Archive for Student Accomplishments

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 1st, 2017

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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.

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!!!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Incoming MIIS Student Receives Prestigious Rangel Graduate Fellowship

Connecticut College graduate, Pablo Tutillo, has spent much of his time traveling in the last several years. Born in Ecuador, he graduated from Connecticut College in 2013 and has spent time working and/or studying in places such as Turkey, Egypt, and Brazil. He was recently named one of 30 recipients of the prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, awarded to college graduates interested in foreign affairs.

The fellowship provides up to $95,000 over two years for a master’s degree and arranges for internships on Capitol Hill or in U.S. Embassies.

Pablo will be attending the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey this fall with dreams of  becoming a diplomat.

The MIIS community looks forward to welcoming Pablo! More can be read about him and his previous work here.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

MIIS Center for the Blue Economy fellow gets surprise visit from MIIS staff at Nairobi UNEP Headquarters

IMG_1707On the day of my departure from Nairobi, I ventured to the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi to visit the 140 acre United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON). The complex houses over 20 UN offices including the headquarters for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Both UNEP and UN-Habitat headquarters were established in Nairobi in the late 1970s.

After you pass through UNON security you are greeted by a beautiful winding walking path lined with international flags ending at life-size bronze elephants and 10 meter high “KaribuUN” letters. The compound offers the chance of observing local wildlife such as red duikers, squirrels, marsh mongoose, vervet monkeys and olive baboons.

As I toured the conference center, I made my way to the new UNEP offices to visit our unsuspecting Center for the Blue Economy Fellow, Emma Tonge, currently serving as an intern on the Marine Litter Project. Emma follows in the footsteps of 2015 CBE fellow, Kelsey Richardson (IEP ’05) whose summer 2014 UNEP Marine Litter Project research is now being used in two published UNEP reports including: “Valuing Plastics: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry” and a second report on the use of microplastics in personal care and cosmetics products. Kelsey is now serving as a MIIS International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) fellow at the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa.

Click here to read more

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

MIIS IPSS alumnus tracks illicit weapons trading around the world

Jonah_Leff_UN_Weapons_Inspector
Information provides governments and policymakers with arms data previously never available.

It was my first year working at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey when I met MIIS IPS ’06 alumnus Jonah Leff. He was studying the effects of conventional and small arms violence under the tutelage of MIIS professor Edward Laurance, a pioneer in the field of small arms and light weapons trade treaties and research. Jonah was also a fellow serving an internship at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Research (UNODA) through the MIIS International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) program. The IPSS program is designed to help students jump-start their careers through junior-level internships in their field during their final semester of graduate schoo.

Jonah currently serves as Director of Operations at Conflict Armament Research and is based out of Nairobi, Kenya (where we recently met). It’s been wonderful reconnecting with Jonah over the years and to see the MIIS and Middlebury College students he has supported in entering the important field of preventing armed violence.

Click here to read more

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Mark Your Calendars: East Asia Presentations this Thursday!

Presentations at Irvine Auditorium this Thursday, May 7th, 6:30-8:30pm, Reception 8:30-9:30pm!

east asia

The students that went on the first ever two-country program through MIIS Immersive Learning Programs, the East Asia: China and Japan trip, will be presenting this Thursday at Irvine, with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception to follow. The presentations will be very interesting as this program included a semester long seminar which concluded in robust papers, and the feedback from the journey has been very interesting!

The East Asia Practicum was an investigative tour of Tokyo, Japan and Beijing, China, where participants met with and interviewed policymakers, former politicians, and renowned scholars. With unique research topics looking into the the international relations of the region, students were able to seek first-hand information on the dynamics of the two major players: Japan and China. The rise in status of either nation will set the political and economic tone for the region. By experiencing and researching within each nation, students will be able to provide original ideas on the current state of Sino-Japanese relations and the future of region.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/466841256799447/

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 immersive@miis.edu.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Team El Salvador 9 Presentation

Team El Salvador

Please join the members of Team El Salvador 9

in a presentation of their project work during J-Term 2015 in El Salvador

Thursday, April 16, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Digital Learning Commons (DLC), MIIS

420 Calle Principal, Monterey

Come hear about innovative collaborations in coastal resource management, sustainable fishing, public space design for community empowerment… and plans for future initiatives!

~Light refreshments will be served~

To RSVP and for more information, please contact:  anegro@miis.edu

 

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

News about the East Asia Spring Break Journey!

 

 

News from the participants and professors was posted on the miis.edu front page.east asia

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

A Student’s Reflection on the 2015 Regional Hult Competition

IMG_0874

– 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 25th, 2015

IPSS Fellow Blog Featured on LinkedIn

Aileen Yang

Check out current IPSS fellow and International Policy Studies student at MIIS, Aileen Yang’s blog article featured on LinkedIn.  Aileen is spending her last semester at MIIS as an intern at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a distinguished IPSS fellow.  She is blogging about her experience in Geneva, relevance of MIIS classroom simulations, and life at the WTO.

