A bit about Me

A Bit About ME!

I am currently a student in the MPA-ID Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.  MPA-ID stands for Masters in Public Administration in International Development.  The program is a quantitative and economics-based program focused, not surprisingly, on international development.  This summer I am headed to Mozambique to work with Technoserve on an agro-forestry project.

I just finished my first year of the MPA/ID and have ended on a really positive note.  I chose the MPA-ID because of its quantitative and economics focus.  I expected to, at times, feel frustrated with what would feel like the narrowness of this approach to development given that my own background is much more qualitative (I had to take the multi-variable calc pre-req last summer after a break from math that went back to, um, high school!) and I did my undergraduate work in international development with a more sociological approach.

I feel like I finished the year on a really good note, even though that expectation of frustration was definitely realized.  Though at this point I feel like I have learned a lot and am more equipped to think about many of the problems in development today, I also hit my wall with macro problem sets several times wondering when I will possibly use a Hamiltonian again in my life!  So, at this point I am mostly just excited to be done with finals for year one and really excited for year two, when I’ll have more choice in the classes I take and can focus more on aspects of development that are particularly intriguing to me.  I also am really excited about this summer, and another chance to be in Africa and trying to hone in on exactly how this new skill set will be useful!

This summer I am a Roy Family intern in the Women in Public Policy Program and I will be working with Technoserve in Mozambique.  Technoserve works with small scale (not micro, but still small) entrepreneurs in the developing world to improve and develop their businesses.  I am grateful for this opportunity, that all three institutions have supported me in finding and making a reality.

My undergraduate degree was in (International) Development Studies from Brown University.  I spent a year in both Israel and Egypt as an undergrad and I thought, for a while, that my focus would be on conflict resolution in the Middle East.  While in both places I studied Hebrew and Arabic, though I’d probably feel a little shamed if I tried to speak them today.

After I graduated I headed to Ashoka to work on a project there called Youth Venture.  We worked with youth around the world to support them in trying to start a small business or organization that could improve their community.  While I was there we held our first meeting with staff and program leaders from all the countries we worked in, whic was really inspiring.  I really enjoyed working for Ashoka but while I was there I was nominated to work on a Peace Corps project in Zambia.  In January of 2007 I moved to a village in northern Zambia for 20 months, where I worked with local teachers on professional development training, the District Ministry of Education office to better organize and maintain their office and to stock a library with real books, a local youth group on HIV/AIDS awareness and lifeskills, and several local women’s group on HIV/AIDS awareness and small business development.

My interests now focus on gender and small business development and I am excited to be working on both of those this summer in Mozambique.

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4 responses to “A bit about Me

  1. Sounds exciting! How’s your Portuguese?

    • Haha – i just bought a 501 portuguese verbs book. we’ll see how i survive when i get there! i’m counting on the basics of the verbs being like spanish and then needing to pick up conjugations and different sounding letters.

  2. Hi Hannah,

    I really admire your work and would like to keep in touch with you – Congratulations!

    Keep it up girl!

    Best,

    Nicole

  3. Way back, in 1978, Albie went to teach at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo. He said to himself that he would be teaching (law) in Portuguese within 6 months. And he did. Even I can hear he has a terrible accent and as you sound as if you have far more facility for languages, I’m sure you will learn a lot while you are there. On the other hand in Nampula, how many people speak Portunguese ?

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