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.

 

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Register for Professional Development Weekend Workshops offered in Fall 2017.

Every semester we offer weekend workshops to our graduate students on a wide variety of topics from Development Practice and Policy, Intercultural Competence, International Education Management,  and Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies.

The Professional Development Weekend Workshops are also open to interested professionals, community members, and students and faculty from other institutions. Access the Fall 2017 workshop listing. For inquiries, please contact: professional.dev@miis.edu.

Apply for a weekend workshop.

Search weekend workshop descriptions in our course catalog.

 

http://www.miis.edu/academics/short/executive-education/options/weekend-workshops

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Addy’s experience as United Nations Intern in Lima

Addy Michelle Jimenez Haga, IPD

United Nations Centre for Peace, Disarmament, and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Peru

January 2nd to June 31st, 2017

Summary of Experience:

Throughout my internship with the United Nations (UN), I have been given the privilege to learn about administrative mannerisms, arms trafficking, forensic ballistics, Resolution 1540, the missing links within the private security sector, and life cycle of its projects, how the UN executes grant writing and much more. I have been able to integrate into an 8-5 job, where I work mostly alone, and where I have developed my own due dates; this has been a change from the intense, rich feedback and team oriented culture at MIIS. However, it has been an enriching experience, and extremely conducive towards seamlessly introducing me to the paying-professional world after I honorably receive my Master’s degree from MIIS.

UNLIREC asked me to keep my blog discrete, which motivated me to be more involved and creative within my in Lima. From the congested city, endless honking, foul smells, to the loving people, kind souls, and delectable food, all whilst enduring stomach infections throughout. This opportunity has tested my resilience and has shown me that I am much more capable, patient, smarter and stronger than I thought.

Thank you for contributing towards this internship in Lima, Peru. I was once told in Peace Corps to represent America as if I was an ambassador each and every day; I have taken this mentality with me everywhere I go. With this said, I am honored to represent MIIS, and am working as hard as possible, being as innovative as possible, and being as positive as possible, to leave the Mafia footprint in Lima.

Read Addy’s blog

 

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Application for Student Art Exhibition

If you have any art project that you would like to share with Committee on Art in Public Places (CAPP) or want to organize an art exhibition on campus, please submit Arts Project ProposalFor more details click here.

Monday, May 1st, 2017

How My DPMI Plus Experience Paid Off More Than I Ever Expected

Sarah Terherst completed DPMI Plus in the Spring of 2017. She is currently working as the Field Program Coordinator for the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth projected based in Niamey, Niger.

I’m one of those weirdos who has known what they wanted to do for a long time. I wanted to work in “development” before I ever knew it was an actual sector. When I was very young I lived in Togo and saw extreme poverty and subsistence farming first hand. Since then I’ve wanted to work in what I used to call “sustainable agriculture” which is now coined as “improved livelihoods” and “resilience.” When I joined MIIS I believed it would be the tipping point of my career, tying together all of my past experiences and launching me into my desired future career: program manager, in the field, somewhere in Africa, working on food security. So, naturally, I jumped at my first opportunity to take DPMI which then propelled me into the DPMI+ program.

 

I strongly believe that one of the best things that MIIS has to offer is the Career and Advising Center (CACS) and my journey here is a testament to that. When applying for my DPMI+, I reached out to my favorite professors as well as Gael and Scott at CACS and applied to over 30 positions. Scott spent a lot of time with me, explaining how food security projects worked overseas and told me about certain organizations who implement USAID-funded projects. He even reached out to some of his contacts on my behalf which led to an interview for the Livestock and Market Development Internship position at Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). I was offered the internship and headed out to Washington D.C. shortly after the new year. Just three months after I started my internship I became a full time employee for CNFA working on a different project. I am now a Field Program Coordinator for the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) project based in Niamey, Niger.

 

For me, my DPMI+ experience led me exactly toward my career goals. And, I’m incredibly grateful to still have access to resources like Beryl, Scott, and Gael as I start a new role in a new place. As I’m given new tasks or come across challenges within the project, it’s great to have their insight and guidance at my fingertips.

