| by Jenna Hudson MAIPD ’19


Hudson, Jenna
Jenna Hudson MAIPD ’19 

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 Jenna Hudson and I graduated with an MA in International Policy and Development from the Middlebury Institute in 2019. My language of study was Spanish, and I participated in the International Professional Service Semester. During my second year at the Institute, I served as a Global Programs Fellow at Namati in Washington, D.C. I was subsequently hired as a learning consultant, and after a role change and a promotion I am now the manager of people and culture at Namati.

As a graduate assistant in the Center for Advising and Career Services, one of my jobs was to receive and upload job/internship openings onto our job search platform, Zocalo. The position for the Global Programs Fellowship came across my desk, and I immediately flagged it as an opportunity that I wanted to pursue. I reached out to a Namati employee who is a MIIS alumna, met with her while on the D.C. Career Exploration Trip, and the rest is history.

To get the job, I definitely used my networking skills and some of the things discussed in the career management course. Namati wanted a yearlong fellow position, but at the time, I couldn’t give them a year of full-time work, so it was also an exercise in building relationships, understanding what they needed out of a fellow and what I was hoping to get out of the experience, and seeing where those overlapped. There were also some classes at the Institute that helped prepare me for the kind of work the Global Programs team does, including courses focused on data analysis, evaluation, and classes that really pushed my critical thinking skills around international development.

Cast a Wide Net and Inventory Your Skills

In international development, there are job types that float to the top of searches, and organizations that tend to be dominant in the field. I encourage students to be open to the idea of casting a wider net, particularly if you’re not finding what you’re wanting from positions and organizations. Think more broadly about the skills and approaches you learn while at MIIS and where/how they could be unleashed. If you find yourself casting a wider net, then you will have to be diligent about honing networking, informational interviewing, and relationship-building skills. Finally, give yourself plenty of time to find a practicum experience. I started pursuing the position with Namati nearly a year before my practicum!