As an undergraduate, Katie Zomer MPA/MAIPD ’23 headed to Capitol Hill when she was hired as a legislative intern for Senator Gary Peters from her home state of Michigan.
The experience made her realize how much she enjoyed applying what she was learning to real-world situations. When she arrived at the Institute, she wasted no time adding to her growing résumé, landing a higher education internship at the French embassy in New York, then a social policy internship with UNICEF. The following summer, she conducted a learning and leadership development internship with Mercy Corps as part of the Institute’s International Professional Service Semester program.
Zomer recalls the feeling of seeing her words and ideas spoken by the bureau’s leadership before an international audience. “I was super nervous, but also kind of excited because that was a milestone. You know, as an intern, you don’t start off on your first day writing a speech for someone.”
Zomer, who is pursuing a joint master’s in public administration and international policy and development, says she loves the courses, faculty, and small international community at the Institute. Now approaching the end of her studies, she urges new students to avail themselves of the many opportunities they’ll find, whether in the classroom, socially, or developing their careers.
“Now that we’re in post-COVID times, the school is ramping up a lot of events for students, and a lot of networking opportunities,” says Zomer. “I think that’s a really great way to actually get into the vibe of being a Middlebury student—by going to those events, networking with people, networking with your fellow students and the faculty and staff here at Middlebury.”
Now in his fourth semester of the International Policy and Development program, McDonnaugh is gaining professional experience with a leading aid organization while exercising his lifelong passion for service.