Archive for MPA

Friday, May 8th, 2015

OpenIDEO – Accepting Ideas for Refugee Education Challenge

Refugee Education Challenge is now accepting ideas to improve education opportunities for children in refugee camps.


“Now is the chance to share an idea you have for how to improve education for refugees. We’ve partnered with UNCHR and UNICEF – so even if you aren’t able implement your idea yourself, there’s an opportunity you to submit a winning idea that could be implemented through partnerships with organizations already working with UNICEF and UNHCR.

Winning ideas on our shortlist will attend a design support bootcamp hosted by designers, where participants will learn how to apply human-centered design to their challenge idea. A handful of these ideas will be selected to receive a share of $500,000 in funding and design support.”

Design Principles for Refugee Education:

  • Focus on what we can do now
  • Design for gender equality
  • Keep resource limitations in mind
  • Design for uncertainty
  • Take an inclusive approach
  • Be culturally sensitive

Click to find out more about OpenIDEO and to submit an idea!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Immersive Learners Champion Seven Countries through Nine Programs

I sat down with Maritza Munzón (MPA/IEM ’15), and Rafael Hernandez (MPA ’15) at a local coffee shop last week to interview them about MIIS’s Immersive Learning Programs. Maritza has traveled on five trips to six countries through MIIS (Peru, Cuba, Kenya, Mindanao, and East Asia), and Rafael has gone to four (Peru, Cuba, Rwanda, and East Asia). Both had a lot to say, much more than I can fit into this interview; I can’t encourage you enough to talk with your peers about their experiences abroad.

Q: What made you choose the immersive learning programs you chose?

Maritza: For me it’s always about “why not?” It is always a question of “if I don’t go, will I regret it?” And the answer is almost always “Yes”. So I do everything I can to take advantage of the opportunity to travel. MarRafFurthermore, because I am in the IEM degree program and want to conduct these trips myself one day, the best way to learn how to do this is to go on as many as I can!

Rafael: I was eager to begin traveling right away when I got here. That was the reason I picked this school over many other options – the traveling component. Right off the bat I could go on this Peru trip, that had a practical application of policy analysis, – and so I went.

M: I don’t think many people have traveled the way we travel here at MIIS.

There is only so much reading you can do about culture, practice, and so on, but you need to embed it in your muscle memory to learn and understand.

Q: Have you gone on any trips together?

Both went to Peru (but in different communities), as well as Cuba, and East Asia.

M: Peru started my obsession with these trips; the experience got my feet wet and then I wasn’t scared, anymore, to do the others.

Q: Are there any programs you especially wish you could have gone on?

R: I would have liked to go to the Philippines.

M: I would have done the El Salvador trip if I had the time. But I am always torn between what is familiar and what is less accessible. El Salvador is within my reach because of language, so I decided to take the leap and go on trips that I was less likely to do on my own:  Kenya, East Asia, and the Philippines.

Q: How did the programs and learning styles compare?

Both: Cuba was more like learning tourism, while Peru and East Asia where more research based: we did academic research in Asia, and field research in Peru.

M: I was a guinea pig for many of the trips – for example:  Kenya, Peru, and East Asia. Cuba was established. Being on a program in its first incarnation is a valuable experience for someone learning about how these programs are conducted.

R: I learned a lot about different types of intelligence and understanding. You know there is the computer competency type, where you either know it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you can ask help from someone who does – and there are no ego problems associated with that. Cultural competency, on the other hand, and especially at this school, is more complicated in that way. Then there is emotional intelligence (EQ) versus the IQ. When you go to speak to someone in a village, everyone on these trips is so concerned about being politically correct, which makes them all self-conscious. I found that the best way to take to people is honestly and openly.

Q: Since you have gone on so many of these programs, do you have any constructive feedback?

R: Like I said, these trips are one of the reasons why I chose this school. And we are so grateful for these experiences.

