Archive for Immersive Learning (MIIS & External Ops)

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Planning J-term & Spring Break 2018

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Friday, September 15th, 2017

January and Spring Break Off-Site Courses and Special Trainings

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

January Off-Site Program Locations:

-Cuba

-Peru

-Colombia

-Egypt

-Rwanda

-France

-Czech Republic

January On-Campus Trainings and Courses:

-DPMI–International Development and Social Change

-FMS—Social Enterprise Management and Impact Investing

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

Spring Break Opportunities:

-The Balkans

-Washington, DC Career Exploration

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

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

Contact: 

Carolyn Taylor Meyer

Director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs, GSIPM

831-647-6417

cmeyer@miis.edu

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Immersive Learning Student Portal is Live!

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

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

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

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

 

Monday, 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.

 

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.

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Community Action Hub: 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 Action Hubs. 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. Whether you have a research focus in mind or want some inspiration from past work, check out the database! girl-watkins_coastline-with-boats

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

J-term Practicum in Cuba is ON!

Dr. Jan Black and a second faculty member will be leading a JTerm Practica in Cuba January 10-20. This course can be taken for 0, 2, or 4 credits. Learn more and apply by October 31st at http://sites.miis.edu/cuba/.cuba-tours

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

International Winter Academy Call for Participants

IPD is very glad to announce its next International Winter Programs in Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation, Mediation, Security and Intercultural Dialogue, which is going to be held in Switzerland. Applicants could choose either 10 days Winter academy or 3 Month CAS-Research program in their filled application.

View the application form or visit the School of Peacebuidling, Mediation, Conflict Resolution, Intercultural Dialogue, Security & Human Rights webpage for more information.

 

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Spotlight on Paige Butler

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Assistant Professor, International Education Management

Here at MIIS, students can participate in a wide range of international and domestic immersive learning opportunities. Whether students travel during January-term, spring break, summer or do an independent practicum, students have a number of options at their fingertips. The faculty who lead these trips recognize the value of these immersive professional experiences. We at GSIPM wanted to sit down with some and let them share for themselves.

What’s Your Spirit Animal? Can’t think of one? Name an animal, now another, and finally another.

Jaguar ← What you think your spirit animal is.

Monkey ← What others think you are.

Llama ← What your spirit animal really is.  (Paige’s note: I just returned from Peru where I saw many llamas!)


Why did you decide to enter your field?…Tell me about your journey.

I had my first international experience when I was in high school at age 16. I went to Eastern Europe and traveled through Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic. I grew up in a small farming community in Iowa, so visiting these cities and seeing so many new things was one of those experiences that changed my life, and propelled me into my international career – even if I didn’t even know how transformational it really was until many years later.

As a college student, I studied abroad in Mexico and Guatemala and worked in the Spanish department helping organize study abroad programs. I also worked for a program that provided after-school and summer care for children of US military families abroad which allowed me opportunities to live and work in Japan, Italy and Germany.  While my world experiences were adding up, I still hadn’t considered an international career.

I decided to pursue my Masters in Higher Education at Arizona State University (ASU) so I flew from Guatemala back to Iowa and without much hesitation, I packed up my car and drove to Arizona. While in graduate school, I started working in Student Affairs and Higher Education Administration. I enjoyed it, but I missed the international component.  After my first year at ASU, I had an opportunity to lead engineering undergraduate students abroad on a summer program that ASU was offering in partnership with two other universities.  This was a program that visited universities in England, France and Spain and I coordinated and led the trip, which was my first official study abroad experience as an administrator. I soon realized working in international education administration combined what I enjoyed about working with students in higher education and my passion for international experiences and cultural learning.

I completed my Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in Higher Education at Arizona State University. I worked in the study abroad office and later in academic affairs while completing my degree, and for my dissertation I researched outcomes of short-term study abroad participation. That research solidified how valuable education abroad is in shaping personal and academic development for college students. I had personally experienced many changes as a result of studying abroad, and I knew I wanted to be able to create those types of learning experiences for other students in my future career.

After completing my doctorate, I took a position in the private sector and managed academic affairs and faculty-led programs for a large study abroad provider, CEA.  There I worked with nine academic centers and international staff around the world as well as 100+ colleges and universities across the US, developing study abroad programs for hundreds of US college students.  It was a tremendous experience and rounded out my professional experiences.  Eventually, my desire to be in the classroom full-time grew and the IEM program at MIIS was a perfect fit where I could combine my expertise in international education and higher education administration to train rising professionals who will work in international education.


