This past fall, the IPED program escaped New York and headed south, to visit the nation’s capital on an immensely valuable and jam-packed career trip. With the goal of expanding professional horizons and highlighting prospects, the IPED group ventured to the facilities of several key organizations. During this journey, they were able to explore professional opportunities and to get a glimpse of where some IPED alumni have found their careers prospering.
IPED began its trip with a stop in Baltimore, Maryland, to meet with professionals at the headquarters of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS is an international humanitarian organization that provides development assistance around the world to communities in need. Students had an opportunity to learn about CRS’s employment and fellowship opportunities that IPED products have been successful with in the past. After an informative session with the human resources representative and fellowship program coordinator, the IPED group made its way to Washington, D.C..
In the Capital, IPED found itself exploring the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, receiving special attention from the Senior Advisor for Policy and Negotiations, Connie Handley. Also an IPED alumna, Ms. Handley described her prosperous career trajectory that led to her esteemed role with Commerce. The International Trade Administration is an agency within the Department of Commerce that focuses on promoting national exports of nonagricultural U.S. services and goods.
Transitioning to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), IPED met with several program graduates who are now with the agency. Sarah Weber, Tracy O’Heir, and Anthony Cotton discussed their intriguing careers that have led them through meaningful development posts around the world. USAID is charged with administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance, and its budget of over $27 billion accounts for over half of all U.S. foreign assistance (the highest in the world in absolute dollar terms).
A short walk away, at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), students learned about how the work and financial assistance provided by MCC promotes development internationally. IPED alumna Sarah Lane described the history of, and her work with this young bilateral foreign aid agency that “forms partnerships with developing countries who are committed to good governance, economic freedom and investing in their citizens.”
A trip to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FSA) saw IPED students interacting with a substantial group of even more alumni who have made impressionable careers in U.S. government roles around the world. This agency has the primary responsibility of overseeing the United States Department of Agriculture’s foreign activities and programs. Alumni like Brian Dutoi, Jane Wilkins, Matthew Pavone, Sean Cox, and Stephanie Swinehart shared insight into their careers with the USDA and Foreign Agricultural Service.
All-in-all, this cohort’s trip to Washington D.C. proved to be a major success, and has already facilitated the creation of professional relationships and opportunities that IPEDers will continue to capitalize on. If the current trend stands, it is certain that future IPED students will someday be visiting our current students as they climb the ranks in the field of economics and development.