M: Growing up the way I did, I would have never been able to do this on my own. And I am grateful, and the best way I can give back is by applying my IEM knowledge and skills and giving constructive feedback. I was able to design a pre-departure training for the Peru trip, which was very well received, but not yet implemented. Based on our experience in Peru, Cortney Copeland and I designed a pre-departure workshop and assessment for that trip through our IEM Design and Assessment Class. In the workshop we wanted students to bond with the people in their groups, learn each other’s working styles and strength, while also getting to practice giving the surveys and entering the data. There are always hiccups with international travel and our goal was to develop cohesive groups before departure to help student better work through some of those unpredictable moments. The assessment consisted of a simple survey that students took before and after the trip to better inform staff and faculty of what is working and what needs improvement.

One of my frustrations with the organization of these trips is that the system that puts these trips together does not value the experience that the students going already have. Because the information isn’t coming from a respected magazine or periodical, but from the mouth of a student, who has had the personal experience or cultural experience growing up – but they didn’t write a paper on it, so…. We don’t get a diploma for growing up bilingual or for living similar lives to that of the people we are studying.

R: So if professors and institutions have a way, for better or worse, of validating those experiences, for example, “here is Maritza, she grew up in a culture that…..” and by doing that, it validates the person, and symbolically validates the peers that have experienced this. People come back like “I was shocked to see this and that”, and that is the only thing that gets the spotlight. But there are people who have lived this their whole lives.

M: Out of the bad comes the good. MIIS is proud of its international diversity on campus, but now there are also conversation on national diversity and socioeconomic diversity as well, which is something that came out of a critique on one of these trips. We go on these trips, and learn, and some things are difficult, but the important thing is to take the bad with the good and make something out of it. For some of us, that meant creating the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which highlights domestic diversity on campus and is working on assessing the needs of all students, whether international students, first generation college students, student of color, LGBTQ, or second career seekers. We not only wanted to address diversity by identifying the needs of all students on campus but to make sure it is something that continues to be addressed in the institution after we are gone.

Professors should also make a point to make focus groups mandatory. A format of how to measure the trips as a whole, but also each trip individually, so it can be improved upon, but that responsibility also shouldn’t sit solely on the professor’s shoulders.

Q: Any advice for students who will travel on these programs in the future?

M: Some things you can’t prepare for. Keep an open mind, don’t sweat the small stuff. Like dirt, bugs-

R: – and cold showers –

M: – and so on because it distracts from the experience. Don’t fight the discomfort.

R: You don’t need language to communicate with people. You shouldn’t necessarily know a language perfectly – keep the willingness to go at the forefront. Don’t be catered to: we chose to go, to help. Be the one helping, not the helped. Own your decision to go.

Language should not be a barrier to communicating with people. In fact, I learned from my inability to speak the local language, which became a resource of information, connection, and interaction. When I ask you, “how do you say this?”, I become your student and switch the power dynamic. People love to teach you, to speak from authority. There is laughter, and it breaks the ice and opens new things. They think, “Here is a person who wants to know my language.” It helps equalizing the playing field.

Q: Is there something you never travel without?

M: I carry medicine for altitude sickness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, congestion, and allergies; but I also carry hydration salts and EmergenC to try and prevent getting sick as well. You never know how sick you are going to get and might not be able to get to a pharmacy right away or be able to communicate what you need so its good to carry some meds you trust. Oh! and Baby wipes.

R: Baby wipes! Pen and notepad.

*shows us his pen and notepad, which, sure enough, are in his back pocket*

M: That’s what I picked up, now I’ll do that.

R: I like to record sounds from the trips, it brings you back. *plays recording*

M: Learn how to say a greeting, and please and thank you in the local language.

R: So important!


smaller headshotKatya Gamolsky (joint BA/MA ‘17) is a first year student who works for the Immersive Learning Programs Office. She recently went on the Los Angeles trip that focused on Homelessness, with Dr Iyer, and will be attending DPMI DC this summer. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to know more about our Immersive Learning Programs, please email her at

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Team El Salvador Looking for a Team Leader!

Students from all MIIS Programs are encouraged to Apply!

TES Leader

TES Leader 2

 Description of Responsibilities 

TES Leader 5

Leadership term lasts early May 2015 to early May 2016

For more information check out the Team El Salvador Blog or email any questions to teamelsalvadormiis@gmail !

Send Resume & Cover Letter to by Sunday, April 14th!


