Archive for IPSS

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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

Author: Monique Rao

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

©UNICEF Cambodia/2014/Isabelle Lesser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Unicorn Strategies: Like Magic, But Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How/When did you create this company?

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

What does that mean in practice? 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

IPSS Spotlight: Megan Godfrey

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

Why did you choose to apply to IPSS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

DPMI Plus Spotlight: Addy Jimenez Haga

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

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Internship advice from former IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows

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

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

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

IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows mentioned the following challenges: 

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

-saying yes to everything and taking on too much

-social media management

-not being assertive about project selection

How can IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows mitigate these challenges?

IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows offered the following suggestions:

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

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

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

Monday, March 6th, 2017

2018 International Professional Service Semester Applications Due March 31, 2017!

Reminder: Applications for the Spring 2018 International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) are due Friday, March 31, 2017.

Who can apply: IPSS is open to DPP, NPTS, and IEP students graduating in 2018 who are interested in working fulltime in their sector while earning academic credit.

Application/Program Information:

  • You do not need to have a job or internship confirmed for next spring when you apply.
  • All applicants will be asked to take a 1-hour writing test during one of four testing windows in April. Times will be posted on go.miis.edu/ipss and sent by email.
  • IPSS can be taken for 6-12 credits in spring 2018. Internships/jobs can be paid or unpaid and in the US or abroad.
  • Students who are accepted to IPSS can switch to other practica programs (DPMI Plus, Independent Practica) at a later date should their professional and academic interests/needs change.

To apply: IPSS application or visit go.miis.edu/ipss

 

Friday, February 24th, 2017

IPSS, IONP, DPMI Plus, IEM Practicum, FMS, and Student Exchange Placements for 2017 Announced

IPSS, IONP, DPMI Plus, IEM Practicum, FMS, and Student Exchange Placements for 2017 Announced

For spring 2017, a total of 51 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 the San Francisco Bay area and as far away as Washington, D.C. Internationally, they are spread across five continents.

Programs include the International Professional Service Semester (IPSS), the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), DPMI Plus, the International Education Management (IEM) Practicum, the Student Exchange Program, and the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Program.

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

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS)

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Thomas Chamberlin SeeSaw Cape Town, Africa
Matthew Coomer NOAA Seattle, WA
Megan Godfrey NOAA Fairbanks, Alaska
Joshua Morris TNC Santa Cruz, CA
Sorina Seeley NOAA Fairbanks, Alaska
Akimi Yano-Manzano UNITAR Hirsohima, Japan
Daniele Elizaire UN Women New York, New York
Andrew Larson State Department Lima, Peru
Steven Perle IRC Sacramento, CA
Ariel Watkins EDC Washington, D.C.
Patrick Niceforo Korean Economic Institute Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rupp Greenbelt Alliance/Transform San Francisco, CA
Monique Rao UNICEF Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Shirin Khan Atlantic Council Washington, D.C.
Lieselotte Siegenthaler Center for Climate and Security Washington, D.C.
Laura Williams State Department Washington, D.C.
Maxwell Petersen Atlantic Council Washington, D.C.
Margaret Arno LLNL Livermore, CA

International Organizations and   Nonproliferation Program (IONP)

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Julia Diamond United Nations Office of Disarment Affairs (UNODA New York
Lesley Kucharski United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York
Kyle Pilutti IAEA Vienna, Austria
Nate Taylor Czech Technical University/CTBTO Prague, Czech Republic

DPMI Plus

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Genevieve Dabrowski Bay Area Council Economic Institute San Francisco, CA
Sarah Terherst CNFA DC/Niger
Genevieve Yehounme WRI Washington, D.C.
Addy Jimenez Haga UNLiREC Peru
William Holeness UNEP RONA Washington, D.C.
Nicholas Stulck Catholic Relief Services Ecuador
Elizabeth Falconer Catholic Relief Services Bolivia
Rachel Dickinson Global Fund for Women San Francisco, CA
Michelle Zaragoza Peace Corps Nicaragua
Adam Grant Peace Corps Armenia
Veronica Diaz US State Department and UNICEF DC/Honduras

