Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Alaina Robertson


Alaina Robertson is an international policy student and an avid climber.

September 20, 2012

Program: International Policy Studies

Specialization: Trade, Investment and Development

Undergrad: Middlebury College (International Studies)

Fast Fact: Alaina is an avid climber.  She has scaled El Capitan, summited Mount McKinley and participated in a Himalayan expedition. 

“MIIS’s curriculum is keeping pace with the real world.”

Having lived in India for two years, studied abroad in Argentina, and traveled in Eastern Europe and Central America, Alaina has an appreciation for worldwide differences in development.  Her experiences abroad sparked her interest in development challenges and structural causes of poverty.

“I think a critical part of the solution is to work on these issues through business and trade facilitation.  I wanted a degree program that would prepare me for a career doing just that.”

Alaina knew that she wanted to specialize in international trade and knew that MIIS offered a trade-specific program. 

“MIIS stood out because of its accomplished faculty and interdisciplinary approach to problem solving.  Proximity to jobs in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area doesn’t hurt either.”

Alaina loves that her classes at MIIS are skills and job-focused.  She says, “MIIS’s curriculum is keeping pace with the real world.”

“At MIIS we don’t just study negotiation, we are coached in a simulation class where we negotiate real, relevant trade issues.  In data analysis, the focus is not just on the numbers, but rather, how to evaluate the utility of others’ analysis and how to use data as a tool to make good policy decisions.”

In addition to negotiation and data analysis, Alaina has studied green energy technology, Chinese subsidies, intercultural communication, free trade agreements, and clean technology in Latin America, all of which were directly applicable to her internship she landed for the summer. 

“My internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Center showed me firsthand how small and medium-sized enterprises expand internationally into new markets.  MIIS gave me the trade literacy to engage at a meaningful level, while my research skills and regional knowledge helped me accomplish day–to-day work.”

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