Posts Tagged careers

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.

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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.

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Frontier Market Scout’s New Social Venture Connects World Cup Fans with Safe Accommodations in Rio

Favela Experience Founder Elliot Rosenberg

Favela Experience founder Elliot Rosenberg, who developed his social enterprise while participating in the Monterey Institute’s Frontier Market Scouts program.

What happens when a Frontier Market Scout meets the World Cup?

You get a social venture like Favela Experience – founded by Elliot Rosenberg, who holds a certificate in Social Enterprise and Impact Investing from the Monterey Institute’s Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) program – which connects the people of the favelas of Rio with World Cup fans seeking an authentic Brazilian experience and safe, affordable accommodations. Favela is the Portuguese word for slum.

“I am a huge proponent of FMS as it laid the foundation for the connections I needed to make to launch my enterprise,” says Elliot, who worked with Village Capital in Rio as part of his FMS placement in Brazil. Describing his venture, he says: “We’re like Airbnb for Rio’s favelas -- and eventually the rest of the world!”

Affordable accommodations are hard to come by in Rio de Janiero these days as fans from around the globe assemble for one of the world’s most popular sporting events. Soaring hotel rates have logically led many inhabitants of Rio to explore the option of renting out part or all of their homes. The people of the favelas are no exception and Elliot’s social venture is helping to broker safe transactions for all. Favela Experience only operates in favelas with permanent police units, and hosts are recruited through trusted personal networks.

Elliot and Favela Experience have been featured in national and international media leading up to the World Cup, including the Christian Science Monitor, NPR, International Business Times, and the Guardian. He says none of this would have been possible without his incredible FMS advisors and the people he met because of his placement in Brazil. He has this message for Dean Yuwei Shi and other leaders of the program: “You are doing life-changing work for the Scouts, entrepreneurs and their beneficiaries, so I thank you for everything!”

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Recent Alumnus Amer Barghouth: “MIIS Prepared Me Well” for Demanding New Career

Amer Barghouth

Recent MIIS graduate Amer Barghouth speaking at the December 2013 Energy Management Conference & Exhibition in Bahrain.

We always love to hear back from recent alumni who have realized their dreams for an exciting new career propelled by the training and education they received at MIIS. Amer Barghouth (MAIPS ’09, MAIEP ’13) received his job offer from the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), less than three weeks after graduating with a master’s degree in International Environmental Policy in 2013. While acknowledging that the job is demanding, he says happily, “I have always felt up to the task. My education at MIIS has prepared me well for this job.”

Amer first heard about the organization through Dr. Tareq Emtairah, executive director of RCREEE, who taught a workshop on sustainable urban transformation at MIIS. RCREE is a regional nonprofit organization that provides policy advice, as well as technical and institutional support to 13 Arab governments. “My first assignment at RCREEE was to co-author a study commissioned by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the League of Arab States,” says Amer. The findings were presented at the General Assembly of IRENA in January, and will guide IRENA’s future interventions in the region. Currently, Amer is managing the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) Technical Support Program, which provides assistance to member states in the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of short and medium term energy efficiency plans. Furthermore, he is the co-author of the Arab Future Energy Index (AFEX) report, an annual assessment of progress made by Arab countries in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Four people report directly to Amer and he has to manage multiple budgets amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros. In addition, he spends about one week per month on the road promoting energy efficiency and working with various governments to increase the share of sustainable energy in the region. “Professor Zarsky’s and Shrimali’s classes in particular equipped me with the right mix of policy and business skills,” says Amer. He really enjoys his new career, especially “working with different stakeholders from young entrepreneurs to senior-level policymakers to create the right environment for rapid deployment of sustainable energy technologies and practices.”

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MIIS Delegation Makes Waves at National Conference of International Educators

National Conference of International Educators

Kristen Greene and Alex Nichol with their co-presenters David Wick and Kevin Long, and MIIS student Heather Frank (MAIEM '14).

As the International Education Management program at the Monterey Institute heads into its third year, it continues to grow in size and scope. The program is hiring new faculty this summer to prepare for the large incoming class in the fall. That the program is also growing in reputation was clearly evident at the national NAFSA (Association of International Educators) conference in San Diego this week where a delegation of two faculty members, five staff members, half a dozen alumni, and dozens of students made waves with highly regarded presentations and sessions.

Among those presenting were recent alumna Kristen Greene (MAIEM ’13) and current student Alex Nichol (MAIEM/MPA ’14) whose presentation, “Mentoring in International Education: Strategies for Success,” was voted best in session at the 4-day regional conference in November. They were invited to give an encore presentation as part of the Region 12 Highlight. Kristen, who graduated in December, is the International Exchange Coordinator at San Francisco State University. She and Alex presented with two other international education practitioners, David Wick of Santa Clara University and Kevin Long of UC San Francisco.

Other Monterey Institute representatives presenting at the NAFSA conference included Gael Meraud and Jennifer Holguin of the Center for Advising and Career Services (CACS) who presented on “Integrating Career and Academic Advising to Create Globally Competent Leaders,” and current students Jarod Hightower-Mills (MAIEM ’14) and Anessa Escobar (MAIEM ’14) who presented their ideas on the “Integration of Underrepresented Students into Campus Internationalization Efforts.” Program chair Katherine Punteney also hosted workshops on student advising.

