Category Archives: Career

IPED Career Trip: Washington D.C.

By: Sarah Garwood

November 16th and 17th, our 2019 IPED cohort traveled to Washington D.C. to visit with IPED alumni at various organizations. After an early morning bus ride, we started our day at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Alumni Anthony Cotton ’08, Tracey O’Heir ’06, and Sarah Weber ’05 spoke with us about their work in strengthening financial institutions, LGBTI programming, foreign disaster assistance, and managing large scale HIV/AIDS health grants. They shared with us their tips and tricks on how to succeed in an international development career, particularly in the government sector.

IPED student with alumni at USAID.

IPED students with Dr. Schwalbenberg at USAID.

For lunch, we met at Elephant and Castle Restaurant with alumni representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA). Connie Handley ’98 spoke about global markets and her work with foreign trade partnerships. Shane Subler ’03 shared about his work investigating manufacturing complaints and dumping violations. They, like their colleagues at USAID, highly recommended the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) Program as a channel into government work.

IPED students enjoying appetizers at Elephant and Castle Restaurant.

IPED student and trips coordinator, Greg Fischer, explaining our itinerary.

During the afternoon, students checked out the Jefferson Memorial and other monuments in Washington D.C.

IPED students in front of the Washington Monument.

IPED students at the Jefferson Memorial.

That evening, we gathered at Tortilla Coast for a special alumni dinner. Several alumni came to share a meal with students, talking about their experiences in IPED, work abroad, and professional careers in Washington D.C. The IPED community gathers every year during the D.C. Career Trip for this night of food, fun, and conversation.

Students eating at Tortilla Coast.

Students and alumni talking at Tortilla Coast.

The next day, we met alumni Brian Dutoi ’14 and his colleagues Megan Francic, Michael Riedel, and Jill Luxembourg at the Foreign Agricultural Service Office (FAS). These Foreign Service Officers spoke about the promotion of food security through international free trade. They also talked about government to government trade, food safety, and the intersection of trade and development.

IPED students at the Foreign Agricultural Service.

After a pitstop at the White House, we met with IPED alumnus Cameron Hinksen ’13 at Chemonics. Chemonics is a private sector project management firm with staff in 76 countries. Ninety-five percent of their business comes from USAID contracts and projects. Cameron talked with us about the mission and structure of Chemonics and gave us tips about securing meaningful employment upon graduation from the IPED program.

IPED students in front of the White House.

IPED students at the White House.

IPED students at Chemonics with Alumni Cameron Hinksen ’13.

Overall, the trip was informative and gave students an inside glance at some of the top government development organizations in Washington D.C. All alumni, both at our site visits and the alumni dinner, were warm and supportive. Thanks to all those who contributed to the success of this trip!

IPED students in Washington D.C.

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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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Fordham Students supported the UNDP Equator Prize 2017

By: Sarah Garwood

The Equator Prize winners and UNDP team celebrate before the pre-ceremony reception at Bryant Park Grill. Photo credit UNDP-Arnaldo Vargas

This September, the UNDP Equator Initiative hosted the 2017 Equator Prize in New York City, New York to honor 31 local and indigenous people working on notable climate justice projects in their communities around the globe. The winners spent a week in New York City participating in community dialogues, capacity building workshops, and interacting with media representatives as the 2017 UN General Assembly began. Several Fordham IPED students were involved in building case studies with the winners and connecting their work with the Sustainable Development Goals.

IPED student and UNDP intern, Vikktoria Brezheniuk, speaks with one of our winners at a workshop. Photo credit Mike Arrison for UNDP-Equator Initiative

Equator Prize winner, Ghulam, from Pakistan works with IPED student and UNDP intern, Owen Fitzgerald, to build a case study on the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization. Photo credit Mike Arrison for UNDP-Equator Initiative

Winners’ projects ranged across oceans, forests, and drylands. In Kenya, the Mikoko Pamoja group created a carbon credit-based payment for ecosystem services in order to improve mangrove restoration. In Ecuador, Alianza Internacional de Reforestación (AIRES) is an organization led by indigenous Maya women that works toward food security and disaster risk reduction through reforestation and agroforestry. Each community project supports several of the Sustainable Development Goals from poverty reduction to climate action to gender equality. Check out all the winners and their projects featured on the Equator Initiative website.

The female winners and UNDP team members, including Fordham UNDP interns Tess Hart and Victoria Brezheniuk, celebrate their work and the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo credit Larissa Nowak-Equator Initiative

On Sunday, September 17th, preceeding the Prize Ceremony, there was a reception held at Bryant Park Grill. Winners, government officials, donors, and other special guests gathered to network and celebrate together.

