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Nicole Zdrojewski


Graduate Assistant, Women and Gender in International Development


What work did you do with the WGD program?

I primarily supported the 2021 WGD conference, including drafting the final report, and I supported proposal writing efforts for federal contract opportunities. However, I also had the opportunity to and help advance publication of an article on gender integration work carried out in Vietnam under IPM IL, specifically looking at inter-disciplinary collaboration on researching and addressing gender issues that can affect training in IPM techniques and their uptake by farmers.

Most exciting experience, interesting discovery, or connections made:

It was fun supporting the conference, meeting up-and-coming scholars, meeting new experts, and rekindling relationships with experts I had worked with previously as a gender specialist focused on applied research for USAID staff. The monitoring, evaluation, and learning-related information I was exposed to throughout my time with the WGD Program was a great update and exposed me to current thinking and an expanded toolset for data collection and analysis.

Current Status:

I am currently a Fellow in Virginia Tech’s NSF-sponsored Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program in Disaster Resilience and Risk Management, and am preparing for my dissertation research on how deltaic and/or estuarine communities proactively and reactively address vulnerability to natural disasters and environmental degradation related to climate-change. I plan to use a feminist approach to look into what socio-ecological, economic, political, and technological assets study communities mobilize in their efforts to build resilience to the effects of climate change, collaborative relationships as well as barriers decreasing the effectiveness of resilience efforts.

How has the WGD program influenced your future?

Working with the team helped rekindle my passion for integrating attending to gender integration and social inclusion in my research. It helped me in a way coursework was not able. Since I came back to school to get a PhD after being in the international development workforce, I really appreciated being able to connect back to that scene via the WGD Team.