Thursday, March 26th, 2015

A Student’s Reflection on the 2015 Regional Hult Competition


– Blog contributed by Kelly Quackenbush, MPA ’15

On Friday, March 13th, my team and I piled into Tim’s van for the drive up to San Francisco, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have butterflies in our stomachs. We were on our way to compete against nearly 50 other schools in the 2015 Regional Hult Competition. The challenge this year was “How can we provide quality early education to ten million children under age six in urban slums?”

My team consisted of Timothy Cunningham, Katie Barthelow, Noah Halton, and myself, and we had been working together for 6 months on our social enterprise, the Learning Roots Network. Our idea was to use technology to facilitate real-life interaction between caregiver and child. We would organize workshops about holistic early childhood education, and facilitate activity design sessions whereby residents in slums would create activities that made sense to them. These would be simple, short activities, such as stacking cups, identifying colors around the house, or counting grains of rice. Our idea was based on the premise that knowledge already exists in slums. What we wanted to do was shine a light on those local ways of knowing and nurture them to create a marketable product (which we call an “activity-based app”). Ultimately, we hoped, we would challenge people’s ideas about where knowledge comes from (doesn’t have to be from “experts”), and how value is created (value can come from slum communities).

Friday afternoon we arrived for registration and were handed folders, asked to pose for pictures, and shown to our very own break-out room, where we could relax and prepare. Half the teams would present in the morning, and half in the afternoon. We were scheduled for the morning, which meant that we would hear other teams’ pitches in the afternoon. Our friend Nicole Manapol volunteered to accompany us for the day as our “team advisor” and it was wonderful to have the extra support as we practiced our pitch the last few times. Finally, we were called.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Update on the Sarah Meek Travel Grant for Research in Africa

Summer and Fall Applications Invited

In January several students applied for this grant but none were awarded. In every case the requests were for the summer because there was little time for anyone to prepare a travel grant proposal for the spring immersive learning programs.

The result is that all the money available for travel grants is now available for summer and fall travel for research on social change in Africa. The research must be conducted in Africa for a duration of at least 2 and a half months.

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 inequality, 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. Dates of research
  2. Location of research, to include a letter of support from an organization which is hosting or assisting you with your project.
  3. A two page statement that includes a complete research design, to include a research question, a literature review that shows a need for this research, evidence generation methods, and its potential impact on the social condition.
  4. A description of the deliverable and date of completion.

Applications must be received between now and 1 April. A committee of faculty judges will evaluate all applications and determine the recipients of the award by 15 April. Awards will be given as reimbursement for travel to Africa. Only enrolled students may receive a travel grant. If two students will be conducting the research together, the award will be split between the two students with a cap of $1500 per award. Travel will not be awarded for an internship, unless appropriate research will be conducted as part of the internship.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the eligibility of your planned research for this award, please make an appointment with Professor Ed Laurance at He can also be reached at 831-402-2631.

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.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

DPP Welcome Wine & Cheese Mixer

Development Practice and Policy: One Program, Two Degree Options 


(Source: DPP Facebook Event Page

So, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the DPP program – and now you can finally get the full scoop!

DPP will be hosting a wine & cheese mixer at the McCone Atrium (outside Irving Auditorium) on Wednesday, March 4th, at 5:00PM. If you are MPA, IPS, or IDP, you are now part of the larger umbrella of DPP. Join us at the mixer to hang out with DPP colleagues and faculty and hear more about the program!

Date: Wednesday, March 4th

Time: 5:00PM-7:00PM

Location: McCone Atrium (Outside Irving Auditorium)

RSVP on the Facebook Event! Or feel free to just show up!

And check out the MIIS DPP page for more information about the Program!


Monday, February 23rd, 2015

New Internship Opportunity in Uganda!

Looking for a summer internship opportunity in Africa? Check out ISLA – and feel free to join tomorrow’s info session from 12pm-1pm in Morse B206!

*MPAs – this could count for DPMI Plus!

isla Uganda

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Analyst Program with the World Bank Group


Check out this great opportunity with the World Bank Group!







Monday, January 26th, 2015

2015 Colloquium Theme Focus: Commercializing Impact Investing

Practical and Inspiring Thought Leadership

A graduate course and high-profile speaker series featuring leaders and practitioners working to provide solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Impact Investment is investment made with the intention to generate measurable social, environmental and financial return. Impact investing deploys multiple sources of capital – private, philanthropic and public to address pressing global challenges. Impact investing has the potential to unlock significant sums of commercial capital, but challenges to the commercialization of impact investing remain significant. The struggle, however, may shed light on how capitalism as we know of today can and will be transformed and leveraged for maximizing welfare and wealth creation. This course engages students with thinkers and practitioners in the impact investing sector who will share their perspectives and experiences in bridging the gap between commercial and impact investments, and explore and envision a better future.

Learn more:
Course Information: Register via Banner (IPMG 8593); 
2 or 3 Credit Option.

Timing and Location: March 12 – May 14, 2015 . Thursdays, 6-9pm, MG102

Featured Speakers


 Sonal Shah, Former White House Director of Social Innovations
Sonal is Professor of Practice and the founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation. Sonal, an economist and entrepreneur, has spent her career focused on actionable innovation in the public and private sectors. Most recently, she was the Deputy Assistant to the President and founding Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
Follow Sonal on twitter: @SonalRShah

Robert Rubenstein, CEO of TBLI (Triple Bottom Line International)
Robert is a social entreprenuer and the founder and driving force behind TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investing) Group, an organization that specializes in environmental, social and governance ESG and impact investing, using Triple Bottom Line principles.
Follow Robert on twitter: @tbli

Cynthia Muller, Senior Director at Arabella Advisors
Cynthia leads Arabella Advisors impact investing practice. She has an extensive background in social enterprise and mission investing includes connecting public policy, programs, and capital for emerging social innovations to increase economic opportunities for under-served and marginalized communities.
Follow Cynthia on twitter: @cynmull

 Mike Lin, CEO of Fenix International
Mike is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded an award-winning design firm, and B.MIMIMA, an eco-solutions company. He has consulted for Apple on climate change and environmental toxins and worked with Al Gore on the “Inconvenient Truth” presentation. Mike is a LEED accredited professional, a recipient of the EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Award, Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and BusinessWeek IDEA Award. Mike earned both his BS and MS in mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
Follow Fenix International on Twitter: @fenixintl

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Boren Awards: Scholarships and Fellowships

Upcoming Application Deadline for Fellowship – January 27th, 2015

Great opportunity for those who are studying or who want to study less commonly taught languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili – among MANY others. Boren Awards also has an African Flagship Languages Initiative, for those interested in studying Akan/Twi, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Wolof, or Zulu. Check out Boren Awards website for a complete list of languages as well as Country Preferences, fields of study, and length of study.

Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.”

“Boren Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.” – Retrieved from Boren Awards Website

Not just national security:

Boren Awards views National Security  broadly, to include “the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.” – Retrieved from Boren Awards Website

This is a great opportunity to study a unique or uncommonly taught language – perfect for MIIS Students!

For more information check out their Website:

Application Deadline: January 27th, 2015

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Hult Prize at MIIS – Tomorrow!

Join us tomorrow at 4:30 in the Irvine Auditorium as student teams present their social business ideas to tackle President Bill Clinton’s 2015 Challenge of Early Childhood Education in the Urban Slum and Beyond.  The event will be Emceed by Program Chair Jeff Dayton-Johnson and our panel of judges will include:

– Yuwei Shi (Dean, GSIPM)

– Jerry Hildebrand (Director of the Center for Social Impact Learning)

– Beryl Levinger (Distinguished Professor and Program Chair)

– Eric Stephenson (Portfolio Manager, The Cordes Foundation)

– David Dobrowski (Evaluations Officer, First 5 Monterey County)

Come out and support your classmates as they take on one of the world’s greatest challenges and look to become the official MIIS team in the Hult Prize Regional Final in the Spring.  We will have a hosted reception in the Irvine Atrium after the final presentation where the winning team will be announced.

Friday, November 14th, 2014

2014 Fall Graduation Group Photo Session

On Tuesday, November 18 GSIPM will be holding our 2014 Fall Graduation Photo Session beginning at 11:45 a.m. The pictures will take place on the steps of City Hall, adjacent to Friendly Park. The photos that will be taken are group photos, so we are asking that you arrive as close to 11:45 a.m. as possible. Our photographer will not be taking any individual photos.