 

I think my biggest advice to students considering DPMI+ would be two-fold. First, if you want to work in development definitely take DPMI. Understanding how development projects work; how they are designed, implemented, scaled, and how impact is measured is ESSENTIAL and gives you a great framework to work from. Second, while you are applying for your DPMI+ assignments only apply to organizations where you want to work. Don’t look at your DPMI+ as just another way to get more experience that you hope someday will matter to a recruiter.  Search for internships and opportunities that are actually in the sector and/or role you want to be working in. Pursue your career through DPMI+. I’m not gonna lie…internships are not glamorous…at my internship in D.C. I emptied and loaded dishwashers daily. But, at the same time and in the same role, I learned how USAID-funded projects operate, I gained a wealth of knowledge about livestock and agricultural projects, and I landed a full time gig.

 

I have in no away arrived. I feel more like I’m starting over. I’m in a new country, working on a new project, and speaking in a different language. I think the picture here is a perfect summary of my time so far in the field. Notice: the other two women beside me are not hysterically laughing. That is because they actually know what’s going on around them…they know exactly which appropriate customs should take place at this baptism and they completely understand the French as well as both local languages being spoken around them. Meanwhile, I’m just cracking up having a good ol’ time while I blunder through my time here. It’s a blast and I’m loving every minute.

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

IEM Symposium April 27th!

Hey all! Next week is Symposium! Come out (or log on to Zoom) and support current practicum students in the 8-10am and 4-6pm sessions, as well as those in the 12-2pm session presenting on NAFSA Advocacy Day, Team Spain, CIES and Diversity Abroad!

To log-on via Zoom (no download required), please visit http://go.miis.edu/iemsymp2017

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Social Impact Management Workshop and Internship in Colombia with Fundacion E2E

TALLER PARA LA GESTIÓN DE IMPACTO SOCIAL (TGIS) TGIS is a competitive international program in Medellín, Colombia for current and aspiring social impact practitioners on project design and management, impact measurement, and organizational sustainability. Participants collaborate with Colombian and international students, professionals, and community leaders to solve real issues using cutting-edge tools. TGIS is an unparalleled experience in a collaborative classroom environment where participants learn methods they can apply directly in their work. The program also offers MIIS students the opportunity for a 12-week internship in conjunction with the course, with placements across Colombia. The TGIS curriculum is created in cooperation with the Program on Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI).

To learn more and apply, visit: http://fundacione2e.org/en_US/tgis-application/

TGIS June Flyer MIIS (1)

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Call Out for Community Stories !!

Have you made a connection with the local Monterey Community during your time at MIIS? If you have, please do share your stories with us. We will feature you and your partnership with the community. BE PART OF A PHOTO ESSAY showing MIIS & Monterey Community Partnership. Your stories will be developed as photo exhibit that will be displayed on MIIS Campus, Monterey Museum of Arts, and local city halls.

Send us an email if you want to be part of the project or want to nominate someone for the project at immersive@miis.edu 

Deadline: April 21, 2017

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Thinking of connecting locally over the summer?

Please check out the Community Collaboration Lab page and Explore the Past, Present and Future of Collaborative Learning. MIIS and California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB) have been collaborating on a project called Community CollaborationLab (CoLab). The underlying question being explored is: How might we have more meaningful, long-term engagements with community organizations that we partner with? This includes student, faculty and staff projects, practica and research. In an effort to collect and share historical data, Immersive Learning has been capturing a range of information on collaborative learning with the local community and surrounding areas. The list of the local partner organizations are listed on our database, if you exploring organizations for summer internships in Monterey County.

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Katie’s learning experience in Medellin, Colombia

In January 2017, I participated in the first Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) program held in Medellín, Colombia. This opportunity facilitated significant learning in the following three areas: 1) learning the DPMI course content in the workshop, 2) applying the content in a two-week internship, and 3) gaining exposure to international development in the Colombian context. To find out more, click here

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Learn about Radwa’s immersive learning experience with DPMI Cairo, Egypt

Radwa’s immersive learning experience with DPMI Cairo, Egypt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

IPSS Spotlight: Megan Godfrey

Megan Godfrey is currently working on the Arctic Policy and Governance Educational Partnership, an innovative collaboration between Universities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Alaska, and indigenous organizations. The Partnership seeks to enhance the effectiveness of Arctic policy and governance by advancing new approaches to the policy-science-indigenous knowledge interface.

