Archive for Events

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

IONP Spotlight: Noah Mayhew

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Noah Mayhew and I am among the first group of graduates from the dual MA program in nonproliferation studies between the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. The final semester of this program is spent in practicum, which I completed in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Office of Public Information and Communication (OPIC) in Vienna, Austria.

How did you find the IAEA? Why were you interested in working there?

While internships are a fantastic (and recommended) way of advancing your professional development, our program required internships. IONP was a streamlined way for several of the dual-degree students to find their internships and the IAEA was a fantastic fit for what I wanted to do later, i.e. work within the international system on nuclear/security issues.

Why did you choose and internship abroad rather than one in the U.S.?

I was initially very focused on receiving the UNODA position through IONP. I am now very glad that I was not chosen for that position because the IAEA internship really offered me more what I was looking for. While both internships offer interns substantive work and fantastic networking opportunities, I found the international environment at the IAEA to be much more fitting to my long-term ambitions. In addition, working at the IAEA exposes you to a huge variety of topic areas in the nuclear field, that make you a more desirable, more well-rounded candidate for junior-level positions after the internship.

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

I found myself drawing a lot from courses that I took with Philipp Bleek, particularly his introductory course and his writing course. As far as his intro course is concerned, the IAEA does a lot of different things under its mandate, and Dr. Bleek did well to cover those things as best he could in the time allotted. His writing course was a great exercise in boiling things down to their most important, most compelling pieces, which was useful in drafting reports for my supervisors, as well as writing web articles for iaea.org and conducting daily news analysis. I wish that I had taken the course on nuclear power, that I believe Dr. Moore teaches. Finally, language – any language – is always a useful thing at the IAEA. Knowing more than just English is not a requirement for employment there, but it does certainly make you look more credible.

What was an unexpected challenge you faced while at the IAEA?

My work at the IAEA generally ran pretty smoothly. This internship is one of those cases where it is what you make it. If you want to sit there all day and do nothing, you can absolutely do that. But if you want to work, and you make that clear, you can do a huge variety of things. You certainly won’t be bored. Nominally I worked for OPIC Director Serge Gas, but I spent a lot of
my time writing articles for the head of the web section, compiling a daily nuclear news aggregate for senior management and helping the multimedia team with content for videos and other such tasks.

What projects did you work on? How did they relate to your personal mission?

As I mentioned above, I was able to work on a large variety of projects while I was with OPIC. Officially, I worked for the director, mostly on drafting internal communications strategy documents and conducting research for various purposes (for example, vetting speakers). I also worked with the press section in compiling the Internal News Review, which is a daily aggregate of all nuclear-related news compiled for senior management. We kept a database of all IAEA mentions that corresponds with this aggregate. I spent a lot of time writing articles for the web section and also for the IAEA Bulletin. Aside from those things, I did a lot of miscellaneous tasks, such as transcribing interviews, assisting the multimedia team with scripts and video shoots and writing for internal news.
This was helpful because I got to meet and speak to a lot of people within the IAEA that I would otherwise have had no reason to network with. Through this experience, I learned a lot about the IAEA’s work and the huge amount of industries that the nuclear field touches.

What lessons or skills did you learn “on the job?”

Aside from the concrete subject matter, I was able to experience working in a professional, international environment. One of the benefits of the dual-degree program is that the internship during the final semester helps you to transition from student to professional, even just in terms of how to conduct yourself in an international office setting and what sort of skills will be required on a daily basis (writing, organization and being a self-starter go pretty far).

What are your plans now that you have completed your time at the IAEA?

I have secured a position as a Research Associate with the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation following my internship. My first day was Monday :).

Thanks Noah!

Monday, July 9th, 2018

MIIS Alumna Martha Casanave Opens Photography Exhibit in Samson Reading Room

The MIIS Committee on Art in Public Places and the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies are proud to present a photography exhibition by award-winning fine art photographer Martha Casanave on the sidelines of the 2018 Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia.

