Argentina, Laos, Mexico, Canada, Nepal, Ecuador, and Indonesia.

Programs include the International Education Management (IEM) Practicum, DPMI Plus, International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO),and the International Professional Service Semester, (IPSS).

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

International Education Management (IEM) Practicum

Name Placement Location
Anatoliy Artamonov Perlata  Community College District SF Bay Area
Anna Galbraith Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development Peru
Ashley Gauer Global Majority/Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Monterey, CA
Emily Bastian Student-Athletes Abroad Monterey, CA
Ashley Bayman University of California, Santa Cruz, Global Engagement Santa Cruz, CA
Carol Lin Sciences Po Bordeaux France
Chelsea Lavallee* UNESCO Senegal
David Austin VIA Programs Monterey, CA
Gabriela Ray VIA Programs Monterey, CA
Kathleen Tyson Technical University of Denmark Denmark
Leslie Miles Marymount University International Student Services Arlington, VA
Madison Mentz University College Cork Ireland
Margot Draeger* IRC and Kidnected Salt Lake City
Paige Wheeler International Student House Washington, DC
Pilar Diaz de la Rubia Middlebury Schools Abroad Spain: Madrid Spain/U.S.
Stephanie Espinoza Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego San Diego, CA
Grace O’Dell MIIS CACS Monterey, CA
Ting Wang San Jose State University San Jose, CA

 *Dual Degree (IEM/MPA) student


Name  Placement  Location
Chndyli Tara Rogel FHI 360 Washington, DC
Megan Garland Mercy Corps Portland, Oregon
Ekshana Karki Chhetri Youth Workforce and Entrepreneur at World Learning Washington, DC
Chelsea Lavallee* UNESCO Dakar Dakar, Senegal
Margot Draeger* IRC/Kidnected World Salt Lake City, UT
Ashley Gauer* Global Majority/Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Monterey, CA

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)

Name Placement Location
Caroline Day Exiger Diligence New York, NY
Leonid Demidov The M&A Advisor Forest Hills, NY
Summer Gary UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, NY
Adlan Margoev PIR Center Moscow, Russia
Noah Mayhew* International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria
Alain Ponce Blancas PIR Center Moscow, Russia
Alicia Rorabaugh iJet Integrated Risk Menlo Park, CA
Alexander Ross TESLA San Carlos, CA
Daria Selezneva* UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, NY

*Also completing IONP fellowships

International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP)

Name Placement Location
Daria Selezneva UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, NY
Noah Mayhew* International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS)


Name Organization Location
Elizabeth Brooks LAM, Sciences Po-Bordeaux Bordeaux, France
Luciane Coletti Conservation International Foundation Arlington County, VA
Kimani DeShields-Williams International Organization for Migration (IOM) Bangkok, Thailand
Elizabeth Fisher UNICEF Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mikki Franklin Combating Terrorism Center, West Point New York State
Madiha Jamal LSA Environmental Consulting and CA Coastal Commission California
Andrew Kiemen Measure to Improve, LLC Salinas, CA
Julia Lipkis International Rescue Committee New York City
Alexandra Long City of Anchorage Resilience Program, Mayor’s Office Anchorage, Alaska
Steven Luber UNIDIR Geneva, Switzerland
Thabo Mubukwanu United Nations Development Programme Lusaka, Zambia
Libiao Pan Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization The Hague, The Netherlands
Aricquel Payne Six Square Austin, TX
Mariko Powers Conservation International Foundation Manila, Philippines
Lama Ranjous and UN MGCY New York City
Laura Schroeder InterAction DC
Rebecca Sher Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de America Latina (CADAL) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Patrick Wilhelmy Kuli Kuli (FMS Fellow) Bay Area, California
Stephanie Villalobos William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies Washington, DC
Zijuan (Fiona) Huang Save the Children Vientiane,Laos
Mario Lamar US State    Department Mexico City, Mexico
Taylor Hadnot Schaffer &  Combs Bay Area, California
Brijlal Chaudhari Paurakhi Savings &    Credit Cooperative Limited Toronto, Canada and Parsa District, Nepal
Nasema Zeerak UNFPA New York City



Name Placement Location
Bin Li* Nexus for Development Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Camilla Vogt* Unreasonable Boulder, CO
Celina Lima Marquete Fair Trade Thailand/ Cambodia
Emily O’Hara* Village Capital Washington, DC
Jennie Vader* Digital Undivided Atlanta, GA
Kaitlyn Throgmorton Impaqto Quito, Ecuador
*Non-MIIS Students

Conflict Resolution

Name Placement Location
Onaba Payab Asia Foundation Washington, D.C.

