| by Anna Santos MPA ’16


Santos, Anna group
Anna Santos MPA ’16 (back center) with members of the Jaunsari community in a Dimau Village in the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand, northern India. Santos organized a photo and video shoot there while ReSurge International partner surgeons Dr. Kush Aeron and Dr. Vinita Puri visited a ReSurge patient and her family.

Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, how the Institute helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.

My name is Anna Santos and I graduated with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Middlebury Institute in 2016. Prior to that, I earned my bachelor’s degree from Elon University. In Monterey, my language of study was Spanish and I specialized in organizational storytelling. After graduating I spent several years in senior marketing positions with Rocketship Public Schools, and now I am chief marketing officer at ReSurge International in San Francisco.

As the chief marketing officer at the global health nonprofit, I manage strategic initiatives that enhance our organization’s brand awareness, digital engagement, and growth. I work closely with the program and development teams to communicate the impact of the organization and inspire engagement and support from our global community. During my time at ReSurge, I have taken the organization through a brand audit and refresh, updating the brand with new guidelines and creative assets, based on ethical storytelling practices. I also implemented a digital marketing program to increase online donations and expand our reach.

Currently, I am working on strategic planning with the leadership team to increase the impact of the organization across the 19 low- and middle-income countries where we work. I am passionate about photography and film and am currently working on a documentary about the organization’s program in Nepal, told through the eyes of a nine-year-old burn survivor and the surgeon who treated her. I am fortunate to work closely with all major stakeholders of the organization, including the local surgical teams around the world and the patients they support.

These experiences were instrumental in helping me carve out a niche in the nonprofit marketing and communications sector.
— Anna Santos MPA ’16

I found this position online and realized that the CEO at the time had worked with several of my Middlebury Institute professors at a previous organization.  

While in Monterey, I was one of the initial fellows with the Intercultural Digital Storytelling Project (IDSP) at the Digital Learning Commons, where I learned from Bob Cole and Netta Avineri. In my second year, I co-led the second cohort of IDSP, and my final MPA thesis focused on organizational storytelling under the mentorship of Maha Baimyrzaeva. These experiences were instrumental in helping me carve out a niche in the nonprofit marketing and communications sector.

Santos, Anna
Anna Santos MPA ’16

I also went to Peru during January term as part of the MPA policy course, where we worked on a research project related to small-scale organic farming, and did another January term in Panama for an independent project with IDSP.

Additionally, acquiring MPA and consulting skills in areas such as needs assessment, action research, theory of change, and logic modeling from professors like Alfredo Ortiz and Beryl Levinger deepened my understanding of the sector’s work. These skills have been invaluable in my subsequent roles, enhancing my effectiveness and impact. This comprehensive education positioned me as an attractive candidate in the field.      

Focus on Building Connections and Ask Questions

My advice for current students is to be present and stay engaged—these years will fly by! You’ll meet many incredible students and professors—seize this moment to form meaningful relationships, as they will endure well beyond the program. Always stay curious and question—that is something we are encouraged to do at school, but it must be taken with you always so we can continue to improve our industry and not become complacent.

For More Information

Master of Public Administration