You can check out the story here, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/from-simulations-reality-interns-reflection-aileen-yang?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

J-term for MIIS Students, Off and On Campus

For J-term 2015, we had 70 students go to five countries on four continents.peru photo

Sonia Esquibel, who was on the Peru Practicum on small-scale farming, sent me the wonderful photo of Team Peru (to the right).

She wrote the following about her journey, “I have really enjoyed working with students from MIIS, MIDD, AASD, and Professor Phil Murphy.  Surveying and interviewing rural farmers and working with quantitative and qualitative data have been great.  In terms of skill acquisition, this trip is amazing. I am super grateful for all of the Team Peru folk, thanks for all your patience and humor!”

Most of the Team Peru cohort came back this past Saturday, just two days before classes started.

Stephanie Nelson, was on the El Salvador Practicum on community development, wrote, “This place forces you to reexamine all that you hold within. It’s only when you look inside the eyes of another human being, that you begin to feel sense of raw commonality with that person and truly discover what it means to be standing in the intersection of pain, and hope.”

Judie Henderson, who attended the Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) training at Partners in Health in Rwanda, wrote, “I am moved by the resilience of the Rwandan people.” She had much more to say, of course, and I urge those of you on campus to ask her about it if you are curious.

Dr. Jan Black led a group of students to Cuba through a Global Exchange-organized trip. Dr. Black commented on some of the shouts the group received in the streets expressing good will to Americans.

“It has been interesting to me to see that the media in the US has discussed this opening as such a major change to Cuba, but Cuba has been changing all along. Every year is different than the year before. Fortunately, there has been continuity too, and we’ve met with some of the folks who have helped Cuba keep moving ahead while keeping the best of what has been gained through the Revolution.  We met this time with a former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Mission to the United States who had been with the leadership since the Revolution, but the most exciting meeting always is with Connor Gorry, a MIIS alumna who is now a medical journalist and one of the foremost authorities on the Cuban healthcare system,” shared Dr. Black.

phillyThe Philippines Practicum on “Peacebuilding in Mindanao” kept  a very up-to-date blog here. One blogger said, “Earlier in the day we were in a southwestern region of Mindanao called the Sultan Kudarat province and  it became a very special learning experience.  We met with some of the     elected officials and village elders and they gave us a pretty thorough briefing on the state of affairs within their barangay. They appeared especially proud when they spoke of some of the new ideas that are being implemented to with the goal of empowering the local farmers with additional market options for their produce.”

 

Local Action in Monterey!

Those that stayed in Monterey were very busy as well.  Thirty-four classes and workshops were in session this January and I had the opportunity to talk to students from a few of them.

26 people from 11 countries attended DPMI Monterey, which lasted three weeks and ended last Friday. The group had the opportunity to work closely with local homeless service providers as part of one of their projects. Tom Gray said, “As a Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies student, despite the great reviews I had heard about DPMI, I had doubts about how10834880_1540130296237511_8138925882615918401_o (1) useful the program would be for my career prospects. However, after going through the program, I am now sure I made the right decision – DPMI teaches a range of different tools and techniques that I expect to be just as useful in the US government as they are in the development field. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their project design and evaluation skills, regardless of their intended career path.”

Students in the International Marine Law Seminar collectively shared that “The class was an ocean of knowledge in a short period of time, but the experience was extremely valuable (pun intended).” They also added that they were grateful to learn from someone as admired as IUCN High Seas Policy Advisor, Kristina Gjerde. The photo above is by Chelsea Jordan, and is of an elusive rainbow spout of a humpback whale that the group got to see on their whale-watching trip at the conclusion of their course. Apparently a whale breached mere yards from their boat, close enough to make the captain swear.

Frontier Market Scouts, also known as FMS, had six workshops In January. Erina McWilliam-Lopez, the Social Impact Programs Director, sent me the photo below and added, “We just finished the first official CSIL version of the FMS training in Monterey. The cohort of 32 were diverse not only in terms of nationalities but also in tFMS-Ladieserms of perspectives and skillsets. FMS participants enjoyed a surprise visit from impact investor Ron Cordes of the Cordes Foundation. Throughout the two-week training, the group experienced an accelerated learning curve during sessions focused on due diligence for impact investing, innovative business model design, organizational culture, and impact metrics systems scoping. But, they also found time for cooking an amazing pop-up Indian meal together, salsa dancing, and beautiful Big Sur hiking. It was a graceful mix of business with a touch of fun. “

About 30 students participated in Econ Bootcamp with Prof. Moyara Ruehsen and Jason Scorse. Chanel Bell said “It was a great opportunity for me to learn the fundamentals of economics. Micro provided me with a good understanding about how economics work in everyday life and macro gave me the basic understanding of how trade works between countries.”

Overall it was a very busy and productive J-term. If you have any quotes or photos from your J-term experience that you would like to share, please submit them to me, Katya Gamolsky at immersive@miis.edu.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Remember the great IEP video from Follies?

Here it is:

Anything Is Possible When You Conserve Water

*by Stephanie Gentle

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! 

Sprintensive

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Come learn about IEM organizations!

IEM Poster Fair Invite copy (1)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

TEAM PERU: Is it right for YOU?

 

The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How!
TeamPeru_201415 copy

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

DPMI Plus Colloquium – Webcast!

DPMI Colloquium