Independent Practicum

Name Organization Location
Lauren Halloran Search for Common Ground Nairobi, Kenya

International Environmental Policy

Name Placement Location
Clesi Bennett San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

IEM Spotlight: Dan Solomon

Daniel Solomon is a graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).  He is currently interning within Intercultural Learning at CIEE, fulfilling the practicum portion of his master’s program in International Education Management.  He has been living in Valparaíso, Chile, and working out of the CIEE study center in Valparaíso, since July of this year.

This interview was kindly conducted by Martha Shtapura-Ifrah, Center Director, Haifa

Title: Intercultural Learning Intern
Hometown: Arlington Heights, Illinois
M: Where are you from originally?  Where have you lived?

D: Originally, I am from the suburbs of Chicago, though I’ve lived mostly outside of Chicago since 2009. I lived in Israel for one year as a community service volunteer and an event coordinator. I came back to the US for the holidays in 2010 while I was waiting for my working holiday visa for New Zealand to come through. Originally that experience was supposed to be for a year, but I obtained another visa and stayed for 2 years. I later did some travelling across the U.S. and Southeast Asia on the way to Australia, where I did another work and holiday visa for a year. When I came back to the US this time I decided that I wanted to take my international living experience and apply it towards a future career in international education.

While I was job searching, I began working for Cirque du Soleil and traveled with them for almost a year. Later in the run, I started to apply for graduate schools with international programs and I was accepted into the International Education Management program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

M: What was your bachelor’s degree in?

D: My bachelor’s degree was in visual communication with a minor in marketing. My life, prior to the travelling described before, was in live entertainment where I worked in customer service and event coordination.

M: I feel like you have what I call “the travelling virus.”

D: Yes, that would be accurate. That was instilled in me from childhood. My father, growing up in Chicago, always wanted to drive and see other parts of the country. I think when he was a kid they made one trip out to California and that was all he got. So, when I was old enough, I think I was 10, we made our first road trip. Every year my dad would look at a map and pick a different direction away from Chicago and that was the direction we would go. In my childhood I got to see a large part of the country through the windows of the minivan and that obviously carried on to the rest of my life.

M: How did you come to Chile? What was your incentive?

D: When it came time to actually look into practicum placements, I was focused on an institute of higher education in the US. My goal is to work in a study abroad office, to encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad, so I wasn’t thinking about doing an international practicum or working with a program provider. One of my professors who came to know me well over the year in Monterey, including my interest in intercultural development, sent me information on an intercultural learning internship with CIEE. I had completed a course with this professor during J term where we went on site visits to universities, program providers, and branch campuses at different sites in Madrid and CIEE’s orientation session was the site visit that most impressed me. At that point, I got in touch with Elsa and we talked about what an internship would look like. The options presented to me where working remotely from the U.S., going to the CIEE offices in Portland, or coming to Valparaíso. An important component for me was being in an environment where students are, so it made sense to want to be on-site.  In addition, this region of South America topped my personal travel wish list and would allow me to continue developing my Spanish language skills.

M. How has your experience been so far?

D. It’s been great. Certainly there were challenges, especially with the language. I studied Spanish in high school for three years, but I hadn’t studied Spanish for over 15 years before my graduate degree. One of the highlights at MIIS is that they require a language as part of the program. They allowed me to do a summer language intensive program, a year’s worth of college Spanish in 8 weeks, before starting my degree program and that’s what really sent me on this path. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Madrid, and I wouldn’t have been able to come here to Chile. Even with that, the Chilean way of speaking, which drops some of the consonants like the “d” or the “s” sounds at the end of words, and adds a lot of slang or colloquial words that have origins in the indigenous populations, has taken getting used to.

M: Have you noticed any differences in nonverbal communication as well?

D: When I’m on public transportation, there’s more acceptance of physical contact than there would be in the US.

M: Can you describe the family that you lived with?

