Tuesdays with a Korbel Grad

Meet Victoria, a 2013 MA in International Development Korbel Grad.

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  1. Where do you currently work?

I am the Education Manager at an international development NGO in Cambodia, called Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC). JWOC is based out of Siem Reap, but has operations is Burma and Laos. We develop projects in Southeast Asia that reduce poverty levels, increase educational and economic opportunities, and empower recipients to be agents of change in their community. At JWOC, I oversee a portfolio of 25 unique vocational classes serving over 700 students in Siem Reap aged 5-50 each week; my job involves a lot of project M&E, strategic planning, organizational leadership, flexibility, strong cross-cultural collaboration skills and compassion. Before JWOC, I was in Boston working at an international education consulting firm.

  1. Which courses or professors at Korbel do you think best prepared you for this job?

Devin Joshi continues to be a huge mentor for me. The conversations we had during class and office hours were enlightening and thought-provoking to say the least. The research I did for Devin about Asia inspired me to further my career in Asia and why I am back working in Asia now! Other amazing classes include GIS for International Development and Fundraising and Financial Management with Sue Dorsey.

  1. We know that graduate school is an investment, how did you finance your graduate school investment?

My approach to financing my graduate education has been three-pronged- with strategic planning before, during and after. Before applying to schools, I examined the financial benefits available to me as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and Korbel was one of my top choices. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program helped me save money by enrolling in an accelerated track and completing my degree requirements in just over 1 year. During my time at Korbel, I held about 5 different part-time jobs at any given time, working about 8-12 hours per week. The part-time jobs helped me offset living costs and not rely on loans for anything except the cost of tuition. And lastly, after Korbel, I have been open about my loans to my previous and current employers; being somewhat open about your financial situation gives you better leverage in negotiating your salary and/or having your employer make performance-linked payments towards your loan.

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