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International Development Alumni Spotlight: Nou Thao

Nou Thao was already working for Reading & Math, Inc. when she began the program, but she still experienced a profound career transformation. Almost right away, she says, “the program helped me understand my position and the things I needed to do my job better.”

“I loved the program,” she says. “Even though it was online, I felt so connected to the other students and the professors, as well.”

The Master’s in International Development program provided Nou with the knowledge she needed to start bringing lasting change into her community. “The degree is not just about working in the third sector. It incorporates a global lens and helps us think about our culture, our society, and the issues we need to work to resolve. And not just to solve a problem, but how to sustain a solution, and make sure that those solutions provide long-term benefit.”

For her fieldwork, Nou created a project at her current place of employment so she could still make a difference and complete the experiential requirement while working full time.

Nou’s primary goal was to increase positive employment outcomes for minorities in in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. She spent time researching the challenges faced by these individuals, working with her organization’s strategic team and program directors on a high level to help minorities enter the workforce more easily and experience lasting success. Through her field project research, she was able to help her organization create better program support, ultimately enhancing outcomes for the individuals served by the program.

Nou credits the Master’s in International Development program with her ongoing success, stating that “the degree has given me a strong and knowledgeable background. Directors in my organization really rely on me now.” So much so that she was offered a promotion shortly after graduation, giving her more responsibility and growing her career.

Learn more about other student experiences, or explore more about the Master’s in International Development here.