Elizabeth Mendenhall

Immediately after graduating from Lehigh (class '03), I joined the Peace Corps to get some grassroots-level work experience in development. I was sent to Ukraine for 2 yrs as a TEFL volunteer, which meant my primary job was as an English teacher in a small-town public school. I did far more than teach, however, and was also active in youth/community development, gender issues (especially trafficking of women), and HIV/AIDS education. Upon returning from my 2 yrs of service, I was accepted into the graduate program at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). There I spent 2 years getting my MIA in economic and political development. Through SIPA I had a few amazing work/learning opportunities, including working on women's political participation in Africa through a Council of Women World Leaders fellowship at the Club of Madrid; doing a third party evaluation of a governance and civil society project in Colombia as a consultant; and doing climate change advocacy at the UN for CARE International. Following SIPA, I took a short break from the international development field to work for the Obama campaign as a field organizer in Ohio. It was one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever had. After the campaign, I moved to DC for a short-term consulting position with the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution and to wait for my start date as a foreign service officer with USAID. While at Brookings, I had the opportunity to work on creating an index for foreign aid effectiveness. After a long wait, however, I have finally started my new career as a foreign service officer with USAID. I am currently working at USAID headquarters in Washington, but will soon be leaving for my first post - the Dominican Republic - where I will serve as a program/project development officer.  Needless to say, it's been a very busy 6 years!

International Relations