Graduation Year: 2012 (matriculated with 2011)
Job Title: Associate, Emergencies Division, Human Rights Watch
Current City: New York
Current Job Description: My tasks vary widely from day-to-day. I work primarily with a team of six researchers who investigate and expose human rights violations in conflict zones and crisis areas around the world. I handle logistics for the team—getting them in and out of wherever it is they need to be, arranging for visas, making sure they have working satellite phones and flak jackets—and also take on research, writing, and editing tasks as we work on putting out reports and advocacy briefings on our findings.
Most recently I’ve been finishing a report on political violence based on findings from a fact-finding mission in Bangladesh I went on with one of my colleagues earlier this year.
Describe your work environment (independent research, working in groups or teams, etc.)
I’m based in our New York headquarters, and though we work as a team, much of my time is spent independently pursuing research or other tasks. That said, every piece of research at Human Rights Watch is the product of collaboration between our researchers, our legal team, our communications and media officers, and our local contacts.
Are you pursuing any other projects? (taking a class, volunteering, teaching yourself a new skill, training your puppy, etc.)
I freelance as a writer on the side, and I’m always working on my skills as a cook. Graduate school is on the horizon as well.
How did you get involved in PCI as a student?
A good friend of mine suggested that I look into getting involved with the Old Stone Mill. The idea of the space and its mission immediately clicked with me, as it seemed like it would fill a much-needed gap at Middlebury, and I applied to be on the board!
What did you learn from your PCI involvement?
For one thing, being involved with PCI taught me about the importance of vision, and really honing a larger idea into actionable goals. Ron, Jessica, and Liz imagined the Old Stone Mill space as being entirely student-driven, which was fantastic, and also required us to work hard at articulating what it was we wanted to see happen, and how it was going to get there. At the point I came on board, the question was really how we were going to “tip” the student body towards exploiting the space and PCI resources to their full potential.
Which of those things do you think about the context of your current job/class/life?
I think about how I turn my life vision into actionable goals frequently, and certainly my job is no different than many in that I problem-solve on many different scales on a daily basis. More broadly, the field of human rights is premised on taking a set of abstract ideals and principles and transforming them into something that has a tangible impact on people’s lives. So in that sense, I’m still navigating the same challenges and opportunities I faced at PCI.
How did your experience with PCI fit in with your larger Middlebury experience and education?
Working with PCI connected me to students who I would otherwise not have come into contact with. It also got me thinking about ways to engage the larger Middlebury community, and work on pushing student-driven initiatives to the forefront of student life. It also affected my decision to do pursue independent research between my junior and senior years.
Where do you see yourself going in the future (back to school, to another location, staying at your current company, etc.)
I’ll be staying with Human Rights Watch for the immediate future, then heading to graduate school, most likely for human rights law. I’m planning on being based abroad after that, where I would like to investigate, write, and report.