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How IPSL is Preparing Me for A Career in International Development and Service

January 16, 2013

2013.01.IPSL--150x125Today’s post comes from our January Career Newsletter Sponsor, IPSL and is written by Whitney Pfeifer, AmeriCorps- class of ’10 – ’11.

After finishing my first semester of my Master’s in International Development and Service through IPSL and Concordia University-Portland, I am full of possibilities.  Courses were rigorous and enlightening, and the knowledge I gained was career-shaping.  At IPSL, combining international service with practical experience is integral, and this learning approach saw me placed in an internship at Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian relief non-profit.  I was very successful in this placement, in part, because the IPSL master’s program helps its students put theory into practice while also allowing them to build on past experiences, like AmeriCorps

Whitney Pfeifer, AmeriCorps- class of ’10 – ’11.

Whitney Pfeifer, AmeriCorps- class of ’10 – ’11.

Last year, when serving in AmeriCorps at the St James ESL program, I received first-hand experience in how a nonprofit functions. Although prior to AmeriCorps I had volunteered with nonprofits, my AmeriCorps term highlighted the inner workings of the nonprofit world, and afforded me an opportunity to manage an expanding program. This understanding permitted me to jump right into my program evaluation and development work at Mercy Corps with minimal training or assistance, allowing me to be a more valuable intern by working on more substantial projects.

IPSL’s teaching philosophy is clearly and directly preparing me for my future career. The coursework, especially courses on Globalization and Research Methods, has directly benefited my work at Mercy Corps. I have been able to use skills learned to analyze survey work done in Nepal for a girls’ education proposal, as well as conduct research for a grant proposal for girls’ entrepreneurship in Nigeria. The IPSL experience is opening up a variety career options that range from working as a first responder to working with youth. And the professional contact opportunities IPSL builds into its grad program are one of its greatest strengths. I am confident I will be prepared not only with the theory of development work but with tangible, practical skills.

In my next semesters in Italy and Thailand, I will be exposed to an international work environment, and will build on my first semester learning experience by continuing to work with Mercy Corps and other international organizations. My AmeriCorps service perfectly complements my IPSL experience, and I encourage fellow AmeriCorps alumni interested in international development and service careers to consider the graduate program at IPSL. AmeriCorps and IPSL have similar missions of service and they work to create future community leaders to help others help themselves. I’m excited to continue to link my AmeriCorps experience with my IPSL education, and accelerate my prospects for a career in international development and service.

Be sure to join IPSL for a virtual open house on January 17th at 9AM Pacific time. Email for sign-in instructions.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2013 4:45 pm

    I am currently an AmeriCorps member and I am looking into MA programs. I fell in love with the IPSL program, BUT $64,000 for 4 semesters is steep. As an AmeriCorps Alum, were they able to offer you financial aid (besides the possible $2,500 scholarship and matching 10% of the Ed. Award)? Overall, if you don’t mind me asking, did you have to pay with loans? Thanks for your time!


  1. Explore Post-AmeriCorps Opportunities to Do Good Overseas | A Lifetime Of Service

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