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IPED Career Trip: Washington D.C.

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

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: Tess Hart ’18 and the Chuuk Women’s Council in Micronesia

By: Tess Hart

Tess Hart, an IPED Arrupe Fellow, was awarded the Santander International Internships Fellowship to spend part of the summer in Chuuk, Micronesia working at the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC). The CWC is an umbrella organization of 64 women’s groups across the state with over 1,000 total members. The mission of the organization is “to assist women in becoming more productive and self-sufficient members of our society through comprehensive programs which enhance the social, economic and physical well-being of women and their families in Chuuk.”

Members of the Chuuk Women’s Counsel at a general meeting joined by two representatives from USAID

The Chuuk Women’s Council is currently implementing their Tongen Inepwinéú, Tongen Fénúwach (Love of the family, Love of Our Islands) Climate Change Adaptation through Family, Gardens, Food, and Health Project, which is being funded through the USAID Pacific American Climate Action Fund (PACAM). The program involves training and providing ongoing support for 45 home gardeners, maintaining 3 community nurseries, and developing and implementing a high school gardening curriculum. The program seeks to help participants improve food security through climate resilient gardening methods with a co-benefit of increasing access to nutritious food options.

The USAID PACAM Review team meeting with the CWC.

Returning to the FSM having served as a Jesuit Volunteer in the region prior to attending IPED, Tess helped the CWC team prepare for their mid-term grant review. She worked with the Monitoring and Evaluation team and Project Coordinator to compile data and strengthen implementation methods. The review included visiting and interviewing home gardeners in the villages.

One of the CWC-PACAM sponsored home gardens in Sapuk village.

Tess with one of the many young beneficiaries of the home gardening program (11% are under 5 and an additional 29% are school aged).

In addition to assisting with the PACAM project, Tess assisted the with several grant applications and helped with the preparation of summer curriculums for the CWC’s Summer Enrichment Program for second to fifth graders, which focuses improving reading, writing, and math skills while exploring the importance of the environment and the impacts of climate change. She also reviewed the CWC’s Young Women’s Empowerment Program and helped prepare the implementing team for compliance with AusAid. Moreover, while in Chuuk, Tess had the opportunity to utilize the Micronesian Seminar library, attend the Xavier High School Class of 2017 graduation, attend the inauguration of the governor of Chuuk, and meet with the ambassador of the United States to the FSM.

There is nothing like a beautiful sunset in Chuuk, Micronesia.

Tess is very grateful to the CWC for warmly welcoming her back to Chuuk and allowing her to be a part of their programs. Her advice for students considering applying for Santander funding or seeking a summer internship is to look for opportunities early, make the experience your own, and pursue an area in which you are passionate.


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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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