Due to professional courtesy, family and friends will not be permitted to take photographs while our photographer is working. Shortly after the photo session, GSIPM will follow up with an e-mail explaining ordering and payment options.

The dress code for this event will be business attire. So please be prepared to dress appropriately for the occasion.


Friday, November 14th, 2014

GSIPM Dean’s Seminar: Design Thinking to Design Doing


Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Management Intern Program – City of Phoenix, Arizona

Join one of the most respected local government management training programs in the United States! 

This one-year program offers:

  • Professional leadership development and mentorship in nationally acclaimed program
  • Multi-department rotations
  • Opportunity for a career in the nation’s largest Council-Manager local government
  • Full-time position with competitive salary and comprehensive benefit package


If selected, you will learn about every facet of a large, urban, complex city operation from the ground up. During this exciting, and fast-paced year, you will:

  • work on a variety of assignments and projects that affect our community of 1.6 million residents;
  • gain exposure to innovative best practices in an our award-winning organization through your rotations in the City Manager’s Office and a department that provides direct service to the community;
  • participate in the process of setting city policy by staffing City Council meetings;
  • use research and writing skills by studying an issue, recommending solutions and drafting a management report;
  • work directly with residents and city staff on service delivery to the public.

Some of the projects completed by past participants include:

  • Providing staff support for the Pension Reform Task Force;
  • Conducting benchmark studies on weighted voting in regional governments;
  • Assisting in developing the city’s Sustainability Action Plan;
  • Analyzing best practices for apprehending real time graffiti vandals;
  • Developing a project-tracking database for the 2010 Census Complete Count Committee activities.”

– information retrieved from internship website


  • Have earned or completed all coursework for a master’s degree in Public Administration, Business Administration, or a related field by June 29, 2015


Online at: or Call: 602-262-4800

For more information, Visit City of Phoenix Management Intern Program

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Lets get Sprintensive.



IPS and MPA students

Join us tomorrow evening to learn more about the upcoming change to DPP and the alternative learning semester, Sprintensive!

Wine and Pizza reception will follow! 


Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Hult Prize at MIIS – Team Registration


  The priority registration deadline for the inaugural 2015 Hult Prize at MIIS competition is this Friday, November 14th.  All you need to compete is a social business idea that tackles this year’s President’s Challenge, a team of 3 – 5 members and a 10 minute pitch.  The event will be hosted at the Irvine Auditorium on Friday, November 21st at 4:30.

  In partnership with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative this innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges.  Student teams compete around the world for a chance to secure $1,000,000 in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture and spend the summer inside the Hult Business Accelerator – an innovative incubator for social enterprise – and a one year membership into The Clinton Global Initiative.  The 2015 Hult Prize will focus on Early Childhood Education in the Urban Slum and Beyond – a challenge personally selected by President Bill Clinton.

  The winning team from the Hult Prize at MIIS event will be fast tracked to compete at one of the six Hult Prize regional finals events in San Francisco, Boston, London, Dubai, Shanghai, or Rio de Janeiro.  Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into the summer Hult Accelerator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.  A final round of competition will be hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at its annual meeting in September, where CGI delegates will select a winning team that will be awarded the million dollar prize by President Bill Clinton himself.  In the words of President Clinton, “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces.”

Click here to read more

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Cuba J-Term Information Session – Wednesday, October 22nd

Curious about Cuba? Spend J-Term with us!

Dr. Jan Black will host an info session about the practicum on Wednesday, October 22, 6:00 -7:30 pm in McGowan 100.

If you’re thinking about joining the J-Term trip to Cuba, please come to the info session to find out more. This opportunity is open to all current MIIS students.

If you’re not able to make it to the info session, but are interested in the trip, please email us for more details.

Contact persons:

Dr. Jan Black,

Carolyn Taylor Meyer,

Molly Moreland,

Please include all three of us in your email so we can get back to you as quickly as possible.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

USTR Representative to Speak at MIIS



Trade club brings MIIS Alum and Director of Europe and Middle East Affairs of the United States Trade Representative to campus.

Trade club blog

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Elections Workshop with Congressman Sam Farr



Monday, October 6th, 2014

Come learn about IEM organizations!

IEM Poster Fair Invite copy (1)