Alumnus Spotlight: Noah Stephenson
Hometown: Several! Born in Duluth, MN, raised in South Carolina, spent some time in
Austin, TX and Grand Junction, CO.
Career: Account Executive at Peek over British Columbia
Languages: English, German
Favorite MIAGE Course: International Law with Amos Guiora
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that life doesn’t just happen to you, you have to make life happen.” Noah Stephenson certainly practices what he preaches. After completing a Bachelor’s of Political Science at Utah Valley University and spending a summer in Belgium, he knew he wanted to make an international career for himself.
Noah was drawn to MIAGE because of the interdisciplinary opportunities it afforded him. "It was great to work with faculty and students from all different departments. People in law communicate and think differently than people in business. Understanding those differences has helped me a lot."
While still completing his MIAGE degree, Noah was hired at Vista Staffing Solutions. As an international account manager he was responsible for handling contracts with hospitals for short-term physicians. Noah says he was given this position because of MIAGE: "the role required a lot of price negotiation with Australia, and they specifically wanted someone with familiarity beyond the US."
After five successful years with Vista, Noah is continuing to create new and exciting opportunities for himself. He recently decided to switch industries and pursue software sales with a promising new tech company called Peek Pro. This “tech travel” start-up is headed by one of the most powerful people in the industry, Ruzwana Bashir, according to Forbes.Peek will soon be opening an office in London, where Noah intends to relocate.
Noah’s advice to current students:
“Education is a wonderful thing, but it’s not just about graduating with a Master’s degree—you have to be able to articulate in an interview how the MIAGE degree will add value to their company in unique ways. This is the key to unlocking opportunities for employment and career advancement.”
Best of luck with the new job, Noah!
Alumna Spotlight: Carine Foly
Home Country: Togo
Career: Casework Manager, International Rescue Committee
Languages: French, English
Favorite MIAGE Courses: International Humanitarian Law with Erika George ; Foundations
in International Affairs and Global Enterprise with Dr. Stephen Reynolds; International
Management with Dr. Lee Boam; Management of Nonprofit Organizations
When Carine Foly began the MIAGE program, she was torn between pursuing international business and international humanitarian aid. After a few of her MIAGE courses and internships with both World Trade Center Utah and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), she knew what was right for her.
"I loved my non-profit management classes. And I loved case studies of different NGOs and learning about why they worked or why they failed in providing aid. I think I always wanted to do humanitarian work, but interning with IRC finally helped me realize it. There are so many people out there in need, and I get to help them everyday at my current job."
Today, Carine supervises a team of about 12 case workers and 15 interns at IRC at any given time. Together, they serve over 1,000 refugees in the Salt Lake area from all over the world, including Sudan, Congo, Iraq, Burma, Iran, and North Korea. Most of the employees on Carine's team are former refugees themselves, and together they help some of Salt Lake's most marginalized populations become self-sufficient.
Carine is especially passionate about supporting women refugees:
"Refugee women face greater challenges than men. They tend to have fewer language skills, education, lower income, and the added burden of childcare."
Carine recently participated in a panel discussion at the University of Utah, offering her expertise on women refugees and the services they most need.
Though her work is very challenging, Carine loves what she does.
"I'll see families in grocery stores or out in the community that I have worked with and have become self-sufficient. It's so rewarding to see that happening. They usually remember me and are so thankful for the difference we have been able to make in their lives by helping them in their resettlement."
In the future, Carine would like to pursue international opportunities with IRC.
"The International Rescue Committee responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster in over 40 countries throughout the world and 26 US cities. I'm very interested in working overseas with refugees and being part of the refugee processing and admission into the US."
To learn more about International Rescue Committee, visit http://www.rescue.org/.
Kyle Gray Featured in Foundr Magazine
Alumnus Kyle Gray is the founder of Conversion Cake, a content management service that helps small businesses and startups develop and promote more effective content, enabling them to reach a broader audience and increase their customer base. Kyle was recently featured in Foundr Magazine, an online publication and digital media business for young entrepreneurs.
