Category Archives: Internships

Fordham IPED Student Interns at the UNDP

Five Fordham IPED students are working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York City. Two of our students, Greg Fischer ’19 and Sarah Garwood ’19, are Arrupe Fellows and have been supporting the UNDP Global Program on Nature for Development since August 2017. Masud Rahman ’19 and Stephanie Swinehart ’19 joined the Nature for Development team this January 2018. Starting this semester, Mariam Tabatadze ’19 supports the UNDP Innovation Facility at the Bureau of Policy and Planning Support.Greg Fischer ’19 is an Arrupe Fellow with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development. He currently supports the Equator Initiative through work on their e-learning modules, translations of Equator Prize winners’ case studies, and Impact Investing. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program with a concentration in International Development Studies. He completed his undergraduate degree at Augustana College in Secondary Education and History. Prior to working with the UNDP, Greg spent almost five years in São Paulo, Brazil, as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner where he coordinated a social advocacy campaign project for immigration and refugee issues and held a public office position to represent the immigrants in his borough.

Sarah Garwood ’19 is an Arrupe Fellow with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development supporting the Equator Initiative and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net). She is a graduate student at Fordham University studying International Political Economy and Development with a concentration in International Development Studies. Her research on biodiversity experts expands the capacity of UNDP platforms. She also manages communications and social media campaigns for various projects. Prior to working with the UNDP, she spent two years in Belize City, Belize as a Jesuit Volunteer, supporting education and holistic development programs for at-risk youth. She holds a B.B.A. in International Business and Management from Villanova University.

Masud Rahman ’19 is a Programme Assistant with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development, and he is assisting the team in Equator Initiative and private finance endeavors, focusing extensively on impact investment matchmaking. He is a Fulbright recipient from Bangladesh currently pursuing M.A. in International Political Economy & Development at Fordham University in New York. He completed his undergraduate degree in business administration before focusing on development economics. He has years of experience working in international development, trade and conservation projects largely in developing countries and underprivileged communities. Sustainable cross-border trade policy and alternative financing vehicles are his fields of interest.
 
Stephanie Swinehart ’19 is a Programme Assistant with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development supporting the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and knowledge sharing of strategic programming, including ecosystem services and illegal trade in wildlife. She is a graduate student at Fordham University pursuing an M.A. in International Political Economy & Development. Prior to joining UNDP, she worked in ecological economic research and agricultural consulting and has field experience as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal and as an assistant project manager for a food security and microfinance initiative in Malawi. Stephanie holds a B.S.B.A in Business and International Studies from Saint Louis University. Research interests include resource economics with a focus on sustainable agriculture and ocean initiatives.
Mariam Tabatadze ’19 is a Fulbright scholar from Tbilisi, Georgia and an intern at the Innovation Facility at the Bureau of Policy and Planning Support of the UNDP. Mariam’s work experience as the government counterpart to the UNDP Georgia team on innovation projects enables her to have an in-depth understanding of her current internship. At the Innovation Facility, Mariam helps research cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, to understand their policy implications. Additionally, Mariam assists in monitoring of the projects funded by the Innovation Facility and formulating the stories to be featured in the 2017 Annual Report.

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Catholic Relief Services 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program

Catholic Relief Services has selected three graduate students from Fordham University to participate in the 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program. All three students are graduating from Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development and are being assigned to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Haiti, Burkina Faso, and the Philippines.

Starting in January 2018, Ms. Theresa Hart will be working at the CRS Office in Manila in the Philippines. She will be assisting in the monitoring of various developing projects that CRS is sponsoring in Indonesia, Micronesia and in East Timor. Prior to her studies at Fordham, she served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Micronesia. Tess is from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph in Missouri.

After the Christmas break, Mr. Owen Fitzgerald will be heading out to Burkina Faso in West Africa, a very arid nation that faces serious agricultural issues. He will be assisting CRS on promoting both food security and better sanitation through the school system. Prior to his studies at Fordham, Owen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in neighboring Mali. Owen is originally from the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey.

Finally, Ms. Liia Khalikova is being assigned to CRS in Haiti. Haiti has suffered a number of natural disasters in recent years and Liia will be assisting them with their communications strategy. Liia comes from Tartarstan which is part of the Russian Federation. She is studying at Fordham on a Fulbright Fellowship.

