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Laura Zseleczky

Degree, Program, and date of graduation: Masters of Public and International Affairs, May 2012

Dates of working with the WGD Program: February 2008 – July 2009; October 2010 – July 2013

·         WGD undergraduate research assistant: February 2008 – July 2009

·         WGD administrative assistant: October 2010 – December 2010

·         WGD graduate assistant: January 2011 – May 2011

·         IPM Innovation Lab graduate research assistant: May 2011 – May 2012

·         WGD research associate: May 2012 – July 2013

What work did you do with the WGD program?

"I’ve worked in several capacities for WGD including supporting research for the Senegal ERA project, the IPM, SANREM and Peanut Innovation Labs, and InnovATE. I’ve helped develop, prepare, and implement research tools and manage and organize deadlines for these projects. Additionally, my work involved planning and preparing materials for workshops, meetings, reports, and publications."

Most exciting experience, interesting discovery, or connections made:

"For me, there have been two incredibly exciting aspects of working with the WGD program. The first has been learning from the many people involved in WGD projects and seeing how concepts I’ve learned and read about in my academic work play out in a real-world context. I really appreciate the perspective I’ve gained by working for a program that’s involved on the ground in so many important issues in the current context of international development.

"The second exciting part of working with the WGD program has been seeing where my research and work has contributed to projects that are having a positive impact on women and men around the world. For example, I helped Maria Elisa develop a workshop on gender, agriculture, and participatory research methods as an undergraduate research assistant to the WGD program. She conducted that workshop in Mali in 2009 and I remember how exciting it was to meet with her afterwards and hear how well it went. That workshop has served as a model for many of the workshops that she has since conducted around the world through the SANREM and IPM Innovation Labs. And the summer of 2011 I had the privilege of helping facilitate one of those workshops in Ghana. The experience of seeing a program that I’d helped to develop be implemented and positively impact the way participants began to view gender as a key issue in agricultural programs was so rewarding."

Where did you go after graduating?:

"I now work as a Research Analyst for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C. Our organization provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. In my current role, I help prepare publications and presentations for the Director General's Office and help organize conferences, high-level visits, and other events. The skills and knowledge I gained during my time at OIRED were invaluable in preparing me to understand the issues of food security, resilience, agricultural development, and nutrition that are now the focus of my work with IFPRI."

How has the WGD program influenced your future?

"My experience with the WGD program exposed me to so many fascinating aspects of gender and international development. I gained a deeper understanding of, and interest in, how gender relations affect and are affected by development programs through my work with many of the WGD projects. I also had the privilege of conducting fieldwork in Ghana, Indonesia and Cambodia through the WGD program. These opportunities helped me realize that I want to continue working with issues of gender and development throughout my career, and I think I’ve developed many of the skills to do so by working with the WGD program."