This post is part of a profile series on NPSIAns and their summer work experiences. If you have any questions for the student profiled, please refer to their contact information at the bottom of this post.
Name: Jessica Carroll
Workplace: Impact Enterprises – Chipata, Zambia.
Position title: Business Development Associate
NPSIA cluster: International Development Policy
Position obtained through the Carleton co-op process?: No.
Undergrad school(s): University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
Undergrad major(s): International Relations
How would you describe the dress code at your work?
The office is business casual so I wear dresses usually since the local culture is pretty conservative. But on Fridays we can dress down a bit.
What are the lunch options like nearby your work?
I get lunch and dinner provided. My lunch meal is usually the local dish called shima, which is just a corn flour boiled into a thick paste with some vegetables and meat. Dinner is usually cooked at home.
How many jobs did you apply to this summer?
What is your favourite part about your job?
I enjoy that I get to do many different tasks. The office also has two dogs so at the end of the day I get to walk them with my boss, which is a nice way to end the day, especially since its at sunset.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Most of what I do requires the internet, so its difficult to not have a reliable internet connection. Also things change from day to day so what I am doing can also be changed, and I might not have strong skills in that.
What is an average day like for you?
It varies a lot from day to day. Mostly I work on the social media content for part of the day. Then I have been given the task of updating their HR forms and entry and exit surveys. I also participate and help with their professional development workshops, which are usually based on a theme for the month. For example for the month of July we are working on leadership skills. The company also recently started a workshop for the women at the office, which I am helping to develop. However, things are always evolving so I get many different tasks.
How much is your hourly wage?
I get a stipend of USD 200 per month, but accommodation and lunch and dinner are provided.
Are you also taking classes (NPSIA, language training, etc.) and/or studying abroad this summer?
I am also writing my MRP this summer. I usually try to work on it in the evenings or on Sundays. Luckily, I’m working for a tech company so I have really good internet, otherwise it would be really difficult.
Which NPSIA course best-prepared you for your position?
Believe it or not the class that I have found most useful here has been research methods, because of developing the surveys. A class I didn’t take, but would have also been useful would be one on monitoring and evaluation. That said most of what I have learned has been on the job.
What sort of work experience did you have before this position?
I previously was a volunteer in Tanzania where I taught English for a year and half. After that I worked at a business processing outsourcing firm for about a year before coming to NPSIA.
Looking back, is there anything you wish you would’ve done differently in your job search?
I wish I would have applied to more positions and not been as picky. As I stated before the DC market is really competitive and I had no idea who I was competing with. I also would make sure to look at things earlier, this is really true for international students. Many of the deadlines for government internships are at the end of first term or beginning of second.
What is some advice you’d give to a student hoping to get hired/intern at your workplace?
Highlighting your experience is really important since they also advertise outside of North America and get a lot of people mid-career applying. International experience, particularly in Africa is also really helpful.
Have any questions for Jessica?
You can get in touch with her via the NPSIA Students Association (firstname.lastname@example.org) and check out her LinkedIn profile.