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Student Profile – Anna Hirt & the Robertson Foundation Fellowships at Maxwell

Student Profile:
A Conversation with Annastasia Hirt, MPA/MA IR 2021

What is your program and concentration while at Maxwell?
I am in the dual MPA/MAIR program at Maxwell. My concentration is on international development.  [International Development Concentration]

Could you describe the fellowship that you’re on?
I received a fellowship from the Robertson Foundation for Government. The Robertson Fellowship provides financial assistance and career guidance to students at five U.S. graduate institutions who are passionate about international public service.  As part of my fellowship, I have committed to working for the federal government for at least three years after earning my degrees from the Maxwell School.

What was your job experience before Maxwell?
I earned a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and because I was located in Washington, DC, I was able to complete several government and non-profit sector internships as an undergraduate student. This varied work experience opened my eyes to issues in human rights, U.S. politics, gender equality, global health, and international development and motivated me to apply to the U.S. Peace Corps after graduation.

I spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in western Rwanda, teaching high school English and directing community development projects. After this, I went to work for the Salt Lake City Department of Public Services. My job title was Outreach & Information Liaison, and I handled internal and external communications. This role really developed my writing skills: every day, I worked on writing memos, reports, government policies, briefings for the Mayor and City Council, press releases, internal newsletters, and even co-wrote a published book about a municipal historic site.

When I applied to graduate school, I liked how the joint MPA/MAIR programs offered an opportunity for me to synthesize my varied public sector work experience and diverse interests.

What is your ideal job post Maxwell?
After graduation, I aim to work in international development as a Foreign Service Officer with USAID.  [ Maxwell Career Development Statistics ]

What has been your main takeaway from your time at Maxwell so far?
So far, I’ve appreciated how my classes at Maxwell have balanced theory and hard skills. I’ve been able to delve into several different topics that interest me, and simultaneously develop my analytical, research, and writing abilities. I also think that the emphasis on group work in several Maxwell classes is a big benefit. Effective collaboration and negotiation are hugely important, professionally, and I think I’ll leave Maxwell better equipped to work in teams – and lead them – in my next job.

What would you say to anyone applying to Maxwell currently?
I was grateful for the thorough information provided when I called the Admissions Office directly during my application process – Christine Omolino is an incredible resource for information on applications, the Maxwell experience, and funding sources! I also recommend asking the Admissions team to connect you with a current student or alumna who shares your academic interests.


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April 2024
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