Carine Foly Participates in Panel on Women Refugees
MIAGE alumna Carine Foly is a casework supervisor for the Salt Lake office of the International Rescue Committee. She recently participated in a panel discusssion at the University of Utah's Lowell Bennion Community Center on the challenges facing women refugees. Read the full article here.
Source: KSL News
Alumnus Spotlight: Kyle Gray
Current Position: Founder of Conversion Cake
Countries Lived In: Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, and Thailand
Tracking down Kyle Gray is no easy task. Since completing the MIAGE program in 2014, Kyle has been an adjunct Professor, a content marketing manager, and the founder of his own start-up. While continuing to run his company, Conversion Cake, Kyle has also developed an online course to help graduate students get the most out of their degree, which he plans to turn into a book. And he’s done all of this while living in six different countries! Though currently taking a breather in Salt Lake City, he plans to move to Colombia in a few weeks.
Kyle was drawn to MIAGE because of the vast network of academic and professional resources it afforded him. An entrepreneur at heart, he took full advantage of resources like the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the Foundry, a business accelerator program which actually hired Kyle as an adjunct professor right after he graduated. One of Kyle’s favorite MIAGE courses was Social Entrepreneurship with Professor Jay Barney, where he traveled to Peru to work hands on with small business owners.
Kyle is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship, and he urges students to pursue their own small businesses. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity out there, and there are so many ways to help people and add value to their lives. Don’t be afraid to start a small business online. Do it while you’re still in school. Get your hands dirty!” He certainly practices what he preaches. Kyle began his company Conversion Cake while still a MIAGE student. His company provides content marketing expertise to entrepreneurs trying to expand their businesses. With Conversion Cake, small businesses are able to make their websites more user-friendly, increase traffic, and improve content.
Kyle believes that the University experience can be a transformative time in anyone’s life, and he urges MIAGE students to take full advantage of the tools available to them. "The best thing about being a student is having the title of 'student.' Many people are happy and honored to help students in their education if given the opportunity. So make your schoolwork an opportunity reach out to your favorite author, scientist, athlete, politician or hero.“
Recent articles featuring Kyle:
Alumni Viewpoint: 5 Tips for Student Success
Overcome Your Doubters Today: 13 Super Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories
Alumna Spotlight: Megan Hillyard
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Current Position: Associate Director of Administrative Services, Mayor Ben McAdams'
Office (Salt Lake City)
While deciding to apply for the MIAGE program, I found myself struggling over whether it was the right program for me. My heart told me to go for MIAGE because of the cross-disciplinary opportunities and the tie-in to international relations, which is a real passion of mine. However, since I was already working in local government at Salt Lake County, I kept questioning if it was more practical to get an MPA. I’m glad I decided to go with my instinct.
The curriculum was the first thing that drew me to MIAGE. The program gave me the opportunity to explore non-profit, government, and private-sector tracks. What became abundantly clear during my first couple of semesters is there are many intersections between these three groups. I learned that non-profits needed to increasingly function like private business, private businesses were focusing on increased social responsibility and government was somewhere in the middle. I loved being part of conversations that challenged traditional roles.
When I began my MIAGE degree, I assumed I would transition from my government job to either the non-profit or private sector. However, as I progressed in my degree my opinion about government, and the influence I could have, evolved. Since the MIAGE program I have moved through three different positions at Salt Lake County, each with increasing responsibility. Currently I serve as Associate Director of the Administrative Services Department in Mayor Ben McAdams’ administration, a role that challenges me and my perceptions about government each day. I help oversee all of the county’s internal service divisions, from Human Resources, to Fleet, IT and Facilities. We are tasked with finding innovative, cost-efficient methods of delivering quality services to our customers (i.e., other agencies within the county), so they can in turn provide diverse services to the million-plus constituents of Salt Lake County. I am perhaps most proud of our current efforts to bring greater government transparency and constituent access to county services through technology, the work I’ve done on the impending multi-million dollar District Attorney Buildings, and my efforts to promote Active Transportation within the county.