Why did you choose to apply to IPSS?

One of the main reasons I chose to attend MIIS was for the IPSS program. The opportunity to apply my academic knowledge and skills in a professional setting was one I could not pass up!

How did you find your organization and why did you apply to it?

I started working for Dr. Brendan Kelly at the Center for Blue Economy on campus early last fall. Dr. Kelly is the Executive Director of Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) and also works for the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), where I am currently doing my IPSS assignment. I greatly enjoyed working with him and learning more about the Arctic– and when he mentioned the Alaska Arctic Policy Partnership, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The partnership is a new collaboration between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state of Alaska, and indigenous organizations that seeks to facilitate better interaction between institutions involved in natural resource management management in Arctic Alaska. It is based on a framework that builds trust and respect by establishing a policy-science-indigenous knowledge interface that emphasizes collaborative problem solving, knowledge sharing, and policy formation in Arctic Alaska.

What is something unexpected that has happened or a challenge you have faced (job duty, culture shock, etc) and how has that impacted your experience?
I’ve been very lucky in this internship to have very supportive supervisors and mentors who’ve helped guide me and my work. I suppose that the greatest challenge for me was preparing myself for the move from beautiful Monterey. I was pretty nervous about moving to Fairbanks, Alaska in the middle of winter– long dark days, COLD (hello -50F!). Once I got here, I realized I had nothing to worry about. I absolutely love it here! Fairbanks is beautiful. Blue, sunny skies, lush spruce forests, amazing cross country ski trails and hot springs. Basically paradise for an IEP student. A few weeks ago Sorina and I (another IPSS student) rented fat tire snow bikes and went mountain biking. So much fun! Needless to say, I’m hooked on Alaska.

How do you see this internship helping you reach your future career goals?
This internship has shown me what it’s like to work with diverse groups (academia, scientists, the federal government, etc.) and the importance of relationship building and collaborative problem solving (working together, identifying problems together, and brainstorming solutions together). Since my internship began in February, I’ve attended two conferences; the Alaska Forum for the Environment and The North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings, which have been extremely valuable networking opportunities.

What skills from MIIS have you found most useful in your current position?
In addition to having the background knowledge in natural resource management and economics, I need to do my work, I have found that presenting has been a huge! Being able to effectively and clearly communicate ideas to large audiences is absolutely vital in the work that I do. I used to hate doing presentations at MIIS, but now I see why good presentation/communication skills are absolutely essential. Thanks MIIS!

What advice do you have for students preparing for their IPSS practicum search?
Pick an organization that you are interested in or that works with something you are passionate about! IPSS is a stepping stone towards a professional career and gives you a taste of what it’s like to work your dream job– take it seriously. Also, it’s important to find a faculty advisor/mentor that can support you and help you out along the way.

 

Thank you Megan! We wish you continued success in the future!

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Current IPSS intern, Matthew Coomer, blogs about working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Want to learn more about what it’s really like to be an IPSS intern? Check out this blog from current Marine Debris Program intern Matthew Coomer!

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

MIIS Writers Wanted!

The Middlebury Campus is now featuring “Dispatches from Monterey” and the editors are looking for Op-Ed pieces from the Monterey community.

The Opinions pages of The Middlebury Campus provide a forum for constructive and respectful dialogue on substantive issues. The opinions expressed by contributors to the Opinions section, as well as reviews, columns, editorial comics and other commentary, are views of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

If you are interested, email Caitlin Towers (ctowers@miis.edu) or campus@middlebury.edu

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Learn about what the NPTS students did in their J-Term in Czech Republic: Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum

MIIS, Czech Technical University: Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum January 15th–January 27th 2017

In January of 2017, nine MIIS students traveled to Prague and Vienna to attend the first Nuclear Research Reactor Practicum. This program was created in conjunction with MIIS and the Czech Technical University (CTU) to help bridge the technical gap often experienced in policyoriented students’ educations.

