Tag Archives: development

Excel Crash Course by Fordham IPED Alumni Alex Zoubine ’16

By: Djina Stamatovic ’19

On Saturday, October 14th, the IPED students had the chance to attend an Excel Crash Course led by the IPED alumni Alex Zoubine ’16, currently employed in the Portfolio Management Office at Scholastic.

The level of prior Excel knowledge of the students was mixed, however, the pace of the course was able to satisfy the needs of all the attendees. The IPED students had the chance to acquire new skills to employ in the Econometrics and Data Analysis courses offered at Fordham but also in the working world.

In a moderate time frame, various interesting topics were covered, such as spreadsheet formatting and set-up,  simple and in conjunction formulas, pivot tables, and charts. Also, special focus was dedicated to data elaboration, as it is a pivotal element in every business sector–data validation & checks, data analysis, graphing, & regressions and data cleaning & manipulation.

Finally, as Fordham alumni Alex talked about his transition from Fordham to the private industry, his experience with job applications and adapting one’s academic knowledge to the needs of business. He also helped our students with their job/internship preparation in terms of, amongst others, sample data exercises that employers would have during the screening process of hiring.

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Fordham Students supported the UNDP Equator Prize 2017

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

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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African Youth Leadership Summit: Carlos Baeta Shares His Experience

Carlos Baeta, IPED Class of 2017

“One of the distinguishing features of the summit, I believe, is the level of engagement and unity that it inspired in all of us.”

Carlos with Summit colleagues

Last month, Carlos Baeta (IPED ’17) attended the African Youth Leadership Summit in Marrakech, Morocco. Through its partnership with the MasterPeace Organization and a competitive screening process, the summit brought together 180 young people from close to 30 African countries in order to engage in workshops and seminars focused on developing entrepreneurship, leadership and African unity and integration. A veteran of other youth leadership conferences, Carlos said that “the different experiences and solutions that my colleagues had developed and actioned-out” was what stood out the most.

This was a unique platform for so many diverse participants with a common goal to come together and engage in actionable discourse. Carlos writes, “I believe one of the greatest services that we could do for ourselves, our countries that we represented and our continent, was to be as engaged and open minded as possible. The potential to learn and grow increases significantly when you have people from different backgrounds and with different skillsets collaborating on finding nuanced solutions to the plethora of challenges and opportunities my continent has.” His coursework and experiences with IPED, he says, have helped him to frame his thoughts in such a way that he could participate with his colleagues in a meaningful and impactful manner.

When asked about a specific experience he wanted to share from the summit, Carlos had this to say: “I have never been to North Africa before or rather embarrassingly enough, interacted with people from countries such as Chad or Sudan for example. I would be remiss if I did not say that this experience is something that will be embedded in me for the rest of my life.”

Carlos and fellow attendees to the Summit

Carlos came to attend the Summit through his personal network, but says that there are a plethora of platforms such as OpportunitiesForAfricans on Facebook as well. “I would suggest signing up to pages and platforms to stay abreast with the best and latest opportunities.”

Carlos is a native of South Africa and grew up in the small town of Vryheid in rural Kwa Zulu Natal. He says, “I have always dreamt about travelling and experiencing different cultures and seeing different cities. Since I have begun my studies at Fordham, I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to four different countries and attend countless different seminars. It has been a dream come true for me and I can’t wait to one day use my cumulative experiences and skills to extend these types of opportunities to other young South Africans back home.”

Contributed by Carlos Baeta

Edited by Robyn Murray

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Philippines Study Tour 2017

Fifteen IPED students and one Economics undergraduate traveled to the Philippines over the winter break for IPED’s annual immersion program in project monitoring and evaluation. The program was led by faculty advisors Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg and Dr. Booi Themeli and managed by Ms. Donna Odra.

Katipunan Road outside of Ateneo de Manila University

While in Manila, the students took extensive coursework in project monitoring and evaluation. Additionally, guest lectures on the history, culture, economics and politics of the Philippines provided useful insights.

IPEDers in class at Ateneo de Manila University

In addition to classes, the group was taken to Corregidor Island and Intramuros, two of the historical sites found in the Manila area. The students were also taken to visit the Asian Development Bank to learn about the work that they are doing.

IPED at the Corregidor ruins

Angeli and Donna at Intramuros in front of Fort Santiago

View from the roof of the Asian Development Bank

As a practical application of the coursework, students traveled to Calapan, Pola, and Bulalacao, towns in the province of Oriental Mindoro. The groups evaluated a farmer’s co-op creating organic fertilizer in Calapan, a calamansi juice co-op in Pola, and a seaweed processing association in Bulalscao. The groups were split up into five different teams and set to evaluate different aspects of each projects. Team 1 evaluated the fertilizer production, Team 2 evaluated the calamansi juice co-op’s management and production, while Team 3 evaluated the farming practices of the calamansi itself. The final two teams evaluated the management and production, respectively, of the seaweed association in Bulalacao.

Pola Crew

Bulalacao Crew

Sunrise in Bulalacao

The program concluded with a dinner cruise around Manila Bay.

Manila Bay

Here are a few of the promotional videos that the groups made for their project.

Calapan farmer’s co-op creating Vermitea, an organic fertilizer.


Two videos for the MARCCO co-op in Pola creating Calamansi products

The video for the Seaweed processing association in Balatasan, Bulalacao.