I’ve found the structure of MIAGE to be similar to life outside of the classroom. Just as I was given the opportunity to try my hand at law, business and public policy classes, each day at work I’m presented with various scenarios requiring adaptability, data synthesis, relationships with diverse stakeholders and an eye towards innovation.
Thank you MIAGE for challenging my assumptions and helping me realize how interesting local government can be.
Alumnus Casey Coombs Freed from Captivity in Yemen
Since February 2012, Casey Coombs has been living and working in Yemen as a freelance
journalist, covering a breadth of international issues including human trafficking, the kidnapping of foreigners, and the Houthi rebel group's takeover of the Yemeni government. Most recently, he reported the challenges he and other Americans were facing in
trying to leave Yemen. In mid-May, shortly after publishing this article, Casey was taken from his home
and held hostage by the Houthis. He was held for two weeks and suffered a serious
back injury before State Department officials negotiated his release. After recovering in Oman, he returned to the States and underwent a successful back
surgery. Casey now begins the long road to recovery as he rebuilds his life in the
US. Donations can be made here. We celebrate Casey's safe return home and wish him the best.
Read the full story from @theU.
Hometown: Sunnyside, Washington
Languages: English, Spanish
Favorite course: Mediation and Advanced Negotiations with James Holbrook
Current work: Compliance Communications Manager for Progrexion Marketing
Tristan received his B.A. in English Literature with a minor in International Business from Montana State University. While in Montana, Tristan worked as a liaison officer for the Australian Trade Minister at the 2011 APEC conference, and he also worked as a rating guide on the Yellowstone River. Tristan joined the MIAGE program to take advantage of its connections to many different departments in the University, and he has focused his studies on international communications and international relations. During his graduate program, Tristan worked as a communications intern at the Office of the Mayor in Salt Lake City. He now works at an international marketing firm in Salt Lake City called Progrexion. As a Compliance Communications Manager, he works closely with the marketing and legal departments to ensure that all outgoing communications follow regulatory and legal guidelines.
Hometown: Chico, California
Languages: English, Portuguese, and Spanish
Favorite course: International Management with Dr. Boam
Current work: Director of Special Committees and Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Sandy
Chamber of Commerce
Carissa received her BA in History with a minor in Law and Economics. She served an LDS mission in Brazil where she developed a passion for promoting economic and social growth. Carissa is an avid traveler; during her MIAGE program, Carissa participated in a study abroad trip focused on economic development in Peru. For now, Carissa is applying her skills in her local community. She current works as the Director of Special Committees and Young Entrepreneurs Academy for the Sandy Chamber of Commerce.
Alumnus Spotlight: Adam Vaughn
Hometown: Orem, UT
Current Position: Account Manager at Lizard Skins
I get to wear many hats within the baseball division of Lizard Skins and have influence in important decisions. I’m an Account Manager for several hundred B2B baseball accounts, I train and manage a dozen outside sales reps all over the country in addition to my personal sales, and I’m involved with marketing by creating catalog, newsletter and social media content. If anything, MIAGE teaches you to adapt. I never hesitate taking on new challenges because I know how to fill in the gaps of what I don’t know. It comes with the territory.
MIAGE prepared me well for the high level writing and statistical analyses required in my work. You can never emphasize quantitative literacy enough. The law perspective has also been useful since I’ve participated in some of the contract writing for our player endorsements. Language skills have also been essential. I’ve been able to open some doors in Italy and Mexico as we’ve started to turn toward international markets in baseball. International trade logistics and international exchange rates have also been important topics to understand for daily operations.
It’s an exciting place to be and if feels great to be relied on for the very broad skill set that MIAGE offers.