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For some students, Korbel provides an education and a job opportunity

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Korbel Communications

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Every year, the incoming class of Korbel School graduate students dutifully sign into the University’s jobs and career platform and meticulously pour over job listings in hopes of finding the perfect fit for their skills. Some students favor research positions under professors aligned with their interests, others choose to hone their administrative skills with jobs at the career office, and a further segment of students choose to improve skills particular to a Center or Initiative. Though many students choose to work off campus, over 130 Korbel School students took advantage of the plethora of Korbel jobs in the 2021-22 year.

Mira Morton Luna, associate director of student career development, oversees all job opportunities that are eventually posted for students to peruse. As part of her job, she emphasizes that students should strategically choose what jobs to apply for. At orientation, Morton Luna implores students to “think about what steps they need and what skills they hope to acquire.” Morton Luna sees the job search as “a proactive process of owning one’s education and skills that they already have” that takes a “holistic view of a student’s year and a half to two years that culminates in a student having important experiences” for the job market. Students working at the Office of Careers and Professional Development are provided opportunities to attend classes and trainings to further develop their skills. The Career Development Office emphasizes the student experience throughout their employment, as Morton Luna said, “usually after the first quarter we have a check in with the students asking about what special projects and special skills they want to work on.”  

The Pardee Center for International Futures, one of the largest employees of Korbel students, creates a similar work environment with its research aide positions. Collin Meisel, the senior research associate and Diplometrics program lead, talked about how Pardee prioritizes student needs throughout their employment. “[Pardee] often matches students with a project based off a combination of interest and need” Meisel said. When hiring for the Diplometrics program, Meisel said, “We interviewed people and let them know all of the projects that needed research aides and asked [the interviewees] what projects interested them.” Students working for Pardee garner valuable skills in data collection and analysis, Meisel attests, as “students gain an understanding of data management and data quality…as well as some subject matter expertise depending on the project.” Finally, Pardee employees gain valuable face-to-face interactions working with their clients. Pardee’s clients include the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), USAID, among others, and students’ work involves frequent collaboration, providing invaluable networking opportunities.

For three Korbel students Emily Slusser, Audrey Pirzadeh and Thomas Hadeed, working at Pardee has been immensely beneficial both at Korbel and for their post-graduation plans. Slusser, a first year Global Environmental Sustainability master’s student, arrived at Korbel after working in the private sector for a few years.


She now works as an assistant project manager on Pardee’s UNDP Guinea-Bissau project and USAID food security projects, as well as a vetter for the Diplometrics program. Slusser intended to work at Pardee when she enrolled and appreciates that she “learns so much about global events at Pardee that puts classroom theory into the context of real-world issues.” Slusser also praised the collegial environment at Pardee, saying “it is really nice to work at a place that understands what your demands are academically and can be empathetic to them”.

Pirzadeh, a second year International Development master’s student, works at Pardee as a project lead for the data team, a research aide on the resource team, and a lead on the second phase of the food security team.


Mirroring Slusser’s sentiments, Pirzadeh knew she would work at Pardee from the start after being recruited by Pardee during the application process to Korbel.  Even though Pirzadeh started with little data analytics experience, she now feels confident interacting with modeling data. “[The model] is really a policy analysis tool...that helps the client see how their impact will look.” Pirzadeh appreciates her ability to talk with clients, saying “this position gives me the chance to actually talk to clients, be in client meetings, so I now know people in positions at UNDP and USAID.”

Hadeed, a second-year master’s student in the Global Economics Affair program, works at Pardee as the project lead for the Core Diplometrics program, a member of the Data Visualization and Analysis team, and previously as a member of the Country Organization and Leader