Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Cristina Lopez


Cristina Lopez is an MPA student specializing in human security and environment.

September 17, 2012

Program: Public Administration (MPA)

Specialization: Human Security & Environment

Undergrad: Florida International University (International Relations)

Fast Fact: Cristina participated in a rescue and recovery disaster relief course in the south of France. 

“My summer project consisted of filming a documentary about water insecurity in Nicaragua.”

Cristina migrated from Ecuador to Miami at the age of 15.  After studying international relations for her undergraduate degree, Cristina traveled and worked in Europe and South America.  For Cristina, these experiences were very mind opening and reinforced her interest in creating sustainable social change through working in the field.

“I felt I needed more knowledge and experience so I was eager to focus my career in a more technical and hands-on direction, which is why I applied to the MPA program," she says. "Compared to other schools, I felt the programs offered at MIIS were very comprehensive and practical. I loved the small community feeling and the international component the Institute has overall.”

Cristina appreciates the flexibility the MPA program has given her to choose her own concentration and the ability to mold her degree to her specific career goals.

“Being in the MPA program has given me the privilege of participating in classes from other programs, discovering and zooming-in on new interests and projects.”

Cristina recently completed the Development Project Management Institute (DPMI) program and enjoyed the learning experience and intensity of the program. She says, “I feel past classes, as well as the DPMI experience, have revolutionized my thinking into a more innovative and driven person, which inspired me to create my own summer project and will prepare me for future practicums and jobs in the field.” 

Cristina’s summer project consisted of filming a documentary about water insecurity in Nicaragua. 

“We explored and researched the paradox of water in said country, visiting several rural communities and urban slums where potable water and proper sanitation were inaccessible. The aim of the research and documentary is to expose the causes of this lack of access to water and sanitation and the terrible effects it has in the lives of people and the development of their communities. The documentary concludes with some holistic solutions that can inspire other communities to unite and implement as well.”