How would you explain your practicum course and fieldwork?

Onsite Perspectives of Education Abroad Management in Spain is an elective course focused on Education Abroad Management. We partner with Middlebury Schools Abroad in Madrid, Sede Prim.

While developing the program, I met Middlebury Schools Abroad Director in Madrid, Dr. Patricia Rodriguez,  who provided valuable input as I created the course and immersive learning experience.  It was important to connect the work we do in IEM with the work Patricia and her team do in Madrid managing study abroad programs. IEM students who participate in the program learn about education abroad management from the host community perspective.  This program gives students the opportunity to better understand education abroad from an international context. This course is a complement to the IEM courses taught on campus in Monterey.

Students complete small projects or fieldwork dedicated to managing education abroad in Spain. In 2016, students worked on projects about various components of the education abroad experience that Middlebury staff manage, including: homestays, marketing & social media, experiential learning and co-curricular activities, and orientation. Students explored how to create experiences that foster intercultural development and student growth, with an emphasis on language development in alignment with Middlebury’s mission.   Students are also meeting with local experts who work in education abroad, visiting Spanish universities and other education abroad programs across Madrid and practicing their own intercultural and linguistic skills during our time in Spain.

rio-madrid


Why Spain and not Peru or Ecuador?

I was primarily looking for a place that had a large variety of education abroad programs, because I wanted to do a comparative analysis of education abroad programs and be able to offer opportunities for project work onsite. Spain is among the top 5 countries hosting U.S. students studying abroad.  It was also a goal to partner with Middlebury Schools Abroad and deepen the connectivity with the IEM program. After considering the infrastructure and resources available across Middlebury’s Schools Abroad network, Madrid was among our top choices. Since I have previously spent time in Spain, I felt comfortable coordinating the program and had a strong network to draw upon for organizing the onsite experiences.  It is my hope that this program could be replicated in other locations in the future, perhaps in France or China.  IEM is also looking at other options to meet our diverse student interests so I look forward to seeing what emerges!


What would a student get out of this experience?/How could students market the skills they will acquire?

In addition to specific knowledge and skills gained through the coursework and projects completed on site, students were able to expand their network in international education through a variety of site visits and expert meetings.  Students were able to see a variety of education abroad programs first-hand, and gained a deeper understanding the differences between programs. Students were able to analyze the mission of Middlebury Schools Abroad and comparatively evaluate education abroad programs offered by Spanish universities like Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, U.S. based program providers/international education organizations like CIEE and CEA and U.S. universities with programs like the University of San Diego Madrid Center.  Students can practice Spanish language skills relevant to international education throughout the program as well since most site visits and guest speaker meetings are held in Spanish.  We honor the Middlebury Language Pledge while interacting with study abroad students at Sede Prim.

Throughout the program Team Spain participants also reflect on their own understanding and experiences with education abroad and this program helps them break down their own stereotypes and biases of education abroad.  They also reflect on their intercultural development throughout the program, learning more about cultural differences between the US and Spain and how those might impact students who are studying abroad or how it might impact staff working with peers across the ocean.  Students take the Intercultural Development Inventory prior to participating in the program, which is an an assessment that measures intercultural competence—the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. Intercultural competence has been identified as a critical capability for international educators and is a central goal of the majority of education abroad programs.  This program offers students the chance to reflect on their own intercultural development and think about its application to future careers in education abroad.

Shortly after the immersive learning program abroad, we received opportunities for seven practicum placements from the organizations that we partnered with and others who heard about the type of work our students were doing in Madrid.   I’m happy to report that we have five IEM students in Spain this fall in positions that were created following our J-Term program – a third of the students returned to Spain for their practicum!  There is real value for students to gain experience in the field through on site practicum work and it has been a goal of the IEM program to increase international practica opportunities for our students.

uam-spain-16-visit


Is there a story that captures one of your most rewarding or significant moments or could you share what drives you to do these types of programs?

