WWS Blog

From Montpelier to Seoul: a Woo’s summer

Dec 4, 2013
Published by:
Kidus Asfaw, MPA '14

The summer between an MPA’s two-year life at the Woodrow Wilson School is as unique and impacting as the passion to public service that have brought them back to school. To give you a glimpse into the lives of a few of our students, we asked five volunteers to share the summer internship experience and the impact they had on the organizations and areas in which they lived.

JARED DUVAL - domestic policy

Jared Duval Location: This summer I was the Creative Economy Fellow for Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development, in the state capital of Montpelier, VT.

The Job: My job was to research and promote Vermont's creative economy. The primary medium I used to do this was a series of short video profiles, which can be seen here.

Impact: The video profiles that I filmed and edited are helping to highlight the diversity and vibrancy of Vermont's creative economy. Hopefully this will help bring Vermont creatives together and connect them with the resources that the State can offer through the Office of the Creative Economy, from networking events to economic development grants and incentives, to training and internship programs.

Downtime: Vermont is beautiful. When not at work, I tried to get outside as much as possible, from a canoe trip down the Connecticut River to swimming at Silver Lake.

HANA FREYMILLER - economics & public policy

Hana FreymillerLocation: I worked in Lusaka, Zambia with the United Nations Development Programme.

The Job: I had the opportunity to work on two projects. The first project was on industrialization and inequality. I worked with the Poverty and MDGs unit to design a program that would support the government's mission to tackle inequality through employment generating industrialization. The second was a research project on the impact of charcoal production on the natural resources management in the areas surrounding Kafue National Park.

Impact: I had the opportunity to work with great people and learn an incredible amount. One of the limiting constraints for policy makers in Zambia is the lack of data on critical policy issues. I was able to work with a great team to generate primary data and bring an understanding of secondary data analysis to policy design.

Downtime: My friends and I would drive several hours outside the city to a national park on the Zambezi river. For a few days, we would watch the sunset from a river safari with vast wildlife. Every evening we would then barbecue on an open fire and sing fantastic camp songs.

ALISON FAHEY - development studies

Alison FaheyLocation: I was in Jakarta, Indonesia working with the World Bank. I was in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) group, and, within PREM, I was working with the Subnational Development and Policy cluster.

The Job: Indonesia implemented massive decentralization of service delivery after Suharto fell. My office had done extensive public expenditure analyses of local government spending on key services like health and education, but was only seeing limited improvement in service quality at the local level. To complement their supply-side work, I studied how the demand side could be mobilized to hold service providers more accountable and lead to better service delivery outcomes, specifically in education. I mapped the delivery of basic education services in one region of the country, conducted extensive literature review on social accountability mechanisms, interviewed experts and stakeholders, and ultimately proposed four mechanisms that the World Bank, school committees, or the Government of Indonesia could implement.

Impact: My work was an initial foray into how the World Bank can be involved in strengthening the demand side and citizen voice as an important component of better service delivery. The office is now continuing with some of my work, and may seek funding for a project focusing on social accountability.

Downtime: On most weekends I hopped on a plane on Friday evening headed to another amazing Indonesian destination. Trips included scuba diving in the Thousand Islands; exploring Bali's beaches, markets, and temples; poring over meters upon meters of beautiful batik fabric in Yogyakarta; and chugging into the jungle on a houseboat to see orangutans. Jakarta is a big, crowded and exciting city -- and weekends away were the perfect balance of nature, culture, history, and a bit of calm.

BECCA GONG - development studies / mba joint degree (yale)

Becca GongLocation: I worked for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I was part of the Monitoring & Evaluation team during the closeout period of the 5-year compact developing Tanzania’s water, transportation and energy sectors.

The Job: My job consisted of the following tasks: (1) collecting material evidence for the Monitoring & Evaluation team’s indicator database monitoring the status of all sectors’ projects over the five-year compact period; (2) overseeing external evaluations being conducted, including ensuring quality control of enumerators, survey tools, analysis and reporting used by consultants; and (3) conducting self-guided fieldwork to produce a case study for MCC’s Congressional & Public Affairs unit on the benefits of a transportation sector project that refurbished a road going to the Kenyan border.

Impact: I played an extensive role in managing the external evaluation of consultants and making sure that their work met MCC’s quality standards. The critical oversight we offered as field interns allowed MCC to improve their evaluations process, better analyze the impact of the 5-year project outcomes, and plan for the future Tanzania II Compact that has already been awarded..

Downtime: Tanzania is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. Typically on weekends I would travel to places like the pristine beaches of Zanzibar or the plains of the Serengeti for safari. Chill weekends at home would be spent having dinner with friends/my roommate (another Woo!), relaxing on the beach or taking scuba diving lessons at the local dive shop.

SOYEON YU - international relations

Soyeon YuLocation: I was in Seoul, South Korea working as a State Department intern.  I worked in the Economic Affairs Section of the US Embassy.

The Job: My job mostly consisted of conducting research for cables and assisting FSOs (Foreign Service Officers) with planning or conducting meetings.  As part of my research, I did several interviews with Korean government and industry representatives.  The meetings largely involved understanding the concerns of American businesses operating in Korea.

Impact: I was able to contribute to the organization by conducting research and interviews that would have otherwise not been done due to the time and resource constraints.  I was also able to help establish new contacts for the embassy.

Downtime: A lot of city exploration and meeting up with my extended family in Korea.  My days would also end with a lot of eating because Korean food is delicious.  I would try to spend my weekends going on trips or hikes so that I could get the most out of my short time there.



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