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