[Pulls down signed Team Spain group photo hanging in office] Students framed and signed this awesome memento as a thank you and to remember our inaugural IEM immersive learning program.  This is our group pictured in Toledo during a daytrip we took as part of the program. A team of students planned this as part of their project work in which they were creating co-curricular and experiential learning activities for Middlebury students. The students had to apply Experiential Learning Theory into practice to develop the excursion for our group.  It was their job to prepare their peers for the experience (abstract conceptualization), lead the excursion (concrete experience) and debrief the experience (reflective observation).  This experience gave the team leaders practice in understanding onsite administration of study abroad programs from a learning perspective as well as administrative skill development.  The team had to create a budget, coordinate train tickets for the group, create the itinerary and plan of where we were going and what we would be learning, while applying theory to practice and considering the host city context of a city they had not previously visited.  The team coordinated and led the excursion for our group as a pilot program. While leading the trip, I watched them change roles from being a student to taking on the role of a program leader.  They did a tremendous job, but some things didn’t go as planned and I watched them encounter these difficulties – from schedules being off-track, site visits being different than expected, getting lost, and managing a small group of students not arriving on time at the meeting point before departing for the train station.  They had to determine how to navigate these obstacles and make decisions in the moment using information they have learned through their courses and practice in IEM.  After the program, the students also developed and conducted an evaluation of the excursion and made adjustments to the excursion based on the pilot program, and now Middlebury’s Sede Prim team offers this as an optional excursion for their study abroad students.

toledo-day-triptoledo-day-trip-2

For more details, read the full interview.

For more information on Paige Butler, visit her MIIS faculty profile.  

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

East Asia Practicum Info Session

Information Session:

East Asia Seminar and Spring Break Immersive Trip to Tokyo and Beijing

The immersive trip (March 18-26) is an integral part of the semester-long seminar “Foreign Policy, Trade, and Security in East Asia,” taught by Professors Akaha and Liang (GSIPM) in the spring of 2017. Everyone who wants to join the trip is required to register either for 4 credits (preferable) or for audit.

When: Thursday, October 13th at 12:00pm

Where: Casa Fuente 434

photo-for-flyer2

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Stretch work: More than another web space. CHECK IT OUT!

groupwork1If you’ve recently visited the Immersive Learning page, you might have noticed a little section called “Stretch Work” and wondered what that even means?! If you’ve heard professors and staff around campus mention this concept at all, it has likely been to promote self-directed learning and new skill development. This concept allows students to create many of their learning opportunities through stretch work. And, they can carry this approach into their careers.

The Stretch work site is to make it easier for you to explore new ways to identify and work on strengthening core competencies. Check it out or submit your ideas/blogs on how we might stretch ourselves more!

Not convinced? See what Professor Edward Laurance had to say.

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

IMMERSIVE LEARNING INFO SESSION

WHEN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20th at 12:00 PM

WHERE: CASA FUENTE 434

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Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the MIIS experience. While you are here, you are able to participate in a wide range of international and domestic immersive learning opportunities during the January term and spring break. Practica provide students with opportunities to explore real world contexts as freelance consultants, field researchers, and junior-level professionals.

Immersive Learning recently announced 2017 Practica and now invite you to an informational session to discuss the variety of opportunities available. Where can you picture yourself —Colombia, Czech Republic, East Asia, Egypt, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, Spain or here in California?

For complete details on 2017 opportunities visit http://go.miis.edu/practica.

Friday, May 6th, 2016

IPSS Fellow Gaelen Hayes Writes About Her IPSS Journey

gaelen_hayes

Gaelen Hayes, IPS, 2015 IPSS Fellow

Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, Calca, Peru

1. Please describe your experience at MIIS (your program, courses, what motivated you to apply for IPSS, and any other details that you think are relevant).

I was in the IPS (now IPD) program at MIIS. When I first came to MIIS I was having a hard time deciding between IPS and MPA, and I ultimately decided on IPS because it allowed greater freedom to customize my degree. I ended up taking a lot of MPA classes as my electives, so I think I got the best of both worlds.

I applied for IPSS because I had a personal research project that I wanted to pursue, and IPSS allowed me to get credit (and financial aid!) to do it. IPSS seemed like the best fit for my project because of the flexibility it allows in how you complete your service project. I worked with several mentor professors prior to and throughout my IPSS semester, and their help and support was crucial. One of the most valuable things I took away from IPSS was these professional relationships. I still regularly turn to these professors for advice, despite the fact that IPSS is over.

In terms of describing my experience at MIIS, I would say that I learned that these opportunities can be as much or as little as you make them. To get the most out of my time at MIIS, or my IPSS semester, I had to decide to put myself out there and to put in effort to make connections, take on projects, and to participate whenever an opportunity presented itself. Historically I am a fairly passive person, so this was a big lesson for me to learn!

2. What were your career aspirations when you applied for IPSS?  Did these change during or after your immersive learning experience. If so, how?

When I applied to IPSS my career aspirations were still somewhat vague- I knew I wanted to work in community development. The people I worked with during IPSS helped me to realize what I am good at. Identifying these strengths clarified the type of position I should pursue within the development field.

3. Describe your career now.  How did your time at MIIS/during your immersive learning program prepare you for this career or lead you to this career (if applicable)?

Following IPSS I was hired by the organization I did my placement with. My role involves steering our organizational development (putting those DPMI skills to use!), helping to design and implement community research, and growing the experiential learning side of our organization. Because my job description is so broad, it allows to me to use the spectrum of skills I learned at MIIS, from strategic planning to survey creation.

4. What was most valuable about your MIIS experience?  What was most valuable about your IPSS experience?  Is there anything you would have done differently?

I learned many valuable and applicable skills at MIIS, which have led me to the position I am in currently. I guess this would be the most valuable thing I took away, the tangible skills. A close second is the relationships I built in the short time I was there. This network of professionals in my field will be a resource that I take with me wherever I go. From the first day of orientation MIIS stresses the importance of networking, but I never saw myself as someone capable of doing this, so I kind of blew it off. Turns out it is pretty important, and not as hard as it sounds.

The most valuable thing I took away from my IPSS experience, besides the professional contacts, was a clearer understanding of my own capabilities. By having the opportunity to take the skills I had learned and run on a project of my own design, I realized how much I had actually internalized from my classes at MIIS. I also learned what I am not so good at, and this helped me to understand the best way for me to add value to the organizations where I applied to work.

5. What advice or thoughts do you have for MIIS students exploring similar opportunities?

Take advantage of opportunities like IPSS, DPMI+, and other internship type situations. It is a great way to take the training wheels off in a situation that is still safe and supportive. Through MIIS and the community there are many chances to practice what you learn in class; take advantage of as many as you can!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

DPMI+ Fellow Jeanine Willig on her experience at Social Impact

Jeanine Willig (far left), DPMI+ Fellow & IPS 2016 student

Organization:  Social Impact

Title: Performance Evaluation Intern

Location: Washington, D.C.

Social Impact contracts with lots of different organizations, mainly for performance and impact evaluation and capacity building.  As a Performance Evaluation Intern, Jeanine’s been working to support the impact evaluation team on Social Impact contracts with USAID.  Last month, Jeanine helped conduct a literature review for FHI360’s Rural Teacher Retention Program in Ghana.  She also worked on an impact evaluation of a WASHPlus project in three districts of Bangladesh that are highly impacted by climate change and experience constant flooding.  Jeanine loves the variety of projects she gets to work on at Social Impact and says she never gets bored.  “I have days where I look up and I haven’t noticed the time go by,” Jeanine says.  “It’s been a HUGE learning curve.  I can’t believe it’s been a month already.”

Jeanine has recently signed up to assist with the evaluation of a Millennium Challenge Corporation anti-corruption project in Honduras.  The goal of the project was to help the Honduran government meet anti-corruption standards in order to be eligible for funding for development.  The evaluation with which Jeanine will assist involves quantitative and qualitative methods to measure impact and entails a comprehensive 23 evaluation questions (typically impact evaluation involves three to six evaluation questions).

How did MIIS prepare you to succeed as a Performance Evaluation Intern at Social Impact?

Jeanine credits Beryl Levinger’s Program Evaluation class with preparing her most directly for her work with Social Impact, which so far involves heavy use of data-evaluation methods, understanding and analyzing qualitative data, and “really getting into the nitty-gritty.”  Another class that was particularly useful was Ed Laurance’s Intro to Human Security & Development.  The “on-time assignments” in this class gave her the skills to be able to research and sort through information rapidly and effectively.  When asked what advice she had for MIIS students interested in similar work, Jeanine recommended that all students take Data Analysis (she wishes that she had).  She also said, “Finance and budgeting is such a NEED in this industry.  People who currently do it are doing it because no one else can and they have just taught themselves.  Skills in finance or budgeting will make your job application stand out.”

Any other advice for current students?

Jeanine wants other MIIS students to keep in mind that “people will care about you and last minute stuff is okay.  When an advisor says that you’ll find a spot, have faith.  Having a good attitude about the job search is important.  You’ve got to keep it in perspective.  Keep your ears open – there are things out there you don’t know about and opportunities you can’t even imagine, so just keep an open mind.  There’s so much out there.”

Find out more…

You can read more about Jeanine’s experiences on her blog.

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Reminder: Apply for DPMI+ for summer/fall 2016

DPMI+ Application Deadline

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

From MIIS to IPSS & Beyond

IAEA_Photo_Tom Gray

Thomas Gray, NPTS 2015

IPSS 2015: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

It’s always inspiring to speak with current IPSS fellows in the field, but I’m also curious about where students end up afterwards and how their IPSS experience fits into their longer term career path.  Thomas Gray, a 2015 IPSS fellow and former NPTS student currently working at the IAEA in Vienna, graciously agreed to share his experiences and speak about his path from MIIS to IPSS and beyond.

MIIS to IPSS

Tom came to Monterey after six and a half years in the U.S. Navy.  As an incoming NPTS student, Tom knew he wanted to do a professional internship and had hopes for the IAEA due to his interest in international nuclear safeguards.  The connections that the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies has with different international professional organizations and the history of MIIS interns at the IAEA were a large part of Tom’s motivation to attend MIIS.

Tom applied for an IPSS fellowship with the IAEA as a second year NPTS student.  Previously, the NPTS students from MIIS that had interned at the IAEA had all worked in the Office of Public Information.  However, the year Tom applied, a position in the Department of Safeguards was available– this was a stroke of luck for Tom, as it matched up with his interests even more.

IPSS and Beyond

After his four month IPSS fellowship at the IAEA, Tom began a yearlong graduate fellowship program in the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in Washington, D.C.  This is another opportunity frequently pursued by MIIS students: there are typically at least one or two former NPTS students per year.  During the NNSA fellowship, Tom found out about another fellowship newly established by the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation in honor of Dr. Ian Hutcheon, a scientist who worked for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  This fellowship is a two-year assignment as a Junior Professional Officer in support of the IAEA’s  Division of Nuclear Security.  Tom was the first fellow selected – he decided to leave his fellowship with the NNSA a few months early in order to pursue this opportunity and go back to working with the IAEA.  When I spoke with him he had been on the job for a week and a half.

Current Work

Tom attributes his selection for his current fellowship in part to his previous experience at the IAEA, which also allowed him to hit the ground running upon his return.  Tom’s primary task at the moment is to help organize a conference that the IAEA is hosting at the end of 2016.  Right now is an important time for the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security.  Eight years ago, Obama announced the Prague Agenda, his plan to secure the world’s nuclear material from use in terrorism.  According to the plan, a nuclear security summit has been hosted every two years since.  The last summit is happening this month in D.C.  The IAEA has been identified as one of the institutions responsible for continuing the progress made over the last 8 years, and the conference Tom is organizing will set the tone for how the international community sees nuclear security continuing after the Obama Administration.

Tom’s Advice

For NPTS students, IPSS can be a strategic choice because NPTS is a field where you need connections…  you never know who will lead to a job.  The NPTS field can be a hard field to break into and a strong professional network is critical.  If you decide to do IPSS, Tom recommends setting your internship up for as long as possible.  The first few months at any job involve a steep learning curve; the more time you have at your internship, the more time you’ll have to apply what you learned in those first few months and the more time you’ll have to impress your new boss.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

IPSS fellow Danny Pavitt speaks about his work at Conservation International

Danny

IPD student and IPSS fellow Danny Pavitt is currently in the field working as an Environmental Peacebuilding Intern at Conservation International.  Conservation International (CI) has been around for 30 years and was established with a vision that included not only the conservation of nature, but also the well-being of humans in relation to nature.  As Danny puts it, the overarching mission of CI is to promote healthy ecosystems globally and improve human well-being (ensuring a healthy, productive planet for everybody).

At CI, Danny is one of four staff members working in the Peace and Development Partnerships department of the Policy Center.  Environmental peacebuilding is at the intersection of capacity development, conflict resolution, and environmental conservation.  One of the central goals of the Environmental Peacebuilding Department is to raise awareness about the interconnectedness of conservation and peacebuilding.  Environmental conservation is not impossible in conflict areas; you can actually use environmental peacebuilding to mitigate conflict.  Promoting healthy ecosystems and mitigating conflict are not mutually exclusive and in fact can work more effectively in tandem.

Danny is currently working with his team to develop a training manual for global field staff to help them better incorporate conflict-sensitive programming.  The manual will have about 10 modules that are all parts of environmental peacebuilding and will address questions such as: How can we analyze conflict that exists? and How can we tie in different parts of environmental peacebuilding?  So far, Danny has completed a Conflict Analysis Module.  This module is helps engage local stakeholders in a conversation in order to become as informed as possible about situations of conflict in a given area.  The idea is that if you understand the situation, conflict, root causes, and main players, you can implement sustainable conservation programs while being conflict-sensitive.

Danny describes his experience at CI as full of learning.  He notes that “it’s been really eye-opening to be in an organization that’s so well-established in what it does and in the field” and has enjoyed collaborating with people who are influential in the environmental conservation world.  Since starting at CI, Danny has realized how connected everything is: “It’s no longer just about environmental conservation – you can’t really think about environmental conservation without thinking about gender, equality, capacity development, infrastructural growth, the economy, international development…  These things are no longer separate for me and they never will be.”

Danny took a leap of faith after his first semester at MIIS and decided to enroll in the 2015 Summer Peacebuilding Program despite being totally new to the subject matter.  This experience opened his eyes to the opportunities out there surrounding environmental peacebuilding.  Some of the courses at MIIS that prepared him for his current work include Organizational Sustainability with Professor Ortiz and Human Security and Development with Professor Laurance.  Danny encourages current MIIS students to explore different and intriguing things they’re curious about but don’t necessarily have experience in (like the Summer Peacebuilding Program for him).  Danny got to his current position by really putting himself out there to explore and understand different parts of international development and to figure out what he didn’t want to do.  In his role now, he enjoys what he’s doing so much it doesn’t even feel like work.

For a glimpse into the work of Conservation International, check out their Nature is Speaking advertising campaign.

Friday, March 11th, 2016

IEP student Whitney Berry to present on behalf of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

geneva

This April, International Environmental Policy student and IPSS fellow Whitney Berry will be presenting at a Geneva workshop titled, “The Application of Genomic Tools for Benthic Monitoring of the Marine Environment: From Technology to Legal and Socio-Economical Aspects.”   She will be giving a presentation at the Natural History Museum in Geneva on behalf of the IUCN, the organization she is working with as an IPSS fellow.  The workshop is sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Geneva.

More About the Workshop

Rapidly increasing impacts of industrial activities on marine biodiversity strongly affects marine ecosystem health and services. Yet, the growing demand for measuring and mitigating these impacts can hardly be satisfied by classical monitoring based on morphological species identification. New genomic tools based on analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) could potentially overcome these limitations, but their application for biomonitoring is still very limited. The main objective of the workshop is to examine the effectiveness of eDNA method for seabed monitoring from ecological, legal and socio-economic perspectives. The workshop will discuss the need to modify regulatory requirements and legal instruments for incorporating eDNA data into biotic indices. The participants will also learn about the advantages and challenges of using the eDNA to explore biodiversity and valuing ecosystem services. The event will bring together molecular biologists, ecologists, environmental managers and policy makers interested in integrating genomic tools in environmental impact assessment of industrial activities in marine environment.

 

Check out Whitney’s blog for a firsthand account of her experiences as an IPSS fellow at the IUCN.

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Reminder: Apply for IPSS 2017 by March 31st

IPSS 2017! (1)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Announcing Sarah Meek Travel Grant for Research in Africa

africa-151640_1280Up to four travel grants of $1,500 each will be awarded to MIIS students conducting research on social change in Africa. The research can be either independent or part of established immersive learning program such as IPSS, DPMI+ or Frontier Market Scouts. The research must be conducted in Africa for a duration of 3-4 months or more.

To receive this grant, students must submit a research design that focuses on a social condition in Africa of the applicant’s choosing; e.g., poverty, environment, crime, armed violence, gender equality, conflict, disease, education, refugees, etc., with the goal of making policy/program recommendations that can change that condition.

The application must include the following elements:

1)      A two-page statement that includes a complete research design, to include a preliminary literature review that shows a need for this research; the who, what, where, and how of the project and its potential impact on the social condition. A description of the deliverable and plan for presenting it back to the MIIS community should be included in this statement. A timeline and preliminary budget should be attached as separate documents.

2)      A letter of support from an organization which is hosting or assisting you with your project.

Send applications via email to Jennifer Hambleton-Holguin at  jhamblet@miis.edu by no later than March 1st. A committee of faculty judges will evaluate all applications and determine the recipients of the award by March 15th. Awards will be given as reimbursement for travel to Africa.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the eligibility of your planned research for this award, please make an appointment with Jennifer via Zócalo. She can also forward a sample application from last year to those interested.

These awards are made possible by a continuing donation from the family of Sarah Meek, a MIIS alum of 1996 whose life was cut short while working to improve social conditions in Africa.