Empowering Work in Partnership with Local Monterey NGOs [Yanyan Wang IPD ’18]

Yanyan Wang working on her practicum project with a friend in the library.
Yanyan Wang working on her practicum project with a friend in the library.
Yanyan Wang working on her practicum project with a friend in the library.

Yanyan Wang completed a practicum project with Professor Mahabat Baimyrzaeva in her fall semester. She was consultant to two local NGOs: Monterey Museum of Art and Patron of Encinitas Park (PEP). In this article, she describes her experience and outlines what she found most beneficial from her EPL.



This EPL experience with Professor Mahabat Baimyrzaeva is to provide consulting service to two NGOs. One organization I am working with is the Monterey Museum of Art. Monterey Museum of Art is a local NGO that focuses on the region’s visual arts and demonstrates California’s vibrant and diverse spirit by connecting art and community. Together with another MIIS student consultant, I work on a group consulting project on marketing strategy for the Monterey Museum of Art. The other NGO I work with is Patron of Encinitas Park (PEP). Patron of Encinitas Park is a grassroots organization formed by local business owners and residents to support Encinitas residents and their interests in enhancing city’s parks, beaches, trails, and open spaces. Similarly, I work on a group fundraising consulting project for Patron of Encinitas Park, and I was also invited to be the grant adviser of the PEP board.

It has furthered my understanding of the knowledge we learnt in class and take it to a higher level, which enables me to better apply in my future career.

My practicum project of providing consulting services to the two NGOs is a very good practical training opportunity for me that has contributed to my education at MIIS and benefited me considerably. I have three main reasons that this opportunity has benefited me.

First, this immersive learning opportunity has enabled me to demonstrate, integrate, apply, deepen, and reflect on core competencies of my degree. It has provided me with a very good opportunity to apply what I learnt in my International Policy and Development program at MIIS to practice. It has furthered my understanding of the knowledge we learnt in class and take it to a higher level, which enables me to better apply in my future career.

Second, during my consulting service to the two NGOs , I have got the chance to partner with the other student consultants from MIIS to complete meaningful research that directly influences methodologies on marketing and fundraising of the two organizations.

Third, I have received tremendous help from my professor Mahabat Baimyrzaeva during the whole consulting project. It has improved my understanding and skills, and it is very helpful to my future career. Moreover, as a Stillwell Scholar at MIIS, I am planning to help with marketing and fundraising to increase the influence of Stillwell Scholarship and carry on the aim of the scholarship in building the relationship between China and US and between the people of the two countries. At the same time, I also want to do some work for MIIS in the future if possible. What I have learnt and practiced during this immersive learning opportunity with the Monterey Museum of Art and Patron of Encinitas Park has got me closer to these goals.


Anyway, this EPL experience is a great experience that has deepened my professional experience in consulting and has contributed to my education immensely.

Networking Nervousness + Launching a Magazine with No Experience = Success. [Harlyn Lane TLM ’23]

image of Harlyn Lane working on ROAR translation magazine at MIIS.

Harlyn describes her motivation and curiosity in the development of a MIIS magazine for TLM. She outlines the skills and knowledge base she drew upon. This article provides great advice on how students can effectively venture into new disciplines and sectors.


ROAR Magazine home page in March, 2023. https://roar.tlmcreate.net/

I knew I would start this summer by networking, a daunting task many grad students fear. The goal was to gather information and tools to create a strong foundation for ROAR magazine to have a successful first year out. As a content creator with zero understanding of running a magazine, let alone what to put inside it, I dove straight into the networking pool and did a little rummaging. With ROAR magazine as the focused topic, I felt comfortable reaching out to professionals with focused questions regarding their work. I spoke to content writers, marketing experts, and publishers to get a complete perspective on how a magazine can run, thrive, and succeed.  

I knew I would start this summer by networking, a daunting task many grad students fear.

While the topic of ROAR was the focus of all my informational interviews, I learned a bit about my speakers, learning how they transfer experiences and stories into the written word to share with others. Professionals in the industry share something because they feel it can be helpful for readers (or at least entertaining). Students feel the same way about classes they’ve taken or internships they’ve acquired. These stories shouldn’t be hidden for special events like career fairs. Students have stories to tell, and ROAR wants to share them. My content team and I can fill in some gaps, sharing our experiences and thoughts about classes and career directions, but we need more voices than three. LinkedIn is indeed a powerful resource when trying to get content writers. More often than not, most people in the Localization industry are excited to share their stories, especially if they’re excited about it. So this led to a new path to consider: Marketing and outreach for the magazine.  

For outreach and marketing, though, would LinkedIn be enough? Are there other ways to reach students who maybe aren’t big on LinkedIn? After talking to my informants and doing a little research, I noticed that MIIS had a lot of global and local partnerships with schools and organizations. Already recognizing the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, where I learned about MIIS, I could envision reaching out to these people living and working abroad. The stories they could share about how they utilize language while abroad, the cultural experiences they have with the locals in the area they live, the stories that we all can relate to, even though the location and cultures are different every time. These are the kinds of people that MIIS is looking for as prospective students, so those are the kinds of voices we should try to collect for the magazine.  

Throughout the summer, I stayed in touch with my content creator team regularly. The check-ins with them were a good reminder of our original view, and if we made changes, were these changes heading us in the new direction we want to go in? Some of the challenges we encountered were that we weren’t sure about our articles’ writing style and format. For example, someone writes a blog post we would love to publish. The problem is that the writing style and design are different. Writing for a magazine is a different writing style than writing a blog post: the voice of the piece changes. My team and I debated a couple of times about responding to these. We didn’t want to add more work to the contributor, but if we changed it, we risk altering the original writer’s voice. After a few edits and discussing things back and forth, we changed blog posts’ writing and formatting styles so the writer could repost the same content in two different mediums.  

The stories they could share about how they utilize language while abroad, the cultural experiences they have with the locals in the area they live, the stories that we all can relate to, even though the location and cultures are different every time. These are the kinds of people that MIIS is looking for as prospective students, so those are the kinds of voices we should try to collect for the magazine.  

Another thing I learned was that there are different ways to talk about the same content, even if it’s in the same medium. Similar to the blog format versus a more traditional article way of writing. ROAR has a podcast side as well. Was this a chance to fuse both sides? I took this chance to reach out to another professional in the industry, one who worked for MultiLingual Magazine, to ask her how the different mediums worked. Currently, MultiLingual doesn’t have a podcast, though they’re trying to record articles to make it more accessible to those who prefer listening to their content rather than reading it. However, upon hearing the challenges they had to face, I figured this would be a great chance to play with the idea of joining forces with the podcast. Some things are better in podcast form, but that medium isn’t for everyone (I’m not a podcast listener myself). ROAR Magazine has the chance to become a multimedia platform for student news, discoveries, adventures, and fun updates.  

I knew my takeaway from this summer would be networking and research experience. I’m entering my practicum to understand better how a magazine can work within an industry. We must ensure that while we have these different mediums and voices, we still maintain our quality of information. Are the articles we’re posting helpful, engaging, or fun? Does everyone feel like they can submit something if they want to? ROAR should be a space where students can come to explore and express their adventures in localization. A strong, grounded platform can grow without losing sight of its original purpose: To give students a place to share their voices. 

Reflecting on Transformative Experience of Middlebury Social Impact Corps [Adam Schreiber MPA ’20 and Emily Hoang MPA/IEM ’20]

Middlebury Social Impact Corp cohort and staff in 2019.

2019 Cohort

2019 Cohort and Staff

Adam and Emily reflect on their personal experiences in the Middlebury Social Impact Corp (MSIC). Each writer discusses what they found most challenging, their favorite components of the program, and how they further developed their policy and communication skills.


Adam Schreiber

My internship with Middlebury Social Impact Corps was a unique learning opportunity in many ways. Along with the rest of the six-person cohort, I had the chance to travel throughout Monterey County, making personal connections with many local leaders as well as “typical” community members. I enjoyed being able to learn about my immediate surroundings and the community that I currently call home while also gaining valuable experience in leading and managing a team. Because of the ambiguity that our cohort faced throughout the summer, we had to adapt to new information every day and adjust our strategies accordingly.

It was often challenging to discern how to allocate our time for maximum impact, however we gradually became more comfortable in taking initiative and pursuing opportunities as they presented themselves. Perhaps one of our biggest accomplishments as a group was the extent to which we navigated that uncertainty by proactively identifying opportunities to move the work forward. Each member of the team was able to provide input on key group decisions and there was ample opportunity for individuals to pursue aspects of the work that they found particularly interesting.

Perhaps one of our biggest accomplishments as a group was the extent to which we navigated that uncertainty by proactively identifying opportunities to move the work forward.

I appreciate that my work this summer allowed me an inside look at community collaboration and informed my understanding of Collective Impact. I have continued to work with United Way in supporting Impact Monterey County’s 2019 assessment and look forward to contributing to the next phase of the project.

I was very impressed with the undergraduate interns in our cohort, both by their overall competence and ability to work collaboratively on a daily basis. I enjoyed the mentorship aspect of the internship and feel as though I learned a lot from the experience of leading and supporting the undergraduates.

The role required constant communication and role-sharing between my MIIS partner and I, which was certainly challenging at times. However, I think that we worked effectively as a pair and complemented each other well in terms of interests and skills that we brought to the team.

Emily Hoang

Summer 2019 was the first time MSIC had partnered with United Way Monterey County (UWMC). As an inaugural program, we did not have the benefit of previous cohorts’ experiences to rely on. While this gave us the freedom to create our own orientation and on-boarding process for our cohort, it also left us with the heavy responsibility of ensuring that we properly introduced the cohort to Impact Monterey County, the county itself, and the expectations for our work and roles moving forward.

We constantly questioned how best to lead the cohort in the face of “ambiguity”. As leaders of the cohort, we emphasized open communication from the beginning and strove for transparency as we navigated confusion at different stages in the project. Because we did not have pre-determined tasks to complete, approaches to abide by, or guides to follow, our work over the summer took shape day by day as we responded to new information and shifting priorities. This adaptive approach required daily conversations within the cohort to determine how best to move forward and contribute most effectively to the IMC assessment.

That ambiguity necessitated a level of communication and adaptability that brought us closer together as a cohort while also teaching some important lessons about the realities of professional work environments.

It is worth mentioning that ambiguity throughout the experience was connected to some positive outcomes, both personally for cohort members as well as collectively. That ambiguity necessitated a level of communication and adaptability that brought us closer together as a cohort while also teaching some important lessons about the realities of professional work environments.


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