| by Lizzie Falconer MPA ’17


Falconer, Lizzie
Lizzie Falconer MPA ’17 on assignment with Catholic Relief Services in San Lorenzo, Ecuador.

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 Lizzie Falconer and I graduated with an MPA in Social Change from the Middlebury Institute in 2017. My language of study was Spanish, and I specialized in international development. After graduation, I served in several positions with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), including postings in Bolivia, Ecuador, Malawi, the West Indies, and Baltimore, Maryland. I am now a change manager at Nike in Beaverton, Oregon.

While I was enrolled at the Middlebury Institute, I found out about the Catholic Relief Services International Development Fellows Program through Institute alumni, and I followed up by meeting with career advisor Scott Webb MPA ’07. Through Scott I learned all about the benefits of the fellows program: the training, the placement abroad, and the stipend. To strengthen my application for the fellowship, I applied to work as an intern with Catholic Relief Services for my practicum. 

The support of Middlebury Institute faculty and staff was critical to becoming a Catholic Relief Services intern and fellow. People went above and beyond: meeting with me weekly, editing my résumé and cover letters, and having last minute Skype sessions to work on my answers to interview questions. I would also point to the Middlebury Institute network; I was able to connect with many alumni turned CRS fellows, who gave me their time and answered my questions. 

In 2022, I moved back to Oregon to be closer to my family. While still working remotely for CRS, I was contacted by a Nike recruiter over LinkedIn. I learned quickly that my MPA, experience abroad, and nonprofit expertise were valuable and transferrable. I now work in global supply chain technology at Nike.

Go for Your Biggest Dream

My best advice to students is the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Institute faculty and staff really do want to help you reach your goals, and they are there to support you. 
  • Ask for alumni contacts. Alumni were able to give me very honest opinions about different career paths, which helped me select what sounded best for me. 
  • Be the most prepared. Have your résumé edited by three people at least two times. Practice for your interview as much as possible. 
  • Go for your biggest dream. It has been amazing to see my friends graduate and achieve internships, consultancies, and jobs at organizations we’d only dreamed about.