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Alumni Profile: Selena Carter – from Maine to Mozambique

Selena Carter, 2013 Maxwell Alumni -  Making A Difference

Selena Carter, 2013 Maxwell Alumna- Making A Difference

Selena Carter earned her degrees in Public Administration, International Affairs & Economics from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in 2013.  While at Maxwell, Selena studied Advanced Turkish language, traveled to Turkey as a Critical Language Scholar and Boren Fellow and focused her studies in the areas of International Economic Development and Emerging Markets. She is currently a Research Associate with the Jameel Poverty Action Lab in northern Mozambique.

Selena, how have your degrees helped you attain your position? 

For my focus on economic development, I need not only international experience and foreign language skills, but also a strong grasp of quantitative analysis and math. A lot of people have done research and critical thinking about international issues, but what sets one apart in my field are the concrete skills like languages, fluency in statistics for public policy analysis, and an ongoing quest for new knowledge. 

How have your studies influenced your decision to travel? 

I’ve been traveling since I was an undergraduate, so this is a natural extension of my previous life. However, whereas before my graduate degrees I was struggling to find professional work abroad, now I am offered jobs in foreign countries more than domestically based positions. It is nice to know, though, that I have a secure route to obtaining a professional position anywhere in the world, if I want. 

What is your advice for prospective students interested in an internationally focused career?  

The foreign language skills are key, since they set you apart, Knowing less common languages, like Turkish and Portuguese, has given me the open door for many great opportunities. 

Selena grew up on a family farm in rural Maine where she became interested in foreign societies.  She is a 2006 graduate of Dickinson College with majors in international studies and Spanish.  Selena served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador and was later awarded a Fulbright English Language Teaching Assistantship in Portugal, prior to entering Maxwell for her graduate study.  Initially admitted to the MPA/MA IR program, Selena decided to add the MA Economics program. While in Turkey she was working on a research project using data from the Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program. This research became the basis for her Economics MA thesis.

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