When you’re at a new internship and have a million questions, sometimes you don’t know where to turn.
Thanks to a program launched in 2021, Middlebury Institute students doing a practicum can now turn to alumni mentors in their field for advice.
“My alumni mentorship experience was lovely,” says environmental policy student Courtney Kudera MAIEP ’23, who was matched with Mairi Miller Meehan MAIEP ’15 of the Ocean Frontier Institute. “It was wonderful to have a personal connection and it was a relief to talk with her about my experiences, hopes, and prospects for the future.”
Joint MPA/International Trade student Samantha “Sam” Fino also had a very positive experience meeting with Meehan. “I prepared some questions as I was interested in hearing about her journey after graduation. She gave me key advice when I explained that I am also interested in pursuing another degree after working for some time.”
“It was a pleasure to speak with Sam and Courtney,” says Meehan, who was recruited by the alumni mentor program’s manager, Carolyn Taylor Meyer, director of immersive professional learning . “Our conversations were very casual. What stood out to me about both of them were their levels of engagement with me, questions about my work, and their eagerness and drive to pursue meaningful and impactful careers.”
“Mairi’s biggest advice was not to let what I do stifle my passion,” adds Fino. “If I have a passion for something, I should pursue it and not let it be pushed down or away.”
Says Meehan, “I hope they both got a sense of the endless possibilities they have and will continue to have as experts in their fields, whether at the international, national, or local levels of environmental policy, decision making, and so forth. It was really great to connect with such excellent students from MIIS; it helped remind me of why I pursued this path.”
Alumni Mentors Support Students with Time and Expertise
The Middlebury Institute is grateful to the following alumni who shared their time and expertise to support practicum students during the fall 2022 and spring and summer 2023 terms:
Ronald Craft MANPTS ’13, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Andrew Dyer MACD ’00, Navigatr Jane Eklund MAIPD ’21, Amnesty International Addy Jimenez Haga MAIPD ’17, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Rafael Hernandez MPA ’15, Hernandez Consulting Karl Kailing MAIPS ’07, Thomson Power
Tabitha Birdwell MAIEP ’22, Delta Stewardship Council Sarah Erickson MANPTS ’22, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Elizabeth Francis MAIEP ’21, Blue Carbon Tristan Guevin MPA ’19, Sitka Tribe of Alaska Lidia Guirguis (no degree, FMS ’15), Solidaridad Network Natalie Berland Hayes MAIEP ’09, Bentley University Tiffani Jarnigan MAIEP ’14, Hewlett-Packard Amanda Larson MAIPD ’19, Carter Center Adam Martyn MANPTS ’20, U.S. Department of Defense Adrienne McKeehan MAIEP ’09, Conservation International Mairi Miller Meehan MAIEP ’15, Ocean Frontier Institute Jessica Morten MAIEP ’15, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mary Pantenburg MAIEP ’22, SecondMuse Mariko Powers MAIEP ’18, Oceankind Daniella Saint-Phard MAIPD ’21, IREX Jordan Sanchez MAIEP ’15, California Coastal Commission Becca Sheffield MAIEM ’16, Evolve Julie Stasiuk MAIEP ’22, ECOM Agroindustrial Corp. Emily Stokes MAIEP ’22, Waitt Institute Nick Tomb MAIPS ’02, Naval Postgraduate School Tessa Varvares MAIEP ’22, Harvard Belfer Center Bailey Warren MAIEP ’20, California Coastal Commission Alexis Wilkman MAIEP ’22, Fair Carbon Whitney Anderson Yadao-Evans MAIEP ’13, Conservation International
Kyle Abbattista MPA ’10, U.S. Agency for International Development Alfonso Aragon MAIPS ’04, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Ileana Ortega Brunetti MAIEP ’13, University of California, Santa Cruz Shannon Casey MPA ’21, WorldCompass Nikita Desai MAIPS ’07, The Asia Foundation Gunther Errhalt MAITED ’18, Global Fishing Watch Elizabeth Fisher MPA ’18, Catholic Relief Services Lawrence Garber MAIEP ’21, Building Decarbonization Coalition Bryan Herbert MAITED ’20, Deloitte Cate Klemme MAIPD ’19, Southern Pulse Elea Becker Lowe MAIEP ’18, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Aimee Maron MPA ’06, Co-Inside Consulting and Coaching Iris Nolasco MAIEP ’17, Paws and Stripes Anna Ondracek MAIEP ’21, Nebraska Department of Transportation Jessica Sanders MAIEP ’05, Foreign Area Officer and PhD Cameron Steagall MAIEP ’20, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) Christina Watson MAIEP ’98, Transportation Agency for Monterey County Kiera Welch MANPTS ’21, TRM Labs James Tsou Wong MAIEP ’13, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Transforming conflict is at the heart of a seven-year Middlebury initiative that is funding dozens of graduate fellows each year to apply their learning in research and community projects. The first annual event showcased projects and sparked conversation.