International Education Management (IEM) Practicum

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Annelise Andrade EUSA Centro Universidad International Office Sevilla, Spain
Abbiola Ballah MIIS, Center for Social Impact Learning Monterey, CA
Jenna Cotey South Puget Sound Community College Washington
Megan Dieck University of Wisconsin-Plattville Platteville, WI
Damien Lazzari UC Santa Cruz, Global Engagement ISSS Santa Cruz, CA
Heather Rahimi University of Utah Asia Campus Incheon, South Korea
Jake Reckford American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) Washington, D.C.
Will Stewart Kuwait Cultural Office Los Angeles, CA
Clarissa Stewart Middlebury- CMRS Oxford Humanities Program Oxford, England
Yuki Ueda MIIS Strategic Programs Monterey, CA
Daniel Watson Portland Community College Portland, OR

Student Exchange Programs

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Sean Bonowitz Middlebury Schools Abroad France
Bryce Bay Middlebury Schools Abroad Russia

Frontier Market Scouts (FMS)

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Ben Grimming Incubator Assistant @ Kalu Yala Panama
Frances Hess Impact Fellow @ Jeeon Bangladesh
Courtney Kemp Investment Relations Consultant @ Mangrove Credit Group Liberia
Christina Lukeman Impact Assessment Fellow @ Uberis Capital Cambodia
Jessica Anderson Business Development Manager @ Toucan Education Programs Belize

 

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!

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

IPSS Fellow Shen Li’s Interview with the WTO

Shen Li

2016 IPSS Fellow Shen Li is currently interning in the Market Access Division of the World Trade Organization.  The WTO recently interviewed Shen for its newsletter – you can read the interview below.

Where are you from, and what did you study before joining the WTO?

I am from Beijing.  I did my Bachelor’s degree in China where I studied French.  Then I went to the US to do a Master’s degree in International Policy Studies – Trade, Investment and Development – at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

One of the reasons I am here as an intern is to earn academic credits for my school project.  I applied for an internship at the WTO because I am studying trade.  Also as I have studied French, Geneva is the perfect place to practise it.

When did you apply for the internship?

I have been planning the internship for a long time.  I would say that the WTO has fascinated me ever since I started to study trade two years ago.  I have always wondered what it would be like to work here.  At university, we had an international trade negotiation class where we simulated negotiations in the Doha Round, imitating the way WTO negotiations take place.  Whenever we wanted to raise some points or ask questions, we would raise a nameplate to speak.  It is amazing to find it is exactly the same here.

I submitted my application last October and I was really surprised when I received the internship offer in December.  This is my very first experience of professional life so it is a great starting point.  I am really excited and grateful to have this opportunity to learn about trade issues, the needs of developing countries and the challenges facing international trade.

You have been working in the Market Access Division since 1 February.  What kind of work have you been doing?

I am mostly working on the Trade Facilitation Agreement with Sheri Rosenow.  Last week we organized a donor event, where donor countries and international organizations introduced their programmes for helping developing countries implement the Agreement.  Once the Agreement is implemented, the international trade is going to flow much more smoothly.  So I feel like I am making a real contribution to world trade.  It’s so exciting.

In March, we had a workshop to help participants gain a better understanding of the Agreement so that their governments can ratify it sooner rather than later.  I helped to prepare the presentation and facilitated the workshop with other members of the Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility team.

How have you found life at the WTO so far?

I really like the atmosphere here because people are very open to other cultures.  Everyone in the Market Access Division is really nice.  I am also so pleased that we have a Volleyball Club at the WTO because I really love playing volleyball.  It is quite relaxing to play a game after work.  I haven’t met all the interns yet but we do have lunch together and sometimes we meet in the atrium for a coffee break and to have a chat.  It is a really nice opportunity to get to know people.

Is it your first time in Switzerland?

No, this is my second time.  As I studied French for my Bachelor’s degree, I undertook an exchange programme in Paris.  As an exchange student, I had quite a lot of holiday so I took the opportunity to travel, including to Switzerland.  I used to think that everywhere in Switzerland would be very peaceful, like it is by the lake, but after moving here I realize it is much busier than I thought.

What have you done for fun in Geneva?

I have tried a relaxing picnic by the lake with some friends.  I’ve also been to the chocolate festival, which was very interesting.  We tasted all kinds of chocolates and bought many different varieties.  It was a good way to spend the weekend.  I like Geneva because it feels very familiar here, having already lived in France for a year.  So there are not too many culture shocks and that has helped me adjust more quickly than I did in the US.

Last question: what are your plans for the future?

