| by Emily Stokes


Emily Stokes MAIEP '22
Emily Stokes MAIEP ’22

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 Emily Stokes and I graduated with an MA in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute in May 2022. My language of study was Spanish and I specialized in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. I interned with Conservation International in Arlington, Virginia, and am now a program manager at the Waitt Institute in San Diego.

While in school I completed an International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) internship with Conservation International (CI), working with the Coral Reefs of the High Seas Coalition through CI’s Center for Oceans. In that role, I was researching and writing papers as well as policy and communications documents to support the creation of high seas MPAs (Marine Protected Areas). The United Nations is currently negotiating the final language of the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, which will hopefully create a legal mechanism to implement MPAs in the high seas. The Coral Reefs of the High Seas Coalition aims to generate scientific evidence, strategic communications, and policy support to encourage conservation on the high seas.

I was connected with the Coral Reefs of the High Seas work by professor Kristina Gjerde, who works closely with the coalition, and my internship was funded through the Center for the Blue Economy’s Fellows program.

I was connected with the Coral Reefs of the High Seas work by professor Kristina Gjerde, who works closely with the coalition, and my internship was funded through the Center for the Blue Economy’s Fellows program. Several fellow MIIS alumni work at Conservation International, including Sahara Saude MAIEP ’08, Ginny Farmer MAIEP ’04, and Whitney Yadao-Evans MAIEP ’13.

At the Waitt Institute, I am working as a program manager on several different sites, building partnerships with governments and stakeholders, as well as overseeing the coordination of stakeholder meetings and events. The Waitt Institute works with local communities and governments to create sustainable ocean plans that support the environment and the economy; one of the larger goals of the program is to work toward the United Nations goal of protecting 30 percent of all land and sea by 2030 as well as to protect and bolster local blue economies and sustainable fishing.

Check Job Boards and Network

My best advice for students as they launch their job search is to be diligent about checking the job boards! During my job search I checked several job boards daily; the best ones I found in my particular field were the Schmidt Marine Job Board and the SevenSeas weekly newsletter. Once you’ve identified a job possibility, if you know anyone who has worked with the organization you are applying to, reach out and talk to them about the position. Career advice and guidance from Edy Rhodes and Carolyn Meyer was also very helpful, as well as networking opportunities facilitated by faculty members.