Archive for category Featured

Fulbright Scholars from 17 Countries Refine English and Academic Skills at MIIS

Fulbright Scholars

Fulbright students from around the world gathered for a welcome reception at the Monterey Institute in late July, 2014.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and for many of the Fulbright scholars attending the pre-academic program at the Monterey Institute, the time they spend here is their first introduction to the United States. It has become a cherished summer tradition for MIIS to host the Fulbright English for Graduate Studies program here on campus, providing academic courses as well cultural experiences.

The students attend English language courses with Monterey Institute faculty, attend lectures by various faculty and community members touching upon different aspects of life in the U.S., and attend “Graduate Student Life Skills” workshops focusing on real-life issues such as health and safety, banking, computer skills, getting along with roommates and more.

Cultural activities include hiking at Garland Ranch, visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, traveling to San Francisco, participating in dinners at the homes of Monterey County community members, and attending a Monterey Institute community traditional Iftar dinner to celebrate the breaking of the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Among volunteer activities the students participate in are giving cultural presentations at the Boys & Girls Club, and helping with United Way‘s “Stuff the Bus” event this Saturday to provide school supplies to children in need.

“One of the things I really value about this program is that it helps the participants build a strong support network,” says Katie Dutcher, assistant director of Intensive English Programs. The students come from countries as far away from each other as Nicaragua and Turkmenistan, Indonesia and Albania, and after their experience in Monterey they depart to universities all over the U.S., returning home upon completion of their studies. “During this first month, all of these diverse and amazing people get to meet and form a team, and I love the way they support and encourage each other throughout their studies.”

One of the scholars said at the welcome reception that he berlieved there was a very negative impression of the U.S. in his home country, but after his time in Monterey he would tell everyone how wonderful the people are. No need to ask for a second chance at that first impression!

Tags:

Anonymous Donor Pledges $1.8 Million to Support Center for the Blue Economy

Trent Hodges.jpg

Student Trent Hodges’ summer 2014 fellowship working on “"surfonomics” with Save the Waves in Mexico was funded by generous supporters of the Center for the Blue Economy, and included the opportunity to participate in a “paddle out” ceremony.

The Monterey Institute has received a $1.8 million challenge gift that aims to both support and inspire the continued growth and expansion of the Institute’s ocean and coastal economics research and education center, the Center for the Blue Economy.

The gift has three components: a $600,000 outright gift in the first year (beginning July 1, 2014), and challenge matching gifts of $600,000 in each of the following two years, with the goal of generating at least $3 million for the center’s operations over the next three years.

“This generous challenge gift will help to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the Center for the Blue Economy over the next several years,” commented MIIS President Sunder Ramaswamy. “It should serve to inspire other individuals, foundations, and grant-makers to meet this donor’s challenge and raise additional major support, including endowed funds, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Center. I look forward to working with potential supporters worldwide who care about the future of our oceans.”

CBE Director Jason Scorse, a MIIS professor who also chairs the school’s Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy program, said “this new gift and the challenge it kicks off will allow the CBE to build upon the strong momentum generated over the past two years. It will allow us to expand our economic databases and analyses into new and important policy areas where economic data is lacking. We will also launch our new Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics this year, expand our international efforts beyond Asia and Europe, and be able to provide significantly more financial support to students enrolling in the ocean and coastal resource management concentration in our International Environmental Policy program.”

“The CBE is uniquely positioned to make the economic case for ocean conservation and to better inform decision makers with important economic information long absent from policy dialogue,” added Scorse. “We hope to play a key role in helping to shape policies on ocean and coastal issues in the years ahead."

Tags:

www.miis.edu 2014-07-24 16:23:59

Tags:

Faculty Profile: The Distinct Music of Professor Mike Gillen

Mike Gillen with Uliana Prosvirina

Professor Mike Gillen (BARS ’78, MBA ’81, right) with graduate Uliana Prosvirina (MATI '14) after the May 2014 Commencement ceremony.

Mike Gillen (BARS ’78, MBA ’81) is a rare bird – not only does he have degrees from both the Monterey Institute of International Studies and its predecessor the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, but he is also the Russian professor who plays the bagpipes and leads the procession at every commencement. When you meet Mike, it all makes sense. He is a natural teacher who embraces a good challenge, whether in choice of language or instrument.

Growing up in Denver, Mike Gillen learned to play the piano at an early age. His gravitation to bagpipes did not come from his Scottish heritage but a relationship to a talented neighbor who gave him his first lessons. It could be said that serendipity – of sorts – also led Mike to master the Russian language. “On the day of my 7th grade registration I was sick,” he shares with a wry smile, adding that all Spanish and French classes were full by the time he could make his pick so Russian was all that was left.

Intrigued by the language and culture, Mike majored in Russian and music in college before coming to MIFS to complete his B.A. degree. After graduation he worked at the Defense Language Institute teaching and developing courses while pursuing his master’s degree at the newly renamed MIIS. He worked for a while in the private sector doing freelance translation work but came back to MIIS as an adjunct professor in 1985.

