“After visiting the Monterey Institute, I was all in,” says Matt Jira (BA/MPA ’13), a veteran of the U.S. Army who is on the verge of launching a new career in international development. “I was drawn to the international community but especially to the pragmatic focus of the academic program,” he shares, adding that now, as he prepares to graduate, he is confident in his skills and “feels fully prepared to transition from military service to a career in development.”
Matt enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and served for fourteen and a half consecutive years. He served as a military police sergeant at the Camp Delta Terrorist Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and as the leader of the only Department of State-certified High Threat Target Protection unit in Bagdad, Iraq in 2008. In the latter role, he was responsible for the daily security of U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, as well as visiting dignitaries such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, then-Senator Barack Obama, and King Hussein of Jordan during their official visits to Bagdad.
Encounters with extreme poverty during his overseas military service led Matt to seek a career in development, and he can think of no better place to prepare for that than MIIS. He is already on his way, with a paid internship and several positive job prospects on the horizon. He and his family feel “so blessed to be here” in Monterey, where they have enjoyed living by the ocean and being part of a “great community.”
Students like Matt enrich the Monterey Institute’s small international community with their wealth of experience and knowledge. The Institute is proud to be recognized, yet again, as a Military Friendly School for supporting and embracing military service members, veterans and spouses as students. MIIS also offers a number of resources to veterans on campus.