Posts Tagged careers

MIIS Alumni Find Dream Jobs Come with Familiar Faces – Fellow MIIS Alumni


Thailand alumni – all part of the diplomatic corps -- and their families gathered for a group photo.

A story we posted last year about alumni from the same era working at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey seems to have started a trend, spurring a flurry of e-mails from groups of MIIS alumni working closely together around the world!

Christine Carlson-Ajlani (MPA ’13) wrote to tell us about what she calls “the MIIS enclave” at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT) in the International Labor Affairs Bureau. After serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco as part of her MIIS Peace Corps Master’s International degree, Christine landed her “dream job” last year.

Christine attributes her success directly to the skills she learned in the Peace Corps and the instruction of professors Edgard Coly and Beryl Levinger. She recently helped secure a $5 million grant to combat child labor in Morocco and will be travelling back there to help create their monitoring and evaluation plan. When she arrived at her new job, she discovered that two out of 45 new colleagues also graduated from MIIS: Rachel Rigby (MBA ’03) and Lorena Davalos (MAIPS ’05).

A competitive fellowship program specifically designed to hire MBA graduates brought Rachel to the Department of Labor in her last year at MIIS; Lorena brought experience from working on youth employment issues in Brazil to the job. All three are tireless advocates of reducing child labor and forced labor around the world. As Christine says, “It’s pretty great working across the street from the Capitol Building in the heart of international policy making in D.C., especially with two other talented colleagues from MIIS!” 

Four classmates working in three different embassies in neighboring countries recently got together in Bangkok, Thailand. The hosts, Jennifer Green Matlock (MAIPS ’02) and her husband Dean Matlack (MPA ’01), both work at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. Yekta Noyan (MAIPS ’02) works for the Turkish Embassy in the same city. Their friend Darby Parliament (MAIPS ’03), who works at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, also flew over from Malaysia with his wife Adanys.

Another MIIS get-together was held in Berlin recently, when Lara (Tozawa) Sullivan (MAIPS ’02) and John Kastning (MATI ’05), who both work at the U.S. Embassy, met up with fellow MIIS alumna Nicola Kim (MAIPS ’05), who works in the Canadian Embassy.

For more stories from the Communiqué, check out our latest edition online.

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Employers from Around the World Flock to Recruit at MIIS Career Fair

Career Fair 2014

Students and alumni had the opportunity to meet recruiters from more than 90 organizations at Career Fair 2014 on February 28. 

The opportunity to recruit Monterey Institute students and graduates drew 92 employers from all over the world to the Monterey Conference Center Friday for Career Fair 2014 on February 28. Organizations attending included global brands Apple, Driscoll’s, eBay and Honda, non-governmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and the United Nations Development Programme, language specialists like LanguageLine and Transperfect, and government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of State.

The fair offered Monterey Institute students the opportunity to meet employers, learn about job opportunities, distribute resumés, and set up interviews. Some employers started the day before the fair, hosting information sessions and talking with students. MIIS alumna Sally Young (MATI ’99) flew in from Geneva to recruit candidates for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). She appreciates the quality of MIIS candidates from the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education, in particular their “attention to detail, passion to keep learning, and desire to do in-depth research.” MIIS graduates make up half the full-time staff in her office and MIIS students also fill about half of the internships offered at any point in time.

“Every year, the Institute’s career fair attracts some of the top international employers in the U.S. and the world,” commented Institute President Sunder Ramaswamy. “It’s a direct reflection of how they view our graduates—as exceptionally capable international professionals who are equipped to hit the ground running and make a difference immediately.”

A complete list of participating employers can be found here.

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Student’s Team El Salvador Experience “Connected the Dots…Now I Have More to Offer”

Team El Salvador

Team El Salvador in transit between Monterey and Bajo Lempa.

Since its inception in 2006, Team El Salvador has provided 105 Monterey Institute students with the opportunity to hone their development and language skills while making a meaningful contribution to the lives of people in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador. This January, nine MIIS students were joined by two Middlebury students and, for the first time, a student from California State University, Monterey Bay.

Faculty director Adele Negro is the glue that keeps Team El Salvador together, but each year the leadership of projects is in the hands of students. The student-driven leadership model is, according to Negro, a key component of the program’s effectiveness. Another important factor is the consistency and longstanding partnership that has been developed and nurtured over the years with the two community partner organizations in El Salvador, la Coordinadora and the Mangrove Association.

