2023 In-Demand Careers
THIS GUIDE IS NO LONGER ACTIVE. For the current FP Guide, click here.
Emphasis on Fieldwork, Career Guidance
Prepares Students for Post-Graduate Opportunities
Experiential learning is a key component of the graduate program at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. In fact, all Keough School students receive financial support to conduct fieldwork, as it enables them to develop cross-cultural competence, practice language skills, and apply classroom education to real-world situations.
Melinda Fountain, the Keough School’s associate director for professional development and alumni relations, 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,” Fountain says. “Fieldwork is important in helping students prepare to work in these diverse contexts.”
A two- to three-month immersive fieldwork assignment is part of the Keough School’s comprehensive Integration Lab (i-Lab) experience, which prepares students for the global employment landscape. Through i-Lab, students participate in a series of theory-to-practice engagements with global organizations to develop integrated solutions to global challenges. Projects through these partnerships have ranged from improving the housing markets in India and Mexico, to enhancing school performance in Chile and climate resilience in Guatemala.
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.”
- 2023 In-Demand Careers
- Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
- John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
- University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
- Texas A&M University, The Bush School of Government & Public Service
- University of Notre Dame, Keough School of Global Affairs
- The Fletcher School at Tufts University
- Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service
- Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas
- Rice University, School of Social Sciences