| by Matt Coomer


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Matt Coomer MAIEP ’17

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

My name is Matt Coomer, and I graduated in 2017 with an MA in International Environmental Policy (IEP), specializing in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. After graduation, I became the conservation projects and communications coordinator at the Marine Conservation Institute. I found the position on Idealist.org. Since then, I’ve pursued a career in communications, fundraising, and administration in various capacities. I currently work as communications and membership manager at the Phinney Neighborhood Association in Seattle.

Hone Your Skills Before You Graduate

My Center for the Blue Economy Fellowship with Conservation International Hawaii showed me how a nonprofit organization works in the field, and my International Professional Service Semester with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program helped me hone valuable new skills. It allowed me to become established in Seattle and explore local career opportunities too. I also continually reworked and improved my resume using tips that Edy Rhodes from the Center for Advising and Career Services shared during a professional development course.


Unique, real-world experiences are what make you stand out.
— Matt Coomer MAIEP ’17

Kickstart Your Career With Off-Campus Experiences

Perhaps the best advice I received in grad school was to leverage my MIIS student status to gain off-campus experience. Work hard in your classes, but devote equal energy to developing your career at the same time. Unique, real-world experiences are what make you stand out when, at the end of the day, anyone else can earn the same degree.