Graduate Program: MA International Affairs
Undergraduate Degree: BA Writing-Intensive English, Marquette University
Trinity Nonprofit Agency: Journey House, Assistant Development Director
Full-time Service Experience: Peace Corps Volunteer and English Teacher, Mongolia, 2003-2005
As a Peace Corps Volunteer and English Teacher in Mongolia, I designed courses and led classroom instruction for over 125 secondary school, college, and adult students in English as a Foreign Language and Western Literature. Over 45 of these students went on to become English teachers in Mongolia. Outside of teaching, I facilitated the development of an English Teaching Resource Center for college instructors through a grant from U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar. I emphasized and built in local ownership through all phases of this project. In terms of capacity building, I organized 5 communicative language instruction seminars that increased teaching capacity of 12 Mongolian English teachers. I also collaborated with other Peace Corps Volunteers and European ex-patriots in Mongolia in the design of 2 teaching conferences that enhanced the ability of over 40 Mongolian English teachers to plan integrated language learning lessons.
Trinity Fellowship Experience: My experience in the Trinity Fellows Program consisted of full-time study towards an MA in International Affairs at Marquette and a combination of part-time and full-time work as assistant director of development at Journey House, a community-based service agency. The degree program in international affairs was both rigorous and rewarding. My studies and research focused broadly on International Relations and Comparative Politics with special concentration on the political economy of the developing world and China/Mongolia.
As assistant director of development at Journey House, my primary role was to grow and sustain the agency through fund and program development. I helped achieve an annual $1.8 million agency budget by developing direct mail appeals, email marketing “e-blasts”, the annual report, press releases, special events coordination, and related marketing materials to manage relationships with donors. Additionally, I contributed to over 15 winning grant proposals to government and private foundations and helped manage a database of over 6,000 donors through data entry of gifts and stewardship activities. In coordinating internal communications, meetings, and follow-up action items, I was also an integral part of a campaign for public-private partnership that raised over 50% of a $6 million goal in a year of severe recession.
My experience in the Trinity Fellows Program has been of great value for my personal and professional development. I have grown to see that realizing my potential is more a matter of my own actions than the structure in which I find myself. It is true that being around great minds, people, and organizations can be contagious for developing similar qualities in yourself. But without that sense of fearless initiation, you can just as easily miss great opportunities as take advantage of them. I value rigorous preparation and my own ability to shape positive outcomes – or at least my ability to empower other people to do so – much more so than before. I am optimistic about my prospects of leveraging the impact the Trinity program has had on me towards a career in addressing issues of international social justice.
Plans after graduation: In the near term, I look forward to contributing my qualifications to a program development or program officer position with a leading human and economic development organization working in the developing countries of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The most likely place for me to do this is Washington, DC. In the long term, I hope to take a leadership role in leveraging the resources of the Minneapolis/St. Paul community to address related international issues.