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Spring Commencement: Celebrating Achievements of 278 Graduates from 40 Countries


Spring Commencement at MIIS, held on Saturday, May 17th 2014 at the historic Colton Hall lawn. 

Under sunny skies on Colton Hall lawn, 278 students from 40 countries received their degrees from the Monterey Institute of International Studies on Saturday afternoon.  Friends and family members gathered from near and far to celebrate their achievements, providing cheers and laughter in competition with the barks of sea lions and calls of seabirds, the daily soundtrack of downtown Monterey.

Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient David A. Jones, co-founder of Humana, Inc. and a longtime MIIS board member, called language acquisition “the essential gateway to cultural understanding,” and urged the graduates to “be adventurous, be willing to take some risks.”

Former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who serves on the advisory board of the Institute’s James Martin for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS, received an honorary degree as well. Also honored at the ceremony were Middlebury trustee emerita and alumna Betty Jones, and longtime MIIS board members Beverly Hamilton and Stephen McDonald.

Student speaker Charles Ruegger, who received his Master’s in Business Administration, highlighted the diversity of the relatively small student body.  “It helps you to see what life is like on the other side of the fence," said Ruegger adding, "It can really open your eyes.” Prefacing Jones and Ruegger’s comments, the processional featured flag-bearers representing each of the 40 home countries of students in the graduating class, led by bagpiper (and Russian professor) Mike Gillen in full Scottish regalia.



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City of Monterey Recognizes MIIS Students for Exceptional Contribution to Climate Action Plan

Climate Action Plan

Matthew Nichols (MAIEP ’14) and Gabriel Kiritz (MAIEP ’14) with members of the Monterey City Council.

Proving yet again that the Monterey Institute prepares students to take on the most pressing issues of our time and “be the solution” in their chosen field, on May 6 the City of Monterey recognized the outstanding contribution of two graduating MIIS students to their Climate Action Plan.

The students, Gabriel Kiritz (MAIEP ’14) and Matthew Nichols (MAIEP ’14), both of the International Environmental Policy program, were specially recognized for their superb analytic and critical thinking skills by their supervisor, Sustainability Coordinator Ted. J. Terrasas. Mayor Chuck Della Sala thanked them on behalf of the City of Monterey, and also recognized MIIS Career and Academic Advisor Edy Rhodes and Director of Outreach and Employer Relations Dayton Hughes for their role in shaping and promoting the internship.

Matthew describes the eight-month internship with the City of Monterey as a “unique and exciting opportunity” to put theory from his academic program into practice at the local level. By working on the Climate Action Plan, Gabriel adds, not only did they gain “invaluable experience in a specific issue” (climate policy), they also had the opportunity to develop their core competencies of policy and data analysis, technical writing, collaboration, and communication.

Matthew goes on to say that the experience of synthesizing hundreds of pages of data and statutes into a series of appropriate policy recommendations was both a great learning experience and a challenge to think outside the box. Both students are happy to add this internship to their resumes, recognizing the value of gaining real-world job experience as part of their degree program.

Matthew and Gabriel will both be honored as “Graduates with Distinction” at Spring Commencement on May 17.

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MIIS Professor and Student Win $50,000 Innovator of the Year Award

Monterey Bay Startup Challenge Winners

Monterey Bay Startup Challenge winners Maeve Murphy (MBA/MAIEP ’15) and Professor Jeff Langholz after the competition.

“A supportive culture of innovation exists at MIIS,” says Professor Jeffrey Langholz of the International Environmental Policy program, who this weekend won the main prize of $50,000 and title of Innovator of the Year at the Monterey Bay Startup Challenge along with graduate student Maeve Murphy (MBA/MAIEP ’15). Their idea is called Water City and it helps make water conservation easy and profitable for the public.

Freshwater issues are a passion for Maeve, who is working on a joint degree in business administration and environmental policy. “This is why I came to MIIS,” she says happily, explaining that she has long been bothered by the inefficiencies in the way we handle freshwater. Professor Langholz is also passionate about water issues, and when his colleague Kent Glenzer founded the recent Monterey Institute Community Innovation Challenge for students with a challenge focused on water issues, Jeff started thinking actively of solutions.

When Maeve made an appointment with Professor Langholz in February to discuss career options, he shared his water ideas and they decided to combine their strengths. For Maeve, the challenge came at a perfect time. “It was a real-world situation in which I could apply my education thus far to an idea that I am passionate about. There were countless times I would be in class and would realize that what we were learning that moment I could apply to the Water City project and would pull open my notes or financial spreadsheet and start adjusting immediately.” Smiling wryly, Langholz says,”MIIS faculty are in the business of making students’ dreams come true.”

When MIIS faculty and students put their heads together, the rest of the world benefits. But these two do not want to take all the credit for their success so far. “This may have looked like a single student and a single professor,” says Langholz, ”but more than 40 people on campus supported the effort – that's how it works at MIIS!”

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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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