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Photo of student ambassador Kieran Ficken.

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Ask Me About International Environmental Policy (IEP)

Undergrad The University of Vermont

Fast Fact I knit my own socks.

My Journey to MIIS I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania and moved to Burlington, Vermont, after I graduated from high school. I majored in environmental studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, with a minor in Russian language. I spent my senior year studying coffee farming practices and wrote my thesis on fair trade and organic coffee certifications. After I graduated, I spent a year teaching English and studying Russian in Belarus through the Fulbright program.

I returned to the United States and started looking for graduate programs that combined my interest in environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices, and Russian. The Middlebury Institute’s joint MBA/IEP program was a perfect fit.

Language of Study Russian

Immersive Opportunities As an undergraduate student, I traveled to Russia and Mongolia while studying the Lake Baikal watershed and to El Salvador while studying coffee agroecology. I’m excited to explore the opportunities MIIS provides for working with real-world clients in my classes and capstone project.

Student Life Fair warning: There are more opportunities to get involved at MIIS and in Monterey than any one person can manage. I play in a weekly trivia league, but also meet outside class with other students to work on group projects, make dinner, or just have coffee.

My Favorite Things about Monterey The vegetables! So much of the produce here is fresh, local, and delicious. The farmers’ market is just a few blocks from campus and a great place to grab a snack between classes.