“At first my motivation was cynically self-serving,” Mike says of his decision to become a full-time professor a few years later. “There was a lack of qualified translators and I figured I would just train them myself.” In his close to forty-year affiliation with MIIS, Mike says the school has shed some of its funkiness and matured its mission, but remains essentially the same place. He loves seeing students overcome challenges and notes that “nothing comes easy for them here – it is all applied learning.” And the key to longevity as faculty: “You’ve gotta like young people!” It probably doesn’t hurt when they like you back.

Tags:

Alumna Satomi Kobayashi: Around the World and Back Again

Alumna Satomi Kobayashi

Satomi Kobayashi (MATFL ’97).

Growing up in Japan, alumna Satomi Kobayashi (MATFL ’97) always dreamt of traveling the world and volunteering for the good of others. Her practical side led her to the field of language teaching and the Monterey Institute. It turned out to be the perfect environment for both interests.

“While I was still a student at MIIS, I got an offer too hard to resist,” she shares, adding that the offer was for a teaching position at a local private high school that included covering her tuition. While teaching at the high school, she joined Operation Crossroads of Africa and spent her summer setting up youth groups in one of the most impoverished areas of Malawi. She was hooked. The following year, Satomi was off to Nepal to work in the Bhutanese refugee camps. In 2001, she took a sabbatical from teaching and worked for a year as a volunteer for two non-profit organizations in Tanzania.

At that point Satomi was at a crossroads in her life, and her career. “I wanted a family and I also had to think about a steady income,” she says of her decision to return to teaching and to Monterey. “It was not an easy decision, but I realized that most of the people working in the field were either single or not living in the same country or area as their family.” Satomi currently works for the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in the test management division.

“I am very happy with the choices that I made,” she remarks and adds that working at DLI is a little like MIIS in that she gets “to learn about other cultures through differences in customs, food, or from anecdotes and life stories.” Her hope is to retire early and use her income to continue her volunteer work, to fulfill her wishes to “do something good for the community, country, or the world!” She values greatly the balance she has with her family life and job at DLI and says that none of that would have been possible without MIIS.

Tags: ,

New International Trade & Economic Diplomacy Degree to Launch in Fall 2015

Robert Rogowosky - Shanghai Free Trade Zone

Prof. Robert Rogowosky (center), program chair for the new Master of Arts in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy, with students on a March 2014 immersive learning trip to the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

With the increasing interdependence of the global economy accelerating the demand for high-caliber trade professionals, the Monterey Institute of International Studies today announced the launch of its new Master of Arts in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy degree program.

The new 18-month program will feature two semesters of classroom instruction in Monterey, and a final semester based out of the Institute’s new Washington, D.C. office, which includes a large classroom and videoconferencing space and offers direct access to policymakers and career networking opportunities. The program will enroll its first students in fall 2015.

“This unique 18-month program will give students the opportunity to combine two semesters of intensive classroom training with a semester in Washington, D.C. working directly with leading practitioners in the field,” said President Sunder Ramaswamy. “The program will position them well to make a successful transition into the professional world of international trade.”

Students will begin with an introductory boot camp to reinforce basic skills, and progress through the program with same diverse cohort of classmates and colleagues. The program is designed to foster the leadership, writing, communication, and team-building skills that will allow graduates to excel as professionals in areas including international trade, economics, business and finance, international institutions & law, economic diplomacy, and multicultural negotiation..

The new program builds on the Trade, Investment and Development track previously offered within the International Policy Studies degree program. At various times in the past, the Institute has offered standalone master’s degrees in Commercial Diplomacy (1998-2005) and International Trade Policy (2004-11).

“I'm excited about the opportunity to launch this new degree,” said Professor Robert Rogowsky, chair of the new program. “This program combines existing MIIS strengths with an innovative new approach offering the kind of practical experiences and networking opportunities that will ensure our graduates will become sought-after professionals.”

For more information about the Master of Arts in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy degree program, visit go.miis.edu/trade.

Tags:

MIIS Community More Than Doubles Campaign Goal in Earning $25,000 Match for Student Financial Aid

25k Donor Match Challenge

The MIIS community rose to the challenge, more than doubling the initial goal of 250 individual gifts in 25 days!

The Monterey Institute’s extended campus community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni is known for many things—language abilities, global perspectives, and cross-disciplinary innovation, to name a few. This June, two other key characteristics of the MIIS community came into focus: loyalty, and the desire to be the solution to any problem our community encounters.

As chronicled in a previous story, the Monterey Institute community was presented with an exciting challenge in early June by long time board member and supporter Jed Smith. If 250 alumni and friends of the Institute would make a gift of any size over the 25 days stretching from June 5 to June 30, Jed pledged to match it with $25,000 for student financial aid. “I hope this match will inspire others throughout the Monterey Institute community to step up and show their support,” said Jed—and he was not disappointed.

