2022 In-Demand Careers
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Emphasis on Fieldwork, Career Guidance Prepares Students for Post-Graduate Opportunities
The scaling back of COVID-19 restrictions, a mounting migration crisis, and recent presidential policy shifts are all influencing the job market for international affairs graduates. The Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame is positioning its students to succeed in this new professional landscape.
As conditions surrounding the pandemic change, international nonprofit organizations have resumed sending staff abroad for fieldwork, says Melinda Fountain, the Keough School’s associate director for professional development and alumni relations.
Fountain personally knows the importance of working in the field, after studying in Poland, Israel, and France, and serving in the US Foreign Service at three embassies.
“Much of the work in international affairs includes engaging with other cultures, countries, and languages,” she says. “Thus, fieldwork is important in helping students prepare to work in these diverse contexts.”
All Keough School students are required to conduct fieldwork. For example, the school’s Integration Lab has students work with global organizations on real-world problems for three semesters, which have ranged from improving the housing markets in India and Mexico, to enhancing school performance in Chile.
Fountain and other subject-matter experts at the Keough School serve as students’ career advisors. Students also take a “Career Colloquium” class every semester that teaches them how to write an effective résumé, conduct a successful interview, and network professionally.
More than half of Keough School graduates accept positions with nonprofit organizations. Job opportunities in this sector are not expected to contract anytime soon. In fact, a growth in international affairs work under President Joe Biden has increased funding and therefore created more opportunities for nonprofits in that field. “That has a multiplier effect on jobs,” Fountain notes.
Specifically, there has been growth in jobs related to refugee policy, an area that had lost momentum in prior years, when the United States admitted fewer refugees. The issue has gained greater urgency after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as a significant number of civilians have fled both countries.
Fountain has specific expertise in policy about displaced persons, which was part of her portfolio in the US Foreign Service. Poland, one of her embassy postings, is the top destination for Ukrainian refugees.
The war in Ukraine, Fountain says, is a wake-up call that the world needs well-prepared international affairs leaders.
“Now we are being reminded in a stark way that peace and security matter, no matter where you are,” Fountain says. “Peace and security are not something that you achieve forever. It’s something that you have to continually nurture and work for.”
- 2022 In-Demand Careers
- University of Notre Dame, Keough School of Global Affairs
- Yale University, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
- Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
- George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government
- Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Politics and Strategy
- University of Arkansas, Clinton School of Public Service
- UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Texas A&M University, The Bush School of Government & Public Service
- The Citadel
- Tufts University, The Fletcher School