Tag Archives: Fordham

2018 Summer Internship Series: Clare Pressimone at CRS Student Ambassador Leaders Together (SALT) Summit

by: Clare Pressimone ’19

Clare Pressimone, an IPED Salesian Fellow, received support through IPED Summer Funding to accompany two undergraduate students to Catholic Relief Services’ Student Ambassador Leaders Together (SALT) Summit held at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD from July 16-18. Clare, formerly the President of the CRS Student Ambassador chapter at her alma mater, Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, joined Fordham University sophomores Kayla Auza and Noah Sherer at the three-day conference networking with nearly 60 universities and colleges from across the country. They gathered information and ideas on how to begin a CRS Student Ambassador group on Fordham University.

CRS Student Ambassadors operate as the education and advocacy arm of Catholic Relief Services – the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States – on college and university campuses. Ambassadors orchestrate programming throughout the school year, both within the campus community and the greater local community, striving to encourage individuals to engage in important issues such as climate change, migration and human trafficking, food insecurity and poverty. Ambassadors might educate individuals on the following: how to shop more ethically; reducing one’s impact on the climate; building knowledge and skills to contact members of Congress to speak up on behalf of marginalized communities; acting in solidarity with those who face food insecurity through sharing simple meals, etc. It is the role of the Ambassadors to help members of the community better understand why international issues which effect the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized people around the world must become issues on which we, as members of the global community, need to act.

Some members of the newly formed CRS Student Ambassadors chapter at Fordham University

At the CRS SALT Summit, Clare, Kayla and Noah gained greater insight into how the objectives of CRS Student Ambassadors might be implemented at Fordham. The first two days were filled with informational sessions, both for students and advisors, providing insight into the importance of the CRS Student Ambassadors to the agency’s work, along with how CRS might provide materials, trainings and overall support to all of the Ambassadors’ endeavors on their campuses. The sessions were led by CRS staff and university partners. These meetings were held both on Loyola’s campus and at CRS Headquarters.

Clare, Kayla and Noah at the CRS SALT Summit

The final day of the conference was spent on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After receiving practical advocacy training and having studied the issues, Kayla, Noah and their fellow students from other New York area schools met with their members of Congress to speak up on behalf of those most in need.

Students from Fordham University, St. John’s University, Manhattan College and Mount St. Mary College with a member of Senator Chuck Schumer’s staff.

Clare is providing her experience as an alumna of the CRS Student Ambassador program to help guide and promote the new Ambassador group at Fordham. She is serving as the group’s advisor as it begins its programming through the support of the IPED Department. The beginning of the fall 2018 semester began with inviting and recruiting other undergraduate students to join in the important efforts of the CRS Student Ambassadors. It is exciting to see this group getting off the ground and empowering the Fordham community to act on behalf of those most in need around the world. Keep an eye out for how you can get involved in the work of CRS at Fordham!

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Elly Reserva at UNICEF

by: Elly Reserva ’19

Last August, I was at the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal where I worked as an intern for the Child Survival and Development (CSD) Unit. This internship came as an extension and continuation of my work at the UNICEF Headquarters Office last Spring Semester. This opportunity was made possible thanks through the GSAS Summer Research Fellowship.

At the Child Survival and Development Unit of UNICEF West and Central Africa Office

At the regional office, I was mainly tasked to conduct methodical data analysis and create data visualizations, reporting to effective monitoring and analysis of projects for the 24 countries in West and Central Africa. The nature of my work provided direct support of the situational analysis and updates within the area of CSD.

My timing was also perfect since the regional office was busy preparing for various meetings, such as a partnership and strategy meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. Through these, not only did I get to attend some of the sessions, but I was also able to contribute through preparing briefing notes and talking points for some of the meetings.

Presented my work and provided a brief training as part of the documentation and knowledge management process

I was also lucky that my summer internship came after my language immersion in France because it prepared me as I worked and traveled around the city. Senegal, together with most of the countries in the region, are Francophone. Being in Dakar allowed me to use and explore the health and business jargons in French and it helped solidify the language skills I acquired during my language immersion.

With the CSD Unit composed of the Nutrition, Immunization, and Health Systems Strengthening Teams

Overall, it has been a cohesive and productive summer. All these experiences helped strengthen my skills as an aspiring professional in the International Development Sector.

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South Africa Emerging Markets Study 2018

By: Mohammed Masudur Rahman ‘19

Every year, select IPED students from Fordham University participate in an exchange program with University of Pretoria, South Africa. The Advanced Certificate in Emerging Markets & Country Risk Analysis includes three courses on Finance, Political Risk Analysis, and Emerging Markets. As a part of this endeavor, a group of five students from IPED and Economics department went to South Africa in August of 2018 to participate in the Emerging Markets: South Africa course module.

The students were hosted in University of Pretoria campus in Pretoria where they took part in rigorous coursework, gave presentations, and made visits to various important financial and industry institutions, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Students were also immersed in local culture through excursions to local communities, heritage sites and tourist attractions.

Fordham Students in South Africa sharing a meal with fellow South African students

Fordham Students at University of Pretoria campus

The students learned about various emerging markets including a focus on South Africa. The Emerging Markets course equipped them with knowledge of current market dynamics, ability to collect, analyze and read micro indicator data and use them to assess market potential of emerging economies. The course ended with the students writing investment reports on various emerging markets.

The Emerging Markets cohort was joined by students from South Africa in their visits to various top level institutes. The visits included some of South Africa’s top institutions: Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation, South Africa Reserve Bank, Standard Bank, BRICS, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, US Chamber of Commerce, National Economic Development and Labor Council, and the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa.

Group of Students at Industrial Development Corporation, South Africa

Group of Students at National Economic Development and Labor Council, South Africa

The trip was also full of excursions where the students got to visit iconic tourist and heritage sites around Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto. Some of the most memorable visits included Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, the home of Winnie Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, and the Cradle of Humankind. The final week of the trip was spent exploring game reserves and safari in Krueger National Park.

Group of Students at the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town

Group of Students in front of the Table Mountain, one of the natural wonders

Visiting Heritage Sites including the Mandela Statue

One of the Big Five Animals students saw during the Krueger National Park visit

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Patrick Connolly at Finacity

by: Patrick Connolly ’19

This past summer I had the fortunate opportunity to intern at Finacity Corp. in Stamford Ct. and gathered hands on experience learning the intricacies of receivable securitization.

I was placed as an analyst within the Deal Structuring, Management, and Origination team – the central unit within Finacity that touches all stages of the securitization process. The role of the team is essential to the support of the Business Development Officers bringing in deals, receiving signed mandates, analyzing and structuring the receivables of contracted clients, finding funding sources for the structured receivable program, supporting data onboarding efforts, and proactively supporting relationship management through the life of a securitization.

My main duties involved: 1. Supporting Business Development Officers marketing efforts by creating tailored pitchbooks specified by the Business Development Officer based on the type of firms they were perusing, 2. conducting preliminary receivable analysis, 3. building pitchbooks for client engagement, and 4. performing adhoc portfolio reports and support broader marketing efforts.

While working for Finacity, I had the chance to analyze the receivables of a wide variety of companies across many sectors including an Italian electrical utility firm, a Latvian dairy co-op, a Greek utility company, and an international commodity brokerage firm.

I also had the opportunity to work on a team focused on creating an informative presentation on receivable securitization that was presented to business leaders in U.S. embassies in several countries. In 2015 the U.S. Commerce department recognized Finacity as prominent supporter of the U.S. export industry. Through this recognition, Finacity was given the opportunity to inform international audiences on the process of receivable securitization.

Prior to applying to this internship, I had little knowledge of receivable securitization; I was familiar with factoring programs and letters of credit from my previous work experience, but receivable securitization was not really on my radar. However, when IPED alumni Gregg Streibig explained to me in a conversation how his firm is a client of Finacity, I became very interested and started to explore further. I’m fortunate to have found out about Finacity and obtain an internship, because now I am knowledgeable about an extremely interesting and complicated financial product.

For further information regarding the receivable securitization, Finacity’s website has a very thorough informative page: https://www.finacity.com/what-we-do/#securitization-section

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Recap and Response: New Approaches to International Food Security: On-the-ground Perspectives

By: Hannah Fort ‘20

International food security was one of the key issues addressed at the Reduce World Hunger: Pope Francis’ Call for New Approaches conference on September 28 th , 2018. Bill O’Keefe, the Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), addressed this topic directly. He believes that integrated approaches should be the future of how organizations look at food security; multi-sectoral, multi-year programs are most needed but current programs are not set up to provide this.

Instead of working with households one-by-one, CRS has developed an Integral Human Development Framework which they hope to use to influence the systems and structures that households operate within. These systems and structures need to function in a way that allows people to thrive. CRS focuses on the most vulnerable people to help them find a pathway to prosperity. The issue threatening the food security of poor families and farmers worldwide is climate change, which needs long-term,
integrated methods. While emergency assistance is a part of what CRS does, they are looking for new approaches such as direct cash transfers in refugee camps, which they believe will help preserve human dignity.

Mr. O’Keefe giving on-the-ground perspectives in approaching the problem of food insecurity

Addressing climate change as a driver of food insecurity is imperative. Looking at the problem on a country-by-country basis has allowed CRS to implement programs that are geared towards the culture and the people. In Malawi, one of the world’s most densely populated and underdeveloped countries, CRS has implemented the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program. They have had around 250,000 participants so far and seen a 65% increase in organic growing matter. The El
Salvador Cacao Alliance has helped farmers recover from the loss of their coffee crop due to disease and insects sped along by climate change. Working together with the Salvadoran government on horticulture policy, 6,500 farmers are looking to plant the traditional cacao trees across 16,000 acres of land. Speaking on the sustainability of these projects, Bill O’Keefe says that the goal is to, “build a  capacity for support not dependent on us.”

Bill O’Keefe also offered his thoughts on impact investing. Taking private capital and investing it towards the world’s poorest, especially in health, youth employment, migrants/refugees, and climate change can make a big difference. Countries need to work together on these issues in an integrated way or we will never get ahead of the problem and always be chasing solutions.

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