When the challenge finished on June 30—and staff finished tallying the flood of gifts large and small—the final tally came to 541 gifts totaling more than $125,000! With the $25,000 match added on, this campaign raised more than $150,000 for student financial aid.

“This truly remarkable outcome demonstrates once again how much our alumni value the experiences they had at MIIS, and how much they want to pass that opportunity on to future students,” commented President Sunder Ramaswamy. “We are tremendously grateful to every donor who stepped up and made a gift to help us earn this match, whether it was for $5 or $5,000.”

Financial aid helps ensure that the Monterey Institute’s student body includes a vibrant mosaic of individuals from all over the world and all different backgrounds every year. Approximately 90 percent of students receive some financial aid while attending MIIS. To make a gift to the Monterey Institute, visit go.miis.edu/give.

Tags:

MIIS to Offer New Intensive Training Program for Spanish-English Community Interpreters

Professor Holly Mikkelson

Professor Holly Mikkelson (center) is among the faculty teaching in the Monterey Institute’s new Spanish Community Interpretation Program.

Beginning in January 2015, the Monterey Institute of International Studies will offer a fast track to professional interpreting positions in bilingual Spanish-English communities through its new six-month Spanish Community Interpretation Certificate program.

The new program is designed as a hybrid, low-residency program that begins with an on-site, four-week module on the Monterey Institute campus in January, continues with an online module through the spring, and culminates with a seven-week summer module back in Monterey. The concluding summer module includes a week of intensive preparation for medical and court certification exams.

Participants who complete the certificate will be eligible for many freelance or staff positions at courts, law firms, hospitals, clinics, school districts and other public service centers. Ideal candidates for the program should have a bachelor’s degree, strong bilingual and bicultural skills, and an interest in using their language and cultural backgrounds to facilitate communication in these important community environments.

The program features nationally-known faculty who are active interpreters and translators in the community market, teaching a curriculum that offers participants a solid foundation in written translation, sight translation, consecutive dialogue interpreting and simultaneous interpreting.
The Monterey Institute’s state-of-the-art interpreting lab facilities enable participants to develop and hone their professional skills with extensive individual feedback.

For more information, or to apply to the Monterey Institute’s Spanish Community Interpretation Certificate program, please visit go.miis.edu/communityinterp.

Tags:

Alumnus Garvey McIntosh Shoots for the Stars Working at NASA

Garvey McIntosh with Leah Gowron

Garvey McIntosh (MAIPS ’03) with Alumni Relations Director Leah Gowron (MPA ’97).

Garvey McIntosh (MAIPS ’03) came to the Monterey Institute of International Studies from Japan, where he had been teaching for four years. The inspiration for this move was actually his father, a retired college professor who had attended a conference at MIIS, and proclaimed that this was the “exact place” for him! As it turns out, his father was right—and in many ways still is, because Garvey has remained actively involved as an alumnus and is now one of the leaders of the revitalized Washington D.C. MIIS alumni chapter.

Garvey is among those MIIS graduates who really can claim two different sets of classmates. He certainly left his mark on campus, earning his master’s degree in International Policy Studies while serving as Student Council president and working in the President’s Office, where he had the opportunity to interact with faculty, staff and students from all corners of campus. “I saw it as my role in a way to improve relations among everyone,” Garvey says.

That knack for facilitating connections is one of Garvey’s greatest strengths and he has used it, along with his other skills, to catapult into a very rewarding career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). While at MIIS, Garvey received a Center for Nonproliferation Studies fellowship to work for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for close to a year and then he was off to Vietnam on a yearlong Boren fellowship. When he returned to complete his degree after two years away, he had the opportunity to gain a new set of classmates.

“I love my job,” Garvey says affably of his position as international programs specialist at NASA, noting that the majority of space and aeronautics missions today have an international component. He has traveled the world negotiating agreements on behalf of the U.S. government and NASA, and we can’t help but think that international scientific cooperation is in good hands.

For more stories from the current issue of the Communiqué newsletter, see the online edition.

Tags: ,

MIIS Welcomes 137 Summer Language Students to Campus

SILP Spanish Students

A group of students studying Spanish in the Summer Intensive Language Program (SILP) enjoy a summer afternoon on the Samson Student Center patio.

The first days of school is always filled with excitement and new discoveries. The air was certainly filled with promise and good cheer when Monterey Institute summer language students celebrated their first week with a pizza party on Friday.

This year, the Institute welcomed 114 students to the Summer Intensive Language Program, or SILP. Students enroll in SILP with the goal of seriously improving their skills in Arabic, French, Chinese, Russian or Spanish over the summer, while also enjoying a host of cultural activities to enhance their learning experience. Close to half of the students are incoming graduate students and the other half come from a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate institutions across the United States, as well as one student from Liberia.

Also here in Monterey for the summer are 23 students from 10 countries who are enrolled in the English as Second Language program, or ESL. These students will also participate in diverse extracurricular activities to learn about the Monterey area and gain cultural context for the new language they are attempting to master.

Tags: