What are some of the most challenging and rewarding facets of pursuing an MPA at the School of Public Affairs?
Some of the most challenging facets of pursuing an MPA at the School of Public Affairs is managing all of the activities I have going on outside of school. In addition to my classes, I work part-time and intern part-time, so lots of my would-be study time is filled up. This has definitely honed my time management skills and put into perspective the extracurricular activities which are truly important. I have created a schedule and have stuck to it – truly for the first time in my life! I haven't deviated from the designated times I have set for myself.
The most rewarding facets of pursuing an MPA at SPA is the instruction I receive in the classroom and the connections I've established with my classmates. Now in my second semester, I am impressed that my professor’s work in the areas they teach; they are truly experts in their fields.
I also find that connecting with other students has been extremely valuable. From supporting each other with assignments to exchanging life/work experiences, my education thus far has been enriched by interactions with my fellow schoolmates.
Also, Career Services has significantly helped me in pursuing my niche of interest (international affairs). The staff is accommodating to students’ schedules and assists us throughout the job and internship process. I recommend all students to stop by and take advantage of this resource.
What have you learned so far while interning at The Clinton Foundation? What do you hope to learn?
I'm grateful to be interning at The Clinton Foundation; it has been a great experience that I am thoroughly enjoying. I work with the Operations/IT Department and that has allowed me to learn about the Foundation as a whole and all of its amazing programs and initiatives. I am learning a lot of "hard" skills from automating documents and enhancing workflow electronically. I assist with creating tutorials on how to use the Foundation's intranet which allows employees to share and collaborate on documents and enhances information sharing between departments. Since it is a very large foundation with so many people, this increases transparency and makes all the departments feel more unified since they can collaborate interdepartmentally.
Throughout this internship I have had many opportunities to learn from many of the other departments. There are presentations by different program managers where all the interns can gain insight into different initiatives and the impact they make transforming people's lives all across the globe. It really puts things into perspective, especially not working directly with those projects; it makes you realize that the work you are doing matters because it helps a much larger cause.
For the duration of my internship, I hope to learn more about program management and how to execute programs abroad. Being part of the beginning stages and planning and strategizing into the final stages of a program will teach me transferable skills I can use in my career.
What drives your desire to enter into the international affairs arena? How do you hope to impact the world?
My desire to enter into the international affairs arena was ignited by an internship I completed as an undergrad with a nonprofit named The More Than Tomorrow Project (MTT). MTT helps to bridge the digital divide in underserved areas. I had the opportunity to spend a summer in India and provide assistance building computer centers in rural areas and teaching computer literacy. It was the most incredible experience I've had up until that point. I have never seen such dire poverty and have never seen so many people struggling to survive. It made a lasting impact and instilled in me the drive to work in international affairs to help those living in extreme poverty and who have very limited opportunities to succeed. I want to work with initiatives that empower women and children to be educated and self-sufficient. My goal is to work for the United Nations and to spend some time in the field with the people who are receiving direct help so that I can witness the positive results of international aid programs and hear the stories of the people whose lives have been transformed.