Dr. Lubomir Sklenka and his colleague, Judy Vyshniauskas, traveled to Monterey last year to explore opportunities for cooperation between MIIS and CTU. Dr. Jeffrey Knopf, Dr. George Moore and Carolyn Meyer teamed up and the two groups of academics crafted a comprehensive program that included lectures, experiments and day trips to additional nuclear facilities. Joe Brazda, senior manager at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), worked closely with Dr. Sklenka and Mrs. Vyshniauskas to create an internship program for one student from the course who would then stay in Prague to conduct research at the reactor.

The curriculum, spanning a period of two weeks, was comprehensive in its scope. Students attended lectures whose topics included nuclear safety and security, safeguards, research and power reactor construction and operations, front and back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, emergency preparedness, radiation protection and waste management among a host of other issues. The reactor division team at CTU rotated their lectures as different scientists presented their research in areas of reactor operations and management for both research and power reactors. It was clear the CTU team spent an enormous amount of time preparing the material and presenting it in a fashion that students from a non-technical background would understand.

In addition to the series of lectures, Dr. Sklenka and his team guided the students through a number of hands-on experiments utilizing the VR1 Sparrow reactor located on campus. At the operator’s station in the control room, students were shown how to manipulate the reactor’s control rods in an experiment on how to reach pre-determined power levels. Once the process was fully demonstrated, and training was provided on how to read the information displayed on the room’s monitors and gauges, each student was allowed to sit at the operator’s station and individually manipulate the reactor. During a neutron activation analysis experiment, a sample of material was placed into an experiment tube and lowered into the reactor where it was irradiated. This sample was then placed in a high purity germanium detector (HPGe) where its gamma ray radiation was analyzed against an online database to determine the composition of the sample. In yet another experiment, students learned about the distinction between prompt and delayed neutrons and the role they play in a reactor. More than 99% of neutrons in the fission process are prompt, meaning they are released immediately after the fissioning of an atom. Although delayed neutrons, which are released very shortly after prompt neutrons, are only a small portion of the neutrons in a reactor, a reactor would be uncontrollable without them. These hands on experiments brought a level of clarity to research reactor applications that could not be attained through lectures alone and greatly enhanced the learning experience for the students.

Dr. Sklenka arranged for a number of day trips to nuclear facilities located around the Czech Republic. The first journey involved a train ride through the Czech countryside to the Rez Research Center and reactor complex. The students were guided throughout the complex and were given presentations on its LR15 research reactor and a LR0 zero power reactor. Students were allowed to stand on top of the LR15 reactor vessel and peer into the core where the fuel assemblies glowed blue due to the presence of Cherenkov radiation while a reactor Director described day to day operations. They were then taken to the zero power reactor where scientists conduct experiments using molten fluoride salts as a primary cooling material in nuclear reactors. The afternoon was then devoted to presentations at the National Radiation Protection Institute where scientists and engineers monitor the Czech Republic for radiation incidents as well as conduct testing and analysis on anyone who might have been exposed to radiation.

The second day trip involved a trip to Skoda nuclear reactor production plant and a cultural event. Skoda is a massive industrial complex in a town named Pilzn that manufactures nuclear facility components, fuel management casks, fuel replacement rail vehicles and many other large industrial materials. A representative from Skoda gave a brief presentation on the company then led the students on a tour of a building where reactor vessels were produced as well as spent fuel casks. Reactor vessels hold the fuel assemblies and weigh up to 440 tons while spent fuel casks can weigh 70 tons, even without the two lids used to shield the fuel and seal the casks. The scope of nuclear facility production was well demonstrated and the student’s knowledge of how spent fuel is managed was significantly increased. The day did not end there. The guide then brought the students to the Pilsner Urquell brewery where they were provided with lunch, a tour and subsequent beer tasting!