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2016 Washington, D.C. Career Trip

On Thursday and Friday, November 3rd and 4th, IPED went to Washington, D.C. for the annual Washington, D.C. Career Trip

The IPED students began the trip at Elephant and Castle to meet with representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA). The discussions began with Israly Echegaray, an IPED alumna, who now works with the ITA and was able to work on both the TTIP and TPP trade agreements.

Israly Echegaray speaks about the ITA

Israly Echegaray speaks about the ITA

Israly had two pieces of advice for those seeking a job with the government: 1. Read the job description and be sure to use keywords when answering the question. 2. When answering, don’t be too high level with your answers initially.

Next to speak was Constance Handley, another IPED alumna, who is now the Deputy Director of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC). Her career began with the ITA in the Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties office from which she moved around a little bit before her current position.

Constance Handley, Shane Subler, and Moses Cam pose at Elephant and Castle

Constance Handley, Shane Subler, and Moses Cam pose at Elephant and Castle

The final speaker from the ITA was Shane Subler, IPED alumni, who spoke briefly about his work with Ms. Handley in the ITEC doing analysis.


IPEDers Victoriia Brezheniuk, Liya Khalikova, and Sydney Kornegay goofing around outside USAID




The flags at USAID

After lunch the IPED students spent some time at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The first speaker was Anthony Cotton, RPCV, IPED alumni and Peace Corps Fellow who went on to get the double Master’s degree in IPED and Economics. He was a Presidential Management Fellow before he began his work with USAID. He has had an exciting career so far, holding seven jobs in seven years within the agency.

Anthony Cotton speaking

Anthony Cotton speaking

His tips were: 1. Spend time meeting people and having informational interviews. 2. Make business cards as a means to induce someone to give you theirs. 3. Apply to everything because it helps you learn your own narrative and to nail your resume.

Next to speak was Sarah Webber, RPCV, IPED alumna, Arrupe Fellow, and Fulbright Fellow to Botswana. Ms. Webber works with the Health section of USAID coordinating and organizing health initiatives for USAID.

Her tip was to apply for the Presidential Management Fellow as it was an excellent way to get a foot in the door at USAID.

Sarah Weber and Tracy O'Heir

Sarah Weber and Tracy O’Heir

The last speaker of the day was Tracy O’Heir, a Jesuit Volunteer Corps alumna, IPED alumna and Arrupe Fellow. Ms. O’Hare is the team lead for the southern and western Africa Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Her tip was to study French because it is super useful for a career with USAID.

On Thursday evening IPED had its annual Washington, D.C. Alumni Dinner at Tortilla Coast. IPEDers, both current and past, mingled and discussed opportunities and shared tips.

Friday morning IPED students went to the United States Department of Agriculture. First to speak was Matt Pavone, an IPED alumni and recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. Mr. Pavone works with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) as an Outreach Specialist working to implement credit and community support programs to small-scale US farmers.

Matt Pavone

Matt Pavone

Next to speak was Hoa Hyunh from the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). Mr. Hyunh is the Director of North Asia in the Agricultural Trade Office working in promotion of agriculture products overseas.

Hoa Hyunh

Hoa Hyunh

Hoa was followed by Jane Wilkins from the FAS. She is an IPED Alumna, and works as an analyst for foreign banks in order for them to take part in a US funded development program. She is a Civil Service Officer as opposed to a Foreign Service Officer.

Next was Brian Gruse who also worked for the FAS as Assistant Deputy Administrator. His focus was in capacity building in developing countries.

The two Brians (Brian Dutoi and Brian Gruse) speak at USAID

The two Brians (Brian Dutoi and Brian Gruse) speak at USAID

Finally, Brian Dutoi wrapped up the information session with a discussion of his with the the FAS in Food for Progress. He is also an IPED alumni and works on monetizing food commodities.

Following a lunch at the USDA cafeteria, the IPED students wrapped up their D.C. trip with a visit to the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC).

IPED at the Millennium Challenge Corporation

IPED at the Millennium Challenge Corporation

IPEDers Owen Fitzgerald, Victoriia Brezheniuk, Cody Harder, Edward Barbini, and Samantha Kinney at MCC

IPEDers Owen Fitzgerald, Victoriia Brezheniuk, Cody Harder, Edward Barbini, and Samantha Kinney at MCC

First to speak was Kari Nelson, formerly with the MCC, but recently moved to Social Impact. Ms. Nelson gave an overview of what the MCC does and the metrics used to determine country eligibility for “compacts.”

Keri Nelson pictured here with Melissa Griswald

Keri Nelson pictured here with Melissa Griswald

Beth Zitler, a Science and Technology Fellow, spoke next about Open Data and the Open Data Challenge.

Beth Zitler speaking on Open Data

Beth Zitler speaking on Open Data

Representatives from human resources, Tom Wyke and his co-worker, Gigi, spoke about internship opportunities and hiring process.

Next to speak was Melissa Griswald from the implementation section of MCC. She works on the actual compacts (projects) from the development stage to implementation.

We finished the session with Sarah Lane from monitoring and evaluation, who spoke about her work and some of the metrics used to evaluate the work done in the field.

Sarah Lane and an excellent visual aid describing how MCC works

Sarah Lane and an excellent visual aid describing how MCC works

It was a wonderful trip and the IPED first years were even able to do a little bit of sightseeing.

IPED 2018 in front of the White House

IPED 2018 in front of the White House

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