While at Fordham these students have specialized in international development as well as in the management and assessment of development projects.

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Summer Series: Michael Johnson ’18 and the Millennium Challenge Corporation

By: Michael R. Johnson ’18

Michael R. Johnson ’18 was an intern at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the Department of Compact Operations on the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI) Team. The MCC is an innovative, independent U.S. aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Since 2004 the MCC has partnered with countries committed to good governance, economic freedom and citizen investments to identify priorities for achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

DCLI is the MCC’s partnership with the President’s Emergency Action Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that aims to support innovative and country-led approaches that promote evidence-based decision making for program and policies that address HIV/AIDS, global health, gender equality and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Data Collaboratives projects are strengthening the availability and use of data to improve lives and empower citizens to hold governments and donors more accountable for results.

As an intern, Michael provided support to the DCLI team in the Washington, DC office as well as project managers in Tanzania. A focus of his internship was aiding the replication of the Tanzanian program into Cote d’Ivoire through stakeholder mapping, root problem analysis, data ecosystem assessment, program logic creation and contributing to project development. Michael also handled the logistics of the MCC’s participation in the biennial African Open Data Conference involving programmatic formation and speaker outreach as well as leading the social media campaign and conducting post-session engagement analytics.

The MCC is very supportive of interns getting familiar with different departments, the processes of country investment as well as external partner organizations and events for exposure and networking opportunities around the capital. “The internship experience and living in DC for the summer has been constructive and pleasurable,” says Michael, “I can’t wait to go back to interact with my new colleagues and friends.”  Michael will be staying on with the MCC virtually through the end of the year.

 

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Armand Aquino ’17 with Catholic Relief Services in Senegal

By: Armand Aquino ’17

Armand inside Phare des Mamelles, the highest point in Dakar and the second most important lighthouse in Africa, after Cape Town’s lighthouse.

Last May 9-12, I participated in Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) first ProPack I training in French in Dakar, Senegal. ProPack I (or Project Package I) is one of CRS’ manuals on project design for CRS project and program managers. The training gathered more than 30 CRS staff from the West Africa and Central Africa country offices including Burkina Faso (where I currently serve as a Fordham Intern), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, and Senegal, among others.

Fresh off the press. Armand with the French copy of CRS’ ProPack I.

I first came across CRS’ ProPack I in Dr. Schwalbenberg’s Project Design class where I learned the basic concepts of project design including problem tree analysis and the logical frameworks. The training, however, had more concepts added and it made these concepts more “practical” because they fall in a specific process of project design that CRS staff ought to follow. The process of project design itself was the most useful take-away for me, since I tend to jump from one step to another, when in fact, there is a logical flow that could make the work easier. For instance, when given an issue or problem, I tend to start with a problem tree analysis to identify the causes of the problem. However, conceptual frameworks can already do that for you since it has already made the connections between factors and the problem. What one can do then is to use these conceptual frameworks to specify the causes (scope, gravity, etc.) through research and assessment that will then help make the problem tree more “meaty” and easily convertible to a tangible results framework for the project.

ProPack I training in Dakar, Senegal where CRS staff gathered to learn and share experiences in project design.

In addition to the content, the facilitation of the training which used real-life examples and the opportunity to hear from the experience of various CRS staff in project design were enriching; it made the concepts more real and easier to understand. The training was also a great opportunity to continue practicing my French language skills since everything, including lectures, readings, and group work, was conducted in French and to network with some CRS staff in the region. I must admit I had a little difficulty in following some parts of the discussion since I am not yet fluent in the language. But what really helped me prepare for the training was reading the English version of ProPack I in advance so I have the concepts at the back of my head and I do the translation and connection in French as the training goes. Additionally, it was definitely helpful to have some experience in project design that I could bank on during the training (As an intern, I am involved in a couple of project design initiatives for the Burkina Faso country program).

Armand inside Phare des Mamelles, the highest point in Dakar and the second most important lighthouse in Africa, after Cape Town’s lighthouse.

Given the adventurer in me, I also used this opportunity to visit some superlative places in Dakar and get immersed for a bit in its history and culture. I visited the highest point in Dakar and the furthest West tip of the African continent.

When one is in Dakar, one should not miss Île de Gorée, a colorful island with a very dark history because of the slave trade.

