Since graduating in May 2014, I have been fortunate to be involved in quite a few interesting projects and programs as a consultant. In reflecting on these opportunities, there are three key ways my graduate studies at the Center for International Education (CIE) has furthered my career: 1) applying my graduate research findings to my work, 2) nurturing critical awareness of important issues in our world, and 3) encouraging exploration of interests, particularly innovation.


It has become evident the hard work I put into my master’s thesis on the fidelity of psychosocial support programs for children in schools in crisis-affected contexts has been fruitful. Soon after I graduated, I worked with Save the Children Norway on a project in the Philippines integrating psychosocial wellbeing into the Department of Education’s Disaster Risk Reduction teacher professional development post-Typhoon Haiyan. Since then, I supported Save the Children US, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on psychosocial support and social emotional learning initiatives for education in crises- and conflict-affected contexts.


After a Focus Group Discussion for Save the Children in February 2015 with Pinamopoan Elementary School teachers and fellow consultant, Ananda Galappatti in Capoocan, Leyte, the Philippines


I feel one of the strengths of CIE is its commitment to social justice, the application of which is the encouragement for students to be critically aware of issues within and surrounding education during rich discussions in formal classes and informal exchanges with members of its diverse learning community – students, faculty, and alumni. While I certainly had this lens before I began my studies, it was strengthened during my time at the Center. One application of this social justice lens was my work with fellow CIE student Ben Herson on documentaries for MTV’s Rebel Music series, including a role as an Associate Producer for the Turkey: Flowers of Gezi Park episode, which explored the socio-political conflicts in Turkey post-Gezi park.



While there are many international education graduate programs, few provide the flexibility with only three of 12 required courses, encouraging students to explore their interests. Coming from a creative background, I appreciated this aspect of the program, and have continued my interest in and commitment to innovation in my career pursuits / opportunities. In 2015, I was the Team Leader for the IRC’s pilot education technology entitled Connect to Learn aimed to support Syrian refugee teachers’ professional development needs via an online/offline cloud in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (pictured on the left). In 2016, I supported War Child Holland’s scaling up of Can’t Wait to Learn, a program which develops educative games on tablets for refugees and host communities affected by conflict to access quality education – interestingly, the game design integrates elements of psychosocial support.


Importantly, CIE provides many opportunities for students to explore their diverse interests with support from an active learning community. I would encourage current students to engage this community during and after their time at the Center, without whom I would not have had the professional opportunities since graduation. [5-16]




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