This year, the students worked on four major projects:

  • The “PLAS” Project, to help improve the functionality and implementation of the Local Sustainable Resource Utilization Plan.
  • The Microcredit Project, to strengthen the administrative system of the NGO’s microcredit program under a new profit-based organization in order to improve its sustainability.
  • The Public Spaces Project, to assess community perception and utilization of spaces and structures so as to answer the question: ”What makes for a strong, healthy, cohesive community?”
  • A Photojournalism Project, to capture in visual and narrative forms the history, experiences and people characterizing the evolution of an eight-year relationship developed between Team El Salvador and its partners.

Many Monterey Institute alumni have spoken about the transformative effect their Team El Salvador participation has had on their studies and careers. Lauren Lambert (MAIEP ’15) appears to have a similarly meaningful experience: “While I have lived abroad on and off throughout my entire life, the three weeks I spent working in El Salvador contextualized what I am doing here at MIIS in a way that nothing else could have.” It “connected the dots,” and clarified how she can make the most of her time at MIIS, so that when she leaves she can have a more profound impact on what she sees as our shared “project human” – to leave this world a better place than when we arrived.

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Class Transforms MIIS Student’s Concept of International Development, Opens Up Career Opportunities

Xiao’ou Zhu (MAIPS ’14) in Sri Lanka

Xiao’ou Zhu (MAIPS ’14) in Sri Lanka on her Frontier Market Scouts field assignment.

Xiao’ou Zhu (MAIPS ’14) says she has always been interested in international development work, but that she had a very narrow view of what that meant until she came to the Monterey Institute. Her view before could best be described as a “brick and mortar” view of development involving official development assistance (ODA) and infrastructure support. That all changed when she took Professor Nukhet Kardam’s Development Theory and Practice class; “it opened a window into the possibilities of international development,” says Xiao’ou.

“For me the most interesting lessons were connected to sustainability and the importance of community involvement,” says Xiao’ou, who along with two other students from the Development Practice and Policy program, Sarah White (MAIPS ’13) and Abdul Khabir Mirzakhail (MPA ’14), worked on a proposal for a small-scale irrigation project in Ethiopia for a non-governmental organization. “It was a perfect team,” Xiao’ou says happily, explaining that they each brought different expertise and experience to a project they all believed to be applicable to their future careers.

More recently, when Xiao’ou applied for a very competitive internship at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, she included their paper as a sample of her work. “I was thrilled when they contacted me and said they were very impressed with the paper!” She was offered a management role in a World Bank agriculture project in China but could not accept, as it would have meant a six-month commitment and she wanted to complete her studies at MIIS. Instead, she decided to join the Frontier Market Scouts program and work on a summer project in Sri Lanka.

Xiao’ou’s decision to decline the internship surprised officials in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, but they continued to be interested in her work and contracted her to work on a research project for them while in Sri Lanka. “So I ended up with two simultaneous internships!” Xiao says, adding that she is working on the deliverables for the ministry as part of a directed study with Professor Wei Liang.

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MIIS Students Visit Haiti to Implement Teacher Training Curriculum Designed in Class

J Term Haiti

Gregory Singfield (MATFL ’14),Haley Berl (MATESOL ’14), Pére Noé (Director of St. André's school), Marie Snider (MATESOL ’13), Evens Israel (English teacher at St. André’s).

In October of this year, Monterey Institute staff member Lisa Donohoe Luscombe (MATESOL ’09) traveled to St. Andre’s school in the central plateau of Haiti on a volunteer mission to conduct an English language needs analysis for the 900-student school and to introduce One Laptop Per Child XO machines to teachers and students. The project, nicknamed “Team EFL Haiti,” attracted a team of four students in the fall curriculum design course led by Professor Jason Martel.

The students—Haley Berl (MATESOL ’14), Dane Carson (MATESOL ’16), Maggie Rodgers (MATESOL ’16) and Syd Schulz (TESOL Certificate ’13)—developed a curriculum design for both English and computer literacy at St. Andre’s. In January over winter term, Haley, fellow student Gregory Singfield (MATESOL ’14) and alumna Marie Snider (MATESOL ’13) traveled to Haiti to work on a three-week project that included teaching evening English classes for the community, working with local English teachers on teacher training and professional development, and setting up a computer lab for students.