I would like to thank CRS West Africa Regional Office and Burkina Faso Country Office for allowing me to participate in the training and Fordham IPED for financing my participation in the training. The training was definitely a good investment as I continue to explore a long-term career in the international development space.

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Summer Series: Luther Flagstad ’18 Serves as Political/Economic Intern at U.S. Embassy Kazakhstan

By: Luther Flagstad

This summer I had the opportunity to experience what life is like for Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) in the U.S. State Department living and working in Astana, Kazakhstan. On an eight-week assignment as the Political/Economic Sections’ Summer Intern, I briefed officers on attended meetings, contributed to reports back to Washington, and honed diplomatic communication and editing skills. But the biggest takeaway was simply the chance to “test-drive” a career I have been actively pursuing for seven years.

I first took the Foreign Service Officer Test (the first step in applying to be an FSO) in 2010 and failed decisively. My feedback was to get more international experience by considering something like the Peace Corps. So after a lengthy application process, I left for the Kyrgyz Republic seeking to gain new skills as a Peace Corps Volunteer in May of 2012. Four years working in grassroots development in the Kyrgyz Republic helped land me in the 2018 cohort of Fordham’s IPED Program with a Public Service Assistantship, and there I was able to extend my research, writing, and analytic skills further. In the fall semester, with substantial support from IPED professors and Fordham staff, I was fortunate enough to successfully apply for an internship position with the State Department.

Having secured a secret-level clearance with two days to spare (a process worthy of its own blog post) I was on a plane for Astana—the capital of Kazakhstan. I know that my regional experience and interests helped land the internship—that and the fact that there aren’t droves of students lining up to go to Central Asia. Yet, despite its remoteness, Kazakhstan is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to work and will continue to be so over the next thirty years.

Suddenly separated from its former fellow Soviet Republics in 1991, Kazakhstan struggled through the 1990s after an enormous economic contraction. But newly discovered oil and gas deposits on the Caspian Sea in the late 1990s afforded Kazakhstan massive subsequent growth, tripling its GDP per capita in purchasing power parity since 2000. The government is assiduously pursuing policies to bring Kazakhstan into the top thirty economies in the world by 2050. While this process won’t be perfectly smooth—Kazakhstan has yet to experience a transition of presidential power, and its liberal economic regime sometimes moves in fits—the country is emerging with many successes to its credit as well. Kazakhstan beat out Thailand for a two-year, non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for its 2017-2018 tenure, is host this summer to the World’s Fair’s EXPO 2017 on the theme “Future Energy,” and is currently hosting continuing rounds of talks in Astana on Syrian settlement.

Today, due to the U.S.’s own political upheavals, maybe you are among the many university students who once dreamed of a career in public service but are now reconsidering their options.  I would like to encourage you, however, as long as you have this dream, to keep these passions alive and to nurture them, whether through community activism, a job in local government, or any work that serves others. Fortunately for American citizens, U.S. government is bigger than one person—it always has been—and foreign and domestic policies are written, communicated, and implemented by thousands of individuals striving for the rights for all to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Policy is not something that exists on its own but is forwarded by the aggregate decisions of many. The U.S. government needs individuals of strong character who will edge the needle through consistent, daily commitment and service.

To be honest, I personally have not yet settled on how I will contribute and have opted to try out a number of different sectors as an IPED student. This is where IPED has a huge advantage; because of the schedule, content of coursework, incredible support of the program’s director and staff, access to professors, small cohort size, and comradery and encouragement from classmates, students can get the hands-on experience necessary to jump into a career upon graduation. I have interned with the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Department of State, assisted a professor with a research project, and coordinated the IPED Lecture Series—all in my first year! Over this next year I will continue to make use of these opportunities, seeking an internship with The Economist Intelligence Unit and a Boren Fellowship for Russian language study. With IPED, these outside fellowships, internships, and experiences are not just encouraged, but are actively supported and are consistently realized by IPED students every year.

If you desire to pursue an internship in the U.S. government, please reach out to me or any of the other IPED students doing government work this summer. And, if you’re interested in private sector consulting, internships with the United Nations, NGO work, or language study, there are IPED students ready to answer your questions on those areas as well.

Best of luck in your summer endeavors!

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