Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Aileen Evans

Sign up to chat

Ask me about Veterans Affairs

Undergrad Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Fast Fact I always look for opportunities to serve others.

My Journey to MIIS

I enlisted in the United States Air Force immediately after high school. Throughout my six years in the military I was able to gain valuable professional work experience, but more importantly the service provided me with ample time to think hard about what truly made my life happy. I have come to realize that the will-to-power in my life revolves around caring for others and ensuring equal treatment to anyone I come across throughout life.

Toward the end of my time in the service I realized the only way I would be able to help others in a meaningful way was to get an education. I enrolled in community college and completed 14 semester-hours before volunteering to take orders to Afghanistan. It was during the time in that country that I decided to honorably separate from the military to continue my undergraduate education on a full-time basis using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The day after I returned from my deployment I arrived two weeks into the semester at the Stockton University in New Jersey. I remember sitting in the first class and thinking how great it felt to be back in the homeland and that I was starting out on a mission to learn how and why the world operates.

My last semester at Stockton took the form of an internship at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) in Washington, D.C. It was a rewarding experience that will have a lasting impact on my life forever. At COHA, I was introduced to the world of nonprofits and NGOs, and I learned that it is possible to create change in the world using these types of institutions as instruments for good.

After separating from the military and subsequently graduating with a political science degree with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies, I was fortunate enough to secure employment in the field of business development. My time working in business was full of learning and personal growth, but I knew that in order to solve the most wicked problems or have the biggest impact, I needed to obtain a professional degree. Which is why I am here at MIIS.

Language of Study I have been constantly studying Spanish since June 2015 when I enrolled in the Summer Intensive Language Program. I am currently in my third semester of Spanish and plan to continue studying the language through my last semester. Yes, a master’s degree will be one of your major accomplishments at MIIS, but the journey to become fluent in another language is the ultimate prize.

Immersive Opportunities Through my course work I have had many consultancy opportunities to apply my new skills. MIIS provides an opportunity to literally create your own future. Capitalize on it and choose wisely. Joining a student club is a great way to create your own immersive opportunities as well. For example, the Veterans Organization is a student-led club that can help you launch a consultancy or gain access to networking events that would otherwise be difficult to get into.

The MIIS Veterans Community Given that veterans make up nearly 8 percent of the student body, chances are that a student veteran will be in every class at MIIS. Some are on active duty and enjoying the break from the structured military environment, whereas others have been separated for years and are ready to continue serving their communities after graduation. Professors and fellow students recognize that having a veteran in the classroom adds a special dynamic to the discussions. Good organization and teamwork are key traits veterans have, and our motivation to get the job done well and on time is contagious. Some veterans have had intense experiences while in the service, and there is a strong support network to help them be as successful as possible at MIIS.

Student Life As a student, you will have many opportunities to get involved on campus. But one thing I have learned here at MIIS is that being "involved" is different at the graduate level and, in my experience, means taking control of your life and creating the future you want to see. Student life should be focused on expanding your capacity as an individual and continuously realigning your future interests with the current reality. Get involved, build your capacity, and always stay focused on your ultimate life goal.

My Favorite Things about Monterey The fog. Most people probably think of fog as dreary and cold, but it gives me life and energy. I grew up on the coast and the fog brings in a crisp cool air and soothing smell of the ocean.