D: I live with my host mom, Rosa, two of her sons, and a “nephew” who is the son of one of Rosa’s good friends. He’s going to school in the area, but he is from the north of the country. So there’s 4 of us.

M: And how was the experience in the beginning? A bit awkward?

D. Yes, I think it was a bit awkward at the start. The first day that I moved in, the grandmother passed away. I think that one of the good things that came out of me being a new person that joined their family is that it was an

opportunity where all of the family members from both the extreme north and extreme south ends of Chile came together in the middle to celebrate the life of their mother and grandmother and I got to meet the family all together in one place. I come into the house after a walk and I am greeted by 30 people doing karaoke. That was my welcome to the family.

M: I wanted to ask you what you’ve learned about your host culture and your own culture but first we need to define what your culture is. How would you define yourself culturally?

D: I am definitely American in a lot of ways. As much as I’ve travelled, and consider myself understanding of cultural differences, I am still very heavily on the individualist side, and that is an American trait. It was me deciding on my own to leave the US and go live in Israel, or New Zealand, or Australia. Coming here and being part of this culture in Chile, a collectivist culture, I like it. My ancestors came from Russia, from a more collectivist society, and I see that in a lot of what my mom says or what my grandparents said. It was nice to come to Chile and be part of that, to live in a host family where at least once a week the family gets together for a big meal. Either we’re having the meal in our house or it’s an opportunity to go visit one of Rosa’s friends or family friends because it is ingrained into the culture here. Lunch is a big part of that. In many U.S. offices work is the most important thing. A lot of times you go and get lunch, and then sit by your desk and just keep working. You don’t really take time out to have a real lunch. Here, between 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock, everyone stops what they’re doing and we all spend an hour having lunch together in the office. It’s definitely something to appreciate. I think that my next stop, when I leave here and go back to the U.S. for my next job, that would be a difficult readjustment. “What do you mean I have this half an hour lunch break that I need to take by myself?”

M: Did you learn anything new about yourself while being an intern?

D: I’ve learned that I can survive in a Spanish speaking environment. It is nice that I have this other language skill and that I don’t have to rely on someone else’s level of English.

M: What are some of the most meaningful projects that you were involved with?

D: Going over IDI data from the Spring 2017 semester and breaking that information out by study center, by region, and by demographics of the students. In addition, looking at the ICL course evaluations that we were able to collect and looking at student feedback. Those were all incorporated into the Academic Affairs Outcome Report. The second project is the newsletter and that’s been really good as a way to have contact with some of the instructors in different parts of the world who are doing the Embedded Intercultural Component, who are running the ICL, or who are willing to do interviews with interns for newsletters. What I’m starting to work on, Elsa and I are going to facilitate a training for staff to run the Embedded, or a variation of that. And that will be, I think, the most rewarding component of my internship. It is just in the early stages at this point.

M: what have you learned significantly from the internship?

D: it’s almost been like another intercultural communication course for me. I took the Embedded Intercultural Component course myself and now I am looking into being able to adapt that and facilitate that for this next round. The ICL course didn’t run in Valparaíso, but I had access to all the facilitation notes and the readings so it’s been good for me to have the opportunity to continue my own personal training and to have access to different articles and resources that I didn’t have during my degree program. I think that has been one of the largest components of my learning, a continued personal development of my intercultural sensitivity.

M: What has been the highlight of your internship so far?

D: The people. I work in a wonderful office and everyone’s been, even from the start, extremely welcoming of me here. And those lunches help, we have all that time to spend together and have conversations and get to know each other. I enjoy coming in and saying hello to everybody. In Chile you greet people by touching your right cheek to their right cheek. It’s something you don’t usually do with people you don’t know well in the US, what would be considered intimate contact. But here, even if I meet someone for the first time, if I am introduced to someone at work or in my host family, that’s how we greet each other.

M: If you could summarize in one word your total experience in Chile, what would you say?

D: I would say enlightening. Being an older student in graduate school, and now being here and living with a host family and working on these projects, it’s like I’ve had the opportunity to do a real study abroad experience with all the information that I have now on how to adjust and how to go through the stages of cultural transition. I think that everything that I’m going through and experiencing in my time in Chile will be valuable in my being able to see this from a student’s perspective and being able to support them throughout their  study abroad journey with empathy, knowledge, and sound advice.