As far as real-life professional training goes, it does not get much better than this. The students have all worked exceptionally hard, knowing that their class project can make an immediate difference in people’s lives. Being able to follow up and implement the first phase of the curriculum is another amazing learning experience. In the evening, when the team in Haiti has a few moments to unwind, they use it to hang out with members of the community, laughing and talking into the night. They are dutifully recording their experiences on a blog and will share their reflections and lessons learned with fellow students when they return.

And this is just the beginning—starting in the spring semester, a new group of students will begin developing an official English language curriculum for St. Andre’s school.

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Alumnus Michael Murphy: Water Innovation the Focus of Exciting Career

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy (MBA/MAIEP ’08)

Growing up in hot and dry Austin, Texas gave Michael Murphy (MBA/MAIEP ’08) a deep-rooted understanding of the value of water as a resource and how stressed many of our water sources are. In true Monterey Institute fashion, Michael has made global and local water challenges the focus of a highly specialized career that also relies heavily on his skills in developing community connections.

After working on water supply and sanitation issues for the World Bank for several years, Michael has now taken on the high profile task of leading efforts to build the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ nascent water technology cluster—a $4 billion dollar sector “poised for strong growth” according to the National Law Review. His role is to bring together the nearly 300 organizations, companies, and institutions working within state borders on water technology, with the goal of transforming the disjointed cluster into a world-class hub of water innovation.

“It is very exciting and humbling,” Michael says, noting happily that it has already led to exponential growth of his professional network. “I feel very fortunate to get to work on water, policy, and business in a position that also has includes international development components—it combines all of my professional interests!”

Michael came to the Monterey Institute after spending two years in Bolivia, where he specialized in water resources as a Peace Corps volunteer, planning and building water wells. He quickly connected to the community, finding the knowledge and experience of his fellow students invaluable and working closely with faculty on several long-term projects. But perhaps the most meaningful lessons came from serving as the second co-director of Team El Salvador (’07-’08), the winter term development practicum he says had “tremendous, tangible value.”

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Alumna Johanna Parker: As a Medical Interpreter, “I Get to Learn Something New Every Day”

Johanna Parker

Johanna Parker (MATI ’05)

Monterey Institute alumna Johanna Parker (MATI ’05) gets to combine her love of language with a natural intellectual curiosity in her career as a professional interpreter. As a student in the Translation and Interpretation program in Monterey, she secured an internship at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics and fell in love with the fast-growing profession of medical interpreting. “You really get the feeling that you are making a real difference in people’s lives,” she says of the experience.

When she graduated she had a job lined up at Stanford Hospitals, where she has continued to grow her expertise, and currently holds the position of Lead Interpreter for Education and Training. She also teaches medical interpreting at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “I find medicine very interesting and learn something new every day.” Johanna works with several Institute alumni at Stanford Hospitals, and every year her employer welcomes nine MIIS students as interns.

Medical interpreting is in many ways more personal than traditional conference interpreting where the interpreter is removed from the speaker in a booth. For medical interpreters, “the ultimate goal of the encounter is understanding,” Johanna explains, and the interpreter can ask questions and has the freedom to use clarifying language. The personal interactions can also be difficult, as when interpreters have to break bad news or interpret last rites. The field of medical interpreting is “really coming into its own,” says Johanna, adding that the demand for specialized medical interpretation expertise is growing fast.

Although a respected expert in the field of medical interpreting, Johanna also finds time to expand her horizons further working as a seminar interpreter for the U.S. State Department, where she gets to delve deep into other subjects such as fisheries and foreign affairs. “MIIS really teaches students how to study and how to prepare for anything, which is a big part of the profession.”

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Himayu Shiotani: Turning Dust into a Mountain


Himayu Shiotani (MAIPS ’11) with a UN colleague in Somalia.