Martha graduated from the Monterey Institute with a degree in Russian Studies and Literature and has been a photographer educator for over thirty years. She will be showing selected photographs from two bodies of work. “Leningrad in Winter”, finished after various trips to Russia and with the support from Polaroid Corporation, and “Explorations Along an Imaginary Coastline, a body of work laden with surreal views of California’s central coast, meditations on time, history and narrative mysteries.

“Seeing from the heart” rather than the analytical mind approach underlies Martha’s lyrical photographs. She uses a film pinhole camera, a camera with a tiny hole instead of a lens, to produce the grainy and fuzzy images where any signs and details of the present day are purposely erased. Only the emotional, intuitive and literary aspect remains.

The exhibition opens on July 19, 2018, with an artist reception from 4:15- 7:00 pm at Samson Reading Room on MIIS campus and will run through December 19, 2018. Visiting hours are from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Samson Reading Room is located at 453 Van Buren Street, Monterey, CA. Contact 831-647-6417 for more information.

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

IEM Spotlight: Pilar Diaz de la Rubia

Pilar at her desk at the Middlebury School in Spain.

Pilar Diaz de la Rubia is a third semester International Education Management student completing her practicum with the Middlebury Schools Abroad in Madrid, Spain.  She is working on two projects: the Sede Prim and the International Education Management Spain Leapfrog Initiative.

Tell me a little about your background and how you came to Middlebury Institute (MIIS).

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have grown up surrounded by two cultures: Spanish and American. My dad is from Spain and therefore it has always been a huge part of my life; from family trips in the summers, to studying abroad, to moving there to teach English, I’ve always sought out ways to further my connection to that part of my culture. Since the very start of my first semester at MIIS, all I talked about was getting back to Spain…ask anyone in my cohort, or even my professors!

In terms of my journey to MIIS: in college I studied linguistics, but I always knew in the back of my mind that I had a strong interest in education. That’s why when I graduated, I ended up moving to Madrid to become an English teacher. I loved every moment of it, however, I knew something was still missing. I moved back to California with a strong desire to continue pursuing some form of international education and, ended up reaching out to a friend who was in her first semester of the International Education Management (IEM) program at MIIS. After she told me a bit about the program my interest was immediately sparked and I went to visit. Honestly, one of the main reasons I ended up applying was because of the 1 hour I spent in David Wick’s Marketing and Recruitment class. The fact that the students were working hands-on, applying the materials they were learning with real clients, and designing projects for people all over the world left me awestruck. That, and Professor Wick’s amazing teaching of course! I left my visit to MIIS that day feeling like there was nothing that was going to stop me from pursuing International Education Management, and it has been the best decision I’ve made in my professional career thus far.

How did you find your practicum?

My practicum search was definitely a whirlwind. From the summer after my 1st semester until about 2-3 weeks before the end of my 2nd semester I had a verbally confirmed practicum position with a Spanish University in Madrid. I was about to draft the Terms Of Reference (TOR) when I got an email from my practicum advisor, Chris McShane. The email said that there was an extremely unique opportunity to work simultaneously at the Middlebury School in Spain (Sede Prim) with their study abroad programs, and remotely with Professor Paige Butler on launching a Leapfrog Initiative project. Even though I was in the final stages of confirming a practicum position, I knew I had to at least look into this opportunity, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. The hardest part of the process was having to tell my original placement that I wasn’t going to be able to join them the next semester, but, if I hadn’t taken the chance, I wouldn’t be in the incredible position I am today.

Group picture of Pilar with students on a weekend trip to the city of Cáceres

What does a normal work-day look like for you?

A normal workday… that’s a tough one! Due to the time difference between Spain and California I typically work on projects for the Sede Prim during the mornings, and those for the Leapfrog Initiative in the afternoons to facilitate meetings and email communication. At the Sede Prim my desk is the first thing you see when you walk into the building, so I get to greet all of the students and most mornings I get to talk to them about their classes and their weekend adventures! If I’m not talking to students then I’m working on projects, either for practicum or for the office. For example, one of my weekly tasks is to help our amazing cultural coordinator find events in the cities for our students to enjoy.

Honestly, the hardest part of my day is having to transition between my two practicum positions because if I’m on a roll, I tend to want to keep working on that specific thing. To break up my day, I eat lunch with my colleagues, change desks to a more private area, and switch gears! Having two practicum positions means juggling a lot of projects and schedules, but, I can definitely say my time management skills are improving (special thanks to my practicum group for all their advice)!

What projects are you working on? What specific tasks are you in charge of doing?

The most recent project I have worked on for the Sede Prim has actually been in partnership with MIIS and the recruitment office. Together, with my supervisor here in Madrid and Jill Stoffers, I helped organize and deliver a recruitment session about new scholarships to English teaching assistants here in Madrid. Since the presentation I have been working on creating a document about the execution and results of the sessions as well as plans for future sessions. It was a really fun project and I look forward to the final session I’ll be giving at the end of May.

The projects I’ve been working on for Leapfrog Initiative with Paige Butler have been just as exciting and have really allowed me to apply and further develop all of the skills and best practices I learned throughout the IEM program. Since we are creating a program from the ground up (which is even more exciting than I could have imagined!) I’ve been working on projects such as: a competitor analysis, a gap analysis, a financial plan, target market research, informant interviews, and a business plan for our presentation to the board that is coming up in May.

What professional networking opportunities have you had while in Spain?

Thanks to the Leapfrog Initiative I am going to be reaching out to and connecting with professionals in the field in Spain to conduct informational interviews. Besides helping us immensely moving forward with this project, these interviews are providing me with incredible professional networking opportunities. I am going to be able to meet multiple people and cultivate great connections that will be indispensable as I continue to navigate the field in Spain. I am so grateful to have these opportunities thanks to both Paige Butler and the Sede Prim staff.

What is something that surprises you about the work culture in Spain?

Since I was already familiar with the work-culture in Spain, there haven’t been too many things that have surprised me! However, something that I have appreciated has been the communication style between my colleagues. Every Monday we have a team meeting and the first part is normally spent talking about either things happening in our lives or current events. Of course we have to get through all of our meeting points (and we do!), but if something comes up and we divert a bit away from our main topics, it’s okay, or as the Spanish say, “no pasa nada!” I love that there is a balance between completing tasks and forming stronger personal connections; it makes for an amazing work-environment!

What has been the most challenging part of your practicum so far? How did you overcome it or are you still working through it?

The most challenging part of my practicum has been time-management, mostly regarding how I divide my time between my two positions and the various projects. I’m still learning how to juggle everything as effectively as possible, but I have had such amazing support from both the team in California as well as from my team here in Madrid. I’m definitely getting the hang of it!

What professional resources (conferences, professors, mentors etc?) have been most useful to you (before and during practicum)? Why?

I think everyone will agree with me in saying that all of the professors in the IEM program are the main reason we are able to be as successful as we are both during the program and beyond. I am so grateful to all of their support, the courses I took from them, and the professional skills I learned. During this practicum I’ve realized how relevant everything I learned in staff management is to navigating my office culture, specifically in terms of communication skills and team management. I’ve also gotten to see how important marketing and recruitment skills are to all aspects of international education: from looking at competitors to promoting materials to students. Of course, to do all of this successfully, you must know how to use excel… so, pay attention and take advantage of the budgeting course!

What are your plans after practicum? What advice do you have for someone looking for a job during their practicum?

As of right now, I don’t have a specific plan job-wise after practicum, but my goal is to remain in Spain, and I’m working on it! My colleagues here have been amazing and always pass along any job opportunities that come up through their networks. I will definitely be using those connections as well as the connections I make through the Leapfrog project interviews. It’s all about professional networks and personal connections!

Anything else you would like to share? (tips, advice, etc.)

Pilar attending a fashion show with colleagues and students.

If there was one main piece of advice that I would give students who are looking for practicum it would be to make sure to always read emails that the faculty send out about opportunities, even if you already have something almost secured! You never know what might come up and if it might fit in better with your professional and personal goals. If I hadn’t read the email from Chris McShane, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I wouldn’t have been exposed to some of these amazing opportunities.

Finally, my advice for during practicum is to jump right in and ask questions! My very first week, which was the week leading up to new student orientation, I consistently asked what I could do to help, worked on any small projects I was given, and observed as much as I could. The best thing you can do is get to know your colleagues and show them that you are there to learn and to support their organization in as many ways as you can! You have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be more than successful, don’t be afraid to show it!

Thank you, Pilar! We wish you the best in the future!

 

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Federal Emergency Management Agency Jobs and Internships Webinar: 4.19.18

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Jobs and Internships Webinar
Hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
When: Thursday, April 19, 2018
Time: 4 – 5 p.m. Eastern
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invites you to participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Jobs and Internships Webinar from 4 – 5 p.m. Eastern on April 19. 
Designed specifically for students and recent graduates who are interested in beginning a career with FEMA, this virtual event will feature an overview of FEMA’s application and hiring process, highlight exciting entry-level program opportunities, and a panel of FEMA experts will answer live questions from webinar participants.
The event is free for participants. To register for the event, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FEMA-Webinar-RegistrationAs space is limited, you are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
More information regarding the webinar will be shared with webinar registrants. Email AcademicEngagement@hq.dhs.gov should you have any questions regarding registration.

Monday, March 26th, 2018

RIT-Kosovo’s Peace and Conflict Summer Program, June 24-July 27, 2018

Interested in Peace and Conflict? Don’t have summer plans? The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Peace and Conflict Summer Program might be a fit for you!
RIT brings in senior policy makers and academics who blend practical and theoretical approaches to: countering violent extremism; conflict transformation; the background/context to the post-cold war regional conflicts (e.g., in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Caucasus); post-conflict economic development; ethics and international relations.
  • The 5-week program (June 24-July 27, 2018) begins with an 8-day study tour in the region (Albania, Montenegro, Dubrovnik, Bosnia, Serbia) and is followed by 4 weeks of intensive training/teaching in 2 courses for a total of 6 academic credits from the Rochester Institute of Technology; thrice-weekly informal seminars where policy makers and students discuss practical dimensions of policy and peace operations; an annual workshop for participants on issues such as ‘building sustainable governance’, ‘constructive counter-narratives to violent extremism’; and possible service learning/internships with an NGO or government agency.
  • One of the program’s strengths is its venue: Participants are strengthening links among policy makers and academics from the US, Kosovo and other places.  They meet with officials and activists as part of a program that blends theory and practice in a unique way in undergraduate/graduate academia.
  • Participants and students constitute a diverse community: from Kosovo, US, Western Europe, Europe, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Morocco, Bangladesh, India, among others.
In addition, some scholarships and discounts (for early deciders) are available for students/participants.
For more information please email the immersive learning office: ipss@miis.edu or Carolyn Meyer cmtaylor@miis.edu

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Immersive Learning Spotlight: Chelsea Lavallee, Boren Fellowship

Chelsea Lavallee 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.

Chelsea with her host family.

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 jhamblet@miis.edu

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 dpmiplus@miis.edu or to apply, fill out this form.

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. https://dpmihenry.wordpress.com/takeaways/

dpmihenry.wordpress.com
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 dpmi@miis.edu 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 http://startupmontereybay.com/

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 iempracticum@miis.edu 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

DPMI Plus

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 350.org 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

 

FrontierMarketScouts

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 ipss@miis.edu to express interest.

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.