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

IPSS 2018 January Pre-Departure Workshops Announced

The International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) program at MIIS recently announced its January 4 -17, 2018 workshop schedule. A summary of workshop offerings is as follows:

High-Value Organizational Consulting (IPSS 8530 A, 1-2 credits, Pass/Fail) Jan 4-5, 9:00am-5:00pm

This workshop will be taught by organizational expert and successful government, nonprofit, and private-sector consultant, Dr. Beryl Levinger.  Participants will learn tools for analyzing an organization, its culture, its approach to meeting mission, and ecosystem analysis.  They will also master key skills for effective organizational consulting including client reconnaissance; client relationship management; and the creation of value-added consultant deliverables.  The 15 contact hour workshop in January can be taken for 1 or 2 credits. Students wishing to earn 2 credits for this workshop will turn additional deliverables in the first month of their internship – these deliverables will help them apply the tools they have learned in this workshop to better understand their host organizations. Instructor: Dr. Beryl Levinger.

Designing and Evaluating Interventions (IPSS 8531 A, 1 credit, Pass/Fail) Jan. 13-14, 9:00am-5:00pm

This workshop will cover basic tools and steps involved in designing successful interventions (i.e. projects and programs) and effectively evaluating these interventions.  This workshop will prepare students to assist the growing number of organizations across various specializations that are trying to establish more systematic design and evaluation systems. Instructor: Emily Morris; Monitoring, Evaluation & Research Technical Advisor, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC).

Quantitative Data Analysis in a Professional Setting w/ Excel (IPSS 8532A, 1 credit, Pass/Fail) Jan 6-7, 9:00am-5:00pm

This course is designed to meet the needs of graduate school level students who are looking to improve their understanding and abilities to collect and analyze data using Microsoft Excel. Collection and analysis are covered in the same course because proper planning and collection of good quality information requires understanding of data analysis and vice versa. The course will be broken up into three distinct modules that are each catered to the skill set of the respective audiences: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Instructor: Kevin Morenzi.

Applied Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis (IPSS 8533A, 1 credit, Pass/Fail) Jan. 11-12, 9:00am-5:00pm

Students will acquire and practice tools essential for systematically analyzing qualitative data as a professional in the government, nonprofit, or private sectors. “Learning by doing” will be the main instruction approach. Examples from typical assignments from professional setting such as needs assessment, policy analysis, and M&E will be used to facilitate learning. Instructor: Scott Gregory Pulizzi

Networked International Organizations: Using Networks, Measurement, and Social Media for Learning That Leads To Impact (IPSS 8534A, 1 credit, Pass/Fail) Jan 16-17, 9:00am-5:00m

This two-day workshop will help create an integrated communications strategy that makes effective use of social media and mobile tactics and tools to get results for their host organizations.   Those results may be increased brand awareness, fundraising, inspiring and mobilizing stakeholders to take action, or outreach.  The course will also help students develop a professional learning and networking strategy that will help them deepen the impact of their internship and support their career goals. Instructor: Beth Kanter, an author who was recently named “One of the Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company.

These professional skill workshops will be open to students and professional outside of the IPSS program space-permitting. Please email to express interest.

Monday, November 27th, 2017

D-Prize Social Venture Competition

The application deadline for the D-Prize social venture competition is on December 10th!

According to the folks at D-Prize, the world has already invented a lot of ways to combat poverty, but the best interventions struggle to ever be distributed at mass-scale. This competition is meant to identify business or NGO designs that solves one of their Distribution Challenges.

What’s the prize? Up to 30 social entrepreneurs will be awarded up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in any region where extreme poverty exists.

Who should apply? You should have enormous ambition, and can imagine yourself as a successful entrepreneur. You are ready to launch your new venture, and – if a pilot proves successful – you are excited to grow it into a world changing organization.

Yea, but I’m a student… Don’t worry! If you’re still a student or have existing commitments, you should be able to share a clear idea how you would transition into a full-time founder.

D-Prize is exclusively interested in ventures that will scale distribution of an already proven poverty intervention in the developing world. They do not fund prototypes of promising new interventions

Join the competition today by filling out the 2017 application packet.

If you want to hear more, check out their TEDxTalk.

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

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!

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