I think after this I will go to the US to finish my school project and graduate.  After that, I haven’t given it a lot of thought but I would welcome any opportunities involving international trade.  An international organization would be perfect but the private sector could also be interesting.

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)

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

IPSS, IONP, DPMI Plus, IEM Practicum, FMS, and Student Exchange Placements for 2016 Announced

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 3.27.24 PMFor spring 2016, a total of 61 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 the San Francisco Bay area and as far away as Washington, D.C. Internationally, they are spread across five continents.

Programs include the International Professional Service Semester (IPSS), the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), DPMI Plus, the International Education Management (IEM) Practicum , the Student Exchange Program, and the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Program.

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

 

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS)

Name

Placement

Location

Shen Li WTO Geneva, Switzerland
Melis Okter CA Sea Grant: Coastal Commission San Francisco, CA
Jennifer Adams State Dept. ASST SEC, OCEANS & INT L ENVIR  & SCI AFFS and Montery Bay Aquarium Policy Division Washington, D.C.
Emma Tonge NOAA Oakland, CA
Mairi MacEachern UNGC Network office Toronto, Canada
Whitney Berry IUCN Geneva, Switzerland
Zachary Foco FAO Rome, Italy
Marina Binsack San Francisco Bay Joint Venture Sacramento, CA
Sophia Kirschenman Conservation International Social Policy and Practice Division Washington, D.C.
Thomas Stagg NOLS Patagonia Chile
Jamie Stanton UNIDIR Geneva, Switzerland
Elin Orre UNODA CAB New York, NY
Hussain Alhowaidi UN Office at Geneva: Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit Geneva, Switzerland
Margaret Coleman US State Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and
Labor
Washington, D.C.
Daniel Pavitt Conservation International Peace and Development Partnerships Washington, D.C.
Miranda Salinas Alliance for Peacebuilding Washington, D.C.
Li Ma Stimson Center Washington, D.C.
Kathleen Lucitt IRS Criminal Investigations Branch (International Operations division) Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Gentle IUCN SEE Belgrade, Serbia
Jenny Cho Council on Foreign Relations Washington, D.C.
Phil Goldstein Department of Defense/Pentagon Washington, D.C.
Emily Summerlin San Francisco Business Council on Climate Change San Francisco, CA

International Organizations and   Nonproliferation Program (IONP)

Name

Placement

Location

Hussein Alhowaidi United Nations
Implementation Support Unit of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BWC)
Geneva, Switzerland
Geraldine Mande United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York, NY
Satomi Tamura United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) Geneva, Switzerland
Irene Yu Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Vienna, Austria

DPMI Plus

Name

Placement

Location

Judie Henderson Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) Rwanda
Laura Preston Peace Corps Cameroon
Madison Shepard SHE-CAN Mill Valley, CA
Sophie Dresser OneVillage Partners Sierra Leone
Jeanine Willig Social Impact Washington, D.C.
Alina Aslanian International Organization for Migration Bangkok, Thailand
Sonia Esquibel Catholic Relief Services Zambia
Karla Gregorio Program Fellow Oakland, CA
Susan Asselin Peace Corps Senegal
Alcide Guillory III GSIPM Immersive Learning Team Monterey, CA
Julia Meli International Organization for Migration or Search for Common Ground Middle East and North Africa
Tom  Ford Peace Corps Nicaragua
Amanda Kruse

Peace Corps

Burkina Faso

International Education Management (IEM) Practicum

Name

Placement

Location

Kaela Conroy Brown University – Office of International Programs Providence, RI
Tessa Fancher Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
Maria Gleason-Maddox University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Center for Global Education Madison, WI
Michelle Gloster PLUS Education U.S. Corp USA
Talia Gottlieb Pearson College UWC Canada
Emily Greenblatt Intercultural Communication Institute  Portland
Alcide Guillory III GSIPM Immersive Learning Team Monterey, CA
Courtney Jackson American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) Bethesda, MD
Sydney McLoughlin  To be determined
Peter Seilheimer California State University at Monterey Bay Monterey, CA
Abbey Wallace CIEE Portland, ME

Student Exchange Programs

Name

Placement

Location

Jordan Fernandez Middlebury Schools Abroad Amman, Jordan
Janet Addoh Middlebury Schools Abroad Madrid, Spain
Eli Hatch Waseda University Tokyo, Japan

Frontier Market Scouts (FMS)

Name

Placement

Location

Julianne Scott Pulsera Project Granada, Nicaragua
Tony Chow  To be determined
Angelina Skowronski  To be determined
Ben Grimmig  To be determined
Clover van Steenberghe  To be determined
Kenji Tabery  To be determined
Nenneya Shields  To be determined
Sherry Sybertz  To be determined

Best of luck to all of you!!!

