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Alex Smith Davis

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University of Denver

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Many students at the Korbel School begin their studies after extensive professional experience. The range of knowledge and perspectives they bring to their work and classroom discussions help enrich the content and provide context for themselves and their classmates. 

Alex Smith Davis (MA '18) joined us after spending the first portion of her career working in development.

“I found Korbel's required balance of skills and theory classes appealing as my goals for graduate school were to both ground this experience in relevant development theories and to further develop my M&E skills,” she said.

Davis was able to re-enter the development world with a better understanding of the theory—the “why”—behind the work she continues to do.  

“I left Korbel with a more well-rounded understanding of development theory...and its complex sociopolitical history,” she said. “Having this understanding of development's intricacies and past failures makes me ask much better questions in the day to day of my work.”

As a Sie Fellow, some of her favorite memories of his time at Korbel involve cups of coffee with other fellows, chatting about class content, and having the type of heady, wide-ranging conversations that happen with close friends late at night.

One aspect that drew Davis to Korbel was our instructors, who emphasize classroom engagement in addition to their own research, as opposed to the many institutions that rely more heavily on teaching assistants.

“Other schools I looked at had TAs teaching, mentoring and connecting with students instead of professors,” she said. “I wanted professors in my graduate program who enjoyed teaching as much as research. ”

Davis recommends everyone take advantage of the opportunity to explore and design their own unique, interdisciplinary pathway that suits their individual goals.

“Don't hesitate to explore classes outside of your initial interests,” she said. “Some of my favorite work was in close partnership with two business professors. Korbel enables you more flexibility than many programs. Embrace it! And explore Colorado too. Most of our sector operates in major cities, so take the incredible opportunity to get outside and enjoy the mountains, big sky, and more mellow culture.”