The third and final day trip appeared to be the most popular with the students and was a unique and rewarding excursion. Dr. Sklenka used his relationship with the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant management team to provide the students with a tour of the facility along with three presentations covering issues in nuclear power plant management, long-term energy planning and the training and experience required to become a nuclear power plant operator. Temelin is an impressive facility with two 1000MW light-water power reactors and four cooling towers that provide 20% of the electricity consumed in the Czech Republic. The tour and presentations were followed by a comprehensive orientation in the facility’s simulation control room. The simulation control room is designed to replicate the actual control room in every detail in order to certify new operators and conduct training in nuclear safety and security. The guides described the control panels and the layers of safety mechanisms involved in their safety programs to ensure safe operations in case of an incident. One student was asked to switch off a portion of the simulated cooling system which resulted in a series of control rods automatically dropping into the fuel assembly in order to reduce power. Another student SCRAMMED (to instantly shut down all power) by pressing and emergency switch and dropping all control rods in the reactor vessel demonstrating what operators would do if a complete shut-down became necessary. This type of hands-on learning was invaluable and the students agreed visiting Temelin was a highlight of an already amazing practicum.

Dr. Sklenka concluded the course with an exam and a Q&A with the students so he and his team could find ways to improve the program. It was a fruitful discussion and the students and CTU team bade each other farewell so the students could travel to Vienna for the last day of the practicum. The CTU team and MIIS students had clearly become friends and everyone agreed the practicum was a great success.

The final day of the practicum was spent at the IAEA and the CTBTO, located in the Vienna International Center (VIC), where the students toured both facilities and attended lectures by IAEA and CTBTO professionals. The IAEA team lectured on nuclear safety and security, safeguards and emergency management. The students were allowed to tour the Incident and Emergency Center where the IAEA team centers its incident and emergency responses. At the CTBTO, MIIS alumnus Keegan McGrath brought the students to the International Data Center where a senior manager explained how he and his colleagues monitor the information arriving from the international monitoring stations (IMS) located around the world. Mr. McGrath then took the students to the on-site radionuclide monitoring station located at the CTBTO. The final activity for the practicum was held at the UN bar where Laura Rockwood, Executive Secretary of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation (VCDNP and CNS’s Vienna office) hosted an all MIIS social event where past and current students, interns and UN staffers were invited to meet and greet. The students had a wonderful time with their MIIS Mafia colleagues on their final day in Vienna. Nate Taylor, M.A in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies candidate, returned to Prague where he is currently conducting research relating to safeguards and research reactors during a three month internship. In a final review, the entire experience was a tremendous success with much recognition and gratitude going to Dr. Sklenka and the MIIS team for their tireless efforts in designing and executing a richly rewarding practicum. Here are some comments from students who attended:

“In addition to the site visits, the hands-on experiments were extremely interesting and helped cement concepts we had only previously learned on a theoretical basis.” Tiara Shaya MANPTS ‘18

The trip was a great opportunity to physically apply our theoretical knowledge about reactors which we learned at MIIS.  Anthony Musa MANPTS ‘17

The thing that I enjoyed most about the faculty at CTU was their worried looks when we took the reins of the Sparrow research reactor… then messing it up horribly. Aron Riggin MANPTS ‘18

The Czech Research Reactor Practicum was, without a doubt, one of the best educational
opportunities I have ever had. The chance to interact with a research reactor, and to actuallty pra
ctically apply the concepts of neutron detection and dosimetry measurement gave me an understanding of those concepts that I would not have been able to achieve with theoretical reading alone.
Nate Taylor MANPTS ‘17

The tour of the Skoda facility gave me an entirely newperspective on the difficulty of diverting fissile material from the back end of the fuel cycle. Once nuclear fuel has been sealed inside of one of Skoda’s CASTOR spent fuel casks, it’s not going anywhere undetected. Lesley Kucharski MANPTS ‘18

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Tangut’s 2017 J-Term: DPMI in Monterey.

 

My name is Tangut Degfay, I am from Ethiopia, and a first year student in the Development Practice and Policy program at MIIS. I first learned about DPMI during my senior year at Middlebury College because few friends of mine came to Monterey over J-term to take it. I was unable to join DPMI back then because I part of another similar intensive professional training on the Middlebury campus called MiddCORE. My experience with MiddCORE inspired me to join DPMI, because I truly enjoyed the intensive, mentor-led training aspect of it.

