Finding employment is all about who you know now a days and this conference was such a good experience to get our names out in the academic world and build a stronger network within the field of development.
On the second day of the conference, we were able to hear many people speak from various backgrounds and disciplines. Although we attended our friends presentations, we were able to listen in on topics that interested us and speak with presenters afterwards.
As someone who spends their days with dogs, getting covered in mud and fur, I don’t’ wear nice things very often. This conference was a great excuse to dust of my beautiful blazers, dresses and heels. Even the guys in the program got spiffy for the event and it was great to see everyone in such a professional manner. We all looked good and people took notice.
I had never been to New York so I was thrilled to see the city that never sleeps, attend a couple of Broadway shows, and eat a pretzel in Times Square.
5. Columbia University:
Wandering through such a well known and respected ivy league institution was an experience of its own. The campus was beautiful and it was wonderful to walk around the courtyard during breaks, getting some vitamin D and fresh air.
Although the cohort has had plenty of opportunities to build friendships, this trip was just one more amazing chance for us to continue to learn and grow together, only strengthening our relationships. Upon graduation, I have no doubt in my mind that we will all stay close friends.
Although I have always felt comfortable in front of a classroom or even up on stage with an audience, I found myself a nervous wreck before speaking at the conference. This experience has taught me a great deal about myself, how to properly prepare, and how to co-author a published paper.
My absolute favourite part of the conference may seem silly but I found great joy in knowing how much work was being done around the world and hearing how development is truly helping others. At the beginning of the conference Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, spoke to the whole room and explained the importance of our work, but it did not really hit home until hearing all the research and work being done by all the people in attendance. Development is making a difference and the conference reassured me I am on the right path.
Mary Crawford is a Master’s Student in Cohort 4 of the Master of Development Practice program. Mary’s background is in global studies and classical and near-east archeology. Her current research interests include sustainable development, disarmament, animal rights, archaeology, history, and global arms trade.