Winners from the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women’s Conservation Group in Belize, Dorla and Conway, with IPED student and UNDP intern, Sarah Garwood, at the Bryant Park Grill reception.

Sunday, September 17th marked the Equator Prize Ceremony held at Town Hall Theatre in New York City. Many people came to speak and celebrate with the winners including Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and Gary Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society. Fordham IPED students were invited to volunteer at the ceremony. Fordham IPED interns worked on stage management, social media coverage, and interpretation resources.

 

IPED student, Stephanie Swinehart, volunteered at the Equator Prize ceremony. Photo credit Wahanga for UNDP-Equator Initiative

IPED student and UNDP Intern, Greg Fischer (left), translated for Brazilian Prize winner and speaker, Benki, at the Equator Prize Ceremony. Photo Credit UNDP-Arnaldo Vargas

To see more photos and coverage of the Equator Prize and other events from the week, check out the Equator Initiative on Facebook and Twitter!

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Coverdell Fellows at Fordham IPED

Michael Johnson at the Fordham BID

Michael Johnson during his duties at the Fordham BID

Each year the IPED program, in conjunction with the Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, offers several Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) an academic fellowship to attend Fordham IPED. Recipients of the fellowship are partnered to work with a local community development organization. Last year, IPED offered five fellowships to incoming graduate students for the class of 2018. Each of the fellows has an internship with a Bronx community partner to gain experience in urban development in the United States.

Erika Cox, Class of 2018

Erika Cox with a community art piece for the Fordham BID

 

Michael Johnson and Erika Cox are both partnered with the Fordham Road Business Improvement District (BID), an organization comprised of local retailers who promote business development and improve the quality of life along Fordham Road, a major retail street serving various immigrant and low-income communities in the Bronx. Michael works in a role as Business Outreach Coordinator and managing the team of Fordham undergraduate interns. Erika spends her time coordinating public affairs campaigns, planning art beautification projects, and as the organization partner liaison.

Kelsey Garcia, Class of 2018

Kelsey Garcia during filming of a promotional video for the Belmont Community

Kelsey Garcia is partnered with the Belmont BID, to promote the economic wellbeing of the business community by promotion of the “Little Italy in the Bronx” brand and its strong ethnic heritage and leadership in the community. The BID’s focus areas are sanitation, security, marketing and promotion, cultural programming, and streetscape improvements. Kelsey is a community relations intern and was recently featured in a promotional commercial for the community.

Jessica Way, Class of 2018, at UNHP

Jessica Way at the UNHP 2016 Fundraiser

Jessica Way is a research intern at University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP), a north-west Bronx non-profit dedicated to improving affordable housing attainment in the community. UNHP achieves its mission by issuing low interest loans and providing technical assistance to community leaders and affordable housing managers through the Northwest Bronx Resource Center. UNHP has a blog with more information.

Cody Harder, Class of 2018

Cody Harder works with the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC) as a Project Development Intern. The Project Development Department is responsible for construction projects from beginning to the completion and closing.

All Coverdell Fellows are full-time students pursing their internships on a part time (12 hours per week) basis.

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Student Spotlight: Liya Khalikova at the United Nations’ Counterterrrorism Executive Directorate

Liya Khalikova (IPED ‘18) is an intern with the UN Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) at the UN Headquarters in New York City. CTED  was created in 2004 to strengthen and coordinate the global terrorism monitoring process and to support the United Nations’ Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, established in 2001. CTED currently employs approximately 40 individuals, primarily holding roles as legal, political, and human rights affairs officers.

Liya Khalikova, IPED Class of 2018

Liya’s position is in the public information section, helping CTED’s communications advisor. Her daily responsibilities include compiling media digests, assisting with social media, drafting posts/documents, assisting in the organization of briefings and meetings, taking notes in said briefings, helping with research, etc. LIya says of her work: “Tasks are not limited to anything in particular and are based on the sphere of my interests. I can [always] find something exciting to do!”

Liya, who is a Fulbright Student from Russia, says that the internship has allowed her to become more comfortable writing in English and has exposed her to the unique “UN language.” She continues to say, “Part of my internship was helping to translate committee’s website into Russian which took a lot of time and effort. The Russian version of the website should be online sometime soon.”

Liya and her fellow interns at the CTED

Liya found the internship through the UN careers website and applied by filling out a standard UN application on Inspira. After several weeks she was called for an interview. The whole process took around a month. Initially the position was for three months, but was then prolonged for an additional three months.

Liya shared the following advice for those applying for internships. “Apply for positions that have a direct interest to you and can impact your future career, and be patient – sometimes the recruitment process, even for an internship, can take several months.”
Liya pursues her studies with IPED as a full time student and Fulbright Fellow while fulfilling her internship duties on a part-time basis.

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