Born in Japan, Himayu Shiotani (MAIPS ’11) spent most of his youth in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in India.  During those years he often travelled to Kashmir to visit family, where he “witnessed day-to-day activities hampered by growing insecurity posed by the availability and use of weapons and explosives.” Those memories stuck with him and as he grew older he became increasingly curious about how weapons impact individual and collective decision-making processes.
His curiosity led him to pursue a career exploring those issues and he was drawn to MIIS because of its excellent reputation in the field of disarmament, nonproliferation, and arms control. “I had the pleasure of working closely with Dr. Ed Laurance on small arms and light weapons control issues, and conducting research on the nuclear weapons control regime under the guidance of Dr. Bill Potter,” says Himayu of his studies. Those experiences, along with an International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) placement at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs in New York, have continued to contribute positively to his work.
Since the beginning of 2013, Himayu has travelled to over ten countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, Kosovo, and Nepal, conducting field missions with local and national authorities. As project manager for the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in Geneva, he manages a project to develop a technical assistance tool to enhance the practical application of the International Small Arms Control Standards and to support the states, UN, and civil society in measuring, prioritizing, and evaluating their efforts to implement their commitments.
“In this work I have learned to appreciate every single input and feedback from the people I work with and to handle matters with extreme care,” he shares, and emphasizes how important it is to “remember why we are doing what we do, however small that contribution may be to the bigger picture.” At moments of doubt he says it is good to keep in mind the old Japanese proverb: “Even dust, if piled, can become a mountain.”
For more stories about the Monterey Institute community, check out the most recent edition of the Communiqué newsletter.

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Large Group of International Education Management Students and Faculty Participate in NAFSA Conference

International Education Management at NAFSA

Almost 40 Monterey Institute faculty, staff, students and alumni participated in the recent NASFA Association of International Educators conference. Photo: Lars Schlereth.

The Monterey Institute made its presence in the field of International Education Management felt at the recent NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region 12 conference in San Diego. Thirty-seven students, one staff and two faculty members from the International Education Management program attended the conference.

With record attendance, this conference offered professional training for international education practitioners in the areas of study abroad design and administration, training in international student immigration regulations and strategies for marketing and student recruitment. Students and faculty took the opportunity at the conference to deepen their knowledge of the field, expand professional networks, and identify organizations interested in hosting students during the professional practicum that is part of their master’s degree program.

Eight Monterey Institute community members presented their research or facilitated sessions at the conference. They included:

  • Juliet Tyson (MAIEM ’14) and Anessa Escobar (MAIEM ’14) “What’s Up with Culture?”
  • Kirsten Greene (MAIEM ’13) and Alex Nichol (MAIEM’14) “Mentoring in International Education: Strategies for Success”
  • Alisyn Henneck (MIIS staff member and MAIEM ’13) “EducationUSA: Global Student Mobility Trends Go Local”
  • Alisyn Henneck and MacKenzie Hizon (MATESOL ‘06) presenting “Building Your Institution’s Brand: Using Video to Showcase the Student Experience”
  • Jay Ward (MAIPS ’83)) presenting “Professional Development Opportunities with the International Education Administrators Fulbright Program”
  • Dr. Katherine Punteney, professor and IEM program chair also co-facilitated a nine-hour training on J-1 immigration regulations

“I really enjoyed attending the Region XII NAFSA conference in San Diego last week,” says Chanel Bell (MAIEM/MPA ’15). “Being new to the field, it was great to network with other professionals and learn about the topics affecting international education. I also appreciate how much support and encouragement the IEM faculty gave us in preparation for and throughout the conference. I am looking forward to attending the national conference next May.”

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Alumni Survey Reveals Strong Employment Numbers for MIIS Graduates


The Monterey Institute Career Fair helped a number of 2012 graduates land jobs in their fields.

Making a difference—the goal of many a Monterey Institute graduate—often begins with a more immediate concern: finding a job. The good news is, a “one year out” survey of recent graduates of the Monterey Institute this fall found that an impressive 87 percent were employed, with another five percent not currently seeking employment due to continuing education or other reasons.

Underscoring the value of the support offered by the Monterey Institute’s global alumni network and Center for Advising and Career Services, half of those currently employed obtained their position with help from a Monterey Institute contact, whether alumni, current students, faculty/staff, or via the Institute’s annual Career Fair.

The Institute’s unique focus on language ability also proved invaluable for the 64 percent of respondents who stated that they use the language they studied at the Institute in their work.

“We’re delighted with these results, which demonstrate in concrete terms the relevance and marketability of a Monterey Institute degree,” commented Institute President Sunder Ramaswamy. “It’s also gratifying to see how supportive our alumni network continues to be of their fellow graduates.”

The survey, targeting 2012 graduates and administered by Middlebury College’s Office of Planning and Assessment, had an impressive 65 percent response rate, yielding a wealth of valuable data.


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