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Internship advice from former IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 10.33.30 AMIPPSers and DPMI Plusers will soon begin a new adventure at their internships in Geneva, Washington D.C, New York City, San Francisco, Chile, and Zambia.  These respective internships are essentially an audition for work at UNHCR, the State Department, the Peace Corps, Catholic Relief Services, the IAEA, and/or the IUCN to name a few.

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

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

IPSS and DPMI Plus Fellows mentioned the following challenges:Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.16.29 PM

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

-saying yes to everything and taking on too much

-social media management

-not being assertive about project selection

How can IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows mitigate these challenges?

IPSS and DPMI Plus 2015 fellows offered the following suggestions:

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

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

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

 

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Still looking for January workshops?

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 4.51.42 PMDid you know that all MIIS students are able to take International Professional Service Semester workshops this January?

IPSS workshops include: High Value Organizational Consulting, Designing and Evaluating Interventions, Quantitative Analysis with Excel, and Applied Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis.

In Applied Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis(IPSS 8531 A, 1 Credit, Pass/Fail) January 6-7, 2016 with Instructor Erika Takada, “Participants will design an intervention with an accompanying monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system.”

In Designing and Evaluating Interventions(IPSS 8533 A, 1 Credit, Pass/Fail) January 9-10, 2016 with Instructor Emily Morris, “Students will learn and practice key methods of applied qualitative data collection and analysis.”

In High Value Organizational Consulting (IPSS 8530 A, 1-2 Credit, Pass/Fail) January 14-15, 2016 with Instructor Beryl Levinger, “Participants will learn tools for analyzing an organization, its culture, its approach to meeting mission, and ecosystem analysis.”

In Quantitative Analysis with Excel (IPSS 8532 A, 1 Credit, Pass/Fail) January 16-17, 2016 with Instructor Kevin Lorenzi, “Students will improve their understanding and abilities to collect and analyze data using Microsoft Excel.”

These professional skills workshops are open to students and professionals outside of the IPSS program, space permitting.  Please email ipss@miis.edu to express interest.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

IPSS Info Session this Tuesday

globalization-globe

This Tuesday, September 15th, there will be an informational session about the International Professional Service Semester (IPSS).  The IPSS program is offered through the Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM) during the Spring Semester.  IPSS is an immersive learning experience, in which fellows secure internships with international organizations in the US and abroad and earn up to 12 units of academic credit.  This session will cover IPSS requirements, syllabi, and stories from Spring 2015 IPSS fellows.

When: Tuesday, September 15th

Time: 12-1pm

Where: Morse B106

To learn more information about IPSS visit go.miis.edu/ipss or email ipss@miis.edu

Friday, September 4th, 2015

IPSS Fellow Cervando Banuelos worked to verify and deter state sponsored cyber attacks

Cervando Banuelos

Cervando graduated from the Institute in August 2015 with a masters in Non-proliferation and Terrorism Studies and is now pursuing a masters degree in Computer Science at the Naval Post Graduate School.

IPSS Fellow Cervando Banuelos, worked at the Verification Research Training and Information Center (VERTIC) in London this past spring.  Based on his experience at VERTIC, Cervando believes, “Cyber security is an issue in economics, finance, infrastructure, nuclear power, and his ability to view adorable kittens online.  In other words, cyber security is now a fundamental part of everything.”

The question is, can we stop all  cyber attacks today with a deterrence agreement?  Unfortunately, no we can’t.

Cervando believes that our first step should be to deter state-sponsored cyber attacks, “these are attacks carried out by foreign government agents and members of foreign intelligence communities and they could be for disruption, theft or damage.  And I say that an agreement for the deterrence of state sponsored cyber attacks with international cooperation and an overseeing and enforcing body, and compliance through verification would limit the amount of attacks and the destructiveness of the attacks.”

Read an article that Cervando co-wrote during his IPSS fellowship at Vertic, in Trust and Verify, Issue 148.