Coming into DPMI, my expectations were more about being able to put together all the theories and skills learned in the normal academic setting and changing them into something tangible. As well as being able to use the training to identify personal strengths and areas for improvement. For example, I have always felt that I have a good sense of networking and outreach, however, I lacked the skills to maintain good contact with my networks. I wanted to expand on this in DPMI.

I found DPMI a lot more extensive than I expected. Not only did we have different mentors and themes for every module, the activities we did throughout the three weeks were also tailored to help us aim at mastering different skills. Some of the skills I developed include; facilitation and planning,  program designing and management, systemic thinking, case study analysis and identification of gaps in development projects, seeking appreciative inquiry, crisis management, community needs assessment, knowledge exchange, building and understanding organizational identity, network analysis and data gathering, and building development indicators.  These are some of the skills I have not been able to develop in the normal academic settings.

DPMI is an intensive program, so, there were times I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information and the little time to digest all of it. However, the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time each day with mentors and students while working on different learning components made the overall program rewarding. One of my favorite moments was our negotiation activity, where we were assigned to closely study and represent different organizations, and to form partnerships with other organizations on a community development project which we designed as part of our group activities.This activity was highly demanding in terms of time and energy. It was also so much fun to try to understand the policies of other organizations, and searching for common ground for partnership.

As an aspiring development practitioner, particularly with a focus on youth development and education access in rural communities, the skills I developed in DPMI are crucial components in my studies and future career goals. I plan to utilize these skills not only in conducting community needs assessment, but also in planning, designing and executing programs to elevate the potentials of young people so that they can serve their communities as leaders of progressive change.

 

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

DPMI Plus Spotlight: Addy Jimenez Haga

DPMI Plus Spring 2017 is underway and we have the inside scoop from current DPMI Plus participant, Addy Jimenez Haga, IPD. She is currently working in Peru for the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).
How did you find your practicum position?
During my first semester at MIIS, Scott Webb sent out an internship opportunity with UNLIREC – which happened to be in Peru. I pinned this message and kept it into consideration when choosing an organization for my DPMI Plus practicum. The fact that UNLIREC is in Peru is a added bonus since I spent two years in northern Peru as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
What has been the most challenging work task you have been given in your current position so far and why? 
I have been working on an Operational Forensics and Ballistics Manual; I assisted on mapping the 26 Zonas Veredales in Colombia for logistical strategy in the disarmament process; I have been disaggregating dozens of news articles connecting  private security guards with homicides, suicides, femicides and accidents while using a firearm; and I am in the process of building an M&E tool for the centre… but the most challenging aspect of it all, is the culture shock of being in a rich-feedback and team-oriented environments like what we have at MIIS, to autonomy and independence. I miss having 3-4 rough drafts that have been edited by a faculty member, and all of the brilliant minds working together to produce the best deliverable possible. Nonetheless, this has been an enriching experience and my expectations have been exceeded.
 What skill did MIIS teach you that you have found to be useful in your current work?
Courses that I have applied in the disarmament Centre are  Program Evaluation, Proposal Writing, Finance Functions, Citizen Security in Latin America, Network Analysis, and Organizational Sustainability. The skills include designing effective indicators, observing dynamics within the office and imagining its weighted network (i.e. who is the cutpoint? who is the person connecting everyone?, who has the highest eigenvector? whose brain should I pick to brainstorm career opportunities?), feeling confident when reading a logical framework, finding quantitative data, and how to make M&E sexy/appealing.
How do you see this position helping you in your future career?
I was not sure if working for the UN was something I would enjoy. I love fieldwork and will continue searching for career paths that include it. But I have also been incredibly impressed to witness, live, the relentless hard work and dedication from those at UNLIREC. I am gaining a diplomatic discourse, understanding the uphill battles of working with beneficiaries while gaining patience, and a better understanding of the phases, challenges, and the importance of communication of project cycles.
What advice do you have for someone currently looking for a DPMI Practicum?
Start thinking of regions, organizations, and/or sectors of interest early on. And in my case, I chose an internship that I once found to be somewhat deviating from my passions with the hopes of narrowing my career objective. *Side note: it actually added disarmament to my passions.
What is something you learned you enjoy to do, that you did not previously realize?
I am learning about guns! which I never thought I would be drawn to. Arms trafficking and violence caused by a weapon has broadened my lens to see development from a different angle. Security and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean are increasing, and being part of an organization that believes security to be a human right, is an honor.
What are your plans after practicum is over?
I will start searching for job opportunities next month that hopefully include a niche of international development and monitor and evaluation.
Thank you Addy and we wish you continued success!
To learn more about UNLIREC, check out their website.

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Internship advice from former IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows

IPPSers and DPMI Plusers will soon begin a new adventure at their internships in Geneva, Washington D.C, New York City, San Francisco, Peru, and Bolivia.  These respective internships are essentially an audition for work at UNHCR, the State Department, Catholic Relief Services, IRC, and/or UNICEF to name a few.

As this years fellows are not the first to embark on such an adventure, we would like to share advice from previous years cohorts.

Last year, we asked fellows, what challenges did you experience that MIIS didn’t really prepare you for?

IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows mentioned the following challenges: 

-email chains with over 10 cc’ed co-workers and navigating who to cc on which email.

-saying yes to everything and taking on too much

-social media management

-not being assertive about project selection

How can IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows mitigate these challenges?

IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows offered the following suggestions:

  1. Have a strong backbone
  2. Stay organized
  3. Keep an open mind
  4. Don’t take on too much
  5. Manage your expectations
  6. Be creative and come up with an innovative project proposal
  7. Remember that knowledge gained at MIIS is not the end-point
  8. Learn office culture and adjust your style accordingly
  9. Send an introductory email with a list of your skills and interests
  10. Nurture relationships.

Forbes, LinkedIn, and TED also have a number of recommendations:

  1. Ten ways interns can create a great first impression
  2. TED Talk with Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are 
  3. The ultimate intern to-do list 
  4. 6 simple steps to make a good first impression 

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Chasing Buddha – New Art Exhibit in McCone

Chester Ng is a Fine Arts photographer who focuses on dance, motion, abstract and cultural themes. His images capture both movements and expressions as well as the encounter between the subject’s energy and himself. He combines a journalistic style with an aesthetic sense to create images with mood, emotion and relevance. He invites viewers to create their own “real or imagined” stories with his images and to celebrate the spontaneity of the moment.

Chester’s photographs have received international recognition from Black & White Magazine, American Art Collector, Black & White Spider Awards, Monochrome Awards, Color Awards, PX3, Photography Masters Cup and Photographer’s Forum. His artwork has been exhibited in galleries around the Central Coast and the Bay Area. He is based in Monterey and is a member of The ImageMakers of Monterey and The Independent Photographers.

From the Artist:

To me, “Chasing Buddha” is about the Pursuit of Happiness. What struck me most about the Bhutanese people is that, in spite of their spartan existence, they seem quite content with life. Bhutan first promoted the notion of “Gross National Happiness” in 1972 as a way to balance the country’s cautious entry to modernity while preserving its traditions. That notion has since transformed into a core guiding philosophy of life that seeks to strike a balance between the individual’s spiritual and material needs.

Like the joyous spirit of these young monks at Dechen Phodrang Monastery in Thimphu, Bhutan, I felt that same jubilant energy in many of the places I visited around the country. With more than 80% of the country’s populace embracing Buddhism as their faith, the Bhutanese people strive for harmony and peace through Buddha’s teachings.

Check out the exhibit now showing in the McCone atrium!

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

DPMI Plus Summer/Fall 2017 Applications Due April 1, 2017

“What are your summer plans?” The dreaded question many do not have the answer to, but we’re here to help! DPMI Development Practicum (DPMI Plus) is an academic and professional program in which MIIS students complete a 3-9 month internship in which they apply DPMI skills to benefit the host organization.  Students have worked for The World Bank in Washington, D.C. to Catholic Relief Services in Bolivia and Ecuador.

This a great professional opportunity for students looking to gain hands on experience while receiving support from MIIS faculty.  Applications for Summer/Fall 2017 are due April 1, 2017! Don’t wait, apply today!

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