A team of Monterey Institute students—Maria Kovell (MPA ‘14), Amitay Flores (MAIPS ‘14), Amanda Boyek (MAIPS ‘14), Natalie Cox (MPA ‘14), and Amy Ross (MPA ‘14)—made their mark at the Hult Prize regional competition last weekend in San Francisco, and left the competition with something at least as good as a win: a path forward for their innovative project.
Since its inception in 2006, Team El Salvador has provided 105 Monterey Institute students with the opportunity to hone their development and language skills while making a meaningful contribution to the lives of people in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador. This January, nine MIIS students were joined by two Middlebury students and, for the first time, a student from California State University, Monterey Bay.
Xiao’ou Zhu (MAIPS ’14) says she has always been interested in international development work, but that she had a very narrow view of what that meant until she came to the Monterey Institute. Her view before could best be described as a “brick and mortar” view of development involving official development assistance (ODA) and infrastructure support. That all changed when she took Professor Nukhet Kardam’s Development Theory and Practice class; “it opened a window into the possibilities of international development,” says Xiao’ou.
As our motto, to “be the solution,” indicates, a Monterey Institute degree involves much more than classroom theory. Monterey Institute students have numerous opportunities via immersive learning experiences to develop their professional skills by completing fieldwork and working on real-life issues as part of their class assignments. This spring semester, a group of faculty and staff from across the Institute has launched an innovation challenge for teams of students willing to tackle a true wicked problem.
Five MIIS professors took an introductory policy analysis course and turned it into an optional year-long immersive learning opportunity. Students have the option to enroll in a Peru-focused policy class in the fall, design a research project, conduct in-field research as part of a winter-term practicum in Peru, and then follow up by working with the information and data collected as part of a seminar in the spring, all while they are learning the tools of data analysis.
The Hult Prize is described as “the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good.” This year, more than 10,000 teams from 350 universities in 150 countries sent in proposals focusing on the 250 million slum dwellers suffering from chronic diseases.
Growing up in hot and dry Austin, Texas gave Michael Murphy (MBA/MAIEP ’08) a deep-rooted understanding of the value of water as a resource and how stressed many of our water sources are. In true Monterey Institute fashion, Michael has made global and local water challenges the focus of a highly specialized career that also relies heavily on his skills in developing community connections.
As the Monterey Institute community looks forward to another great year we would like to share some of the highlights from 2013. We had a lot of good stories to pick from this year but have picked five that reflect the spirit of the year – high level campus visits, alumni engagement, exciting activities and amazing student achievements.
In January, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon honored the Monterey Institute and its James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies with a visit:
Spark Ventures is a Chicago based non-profit organization that partners with grassroots organizations in developing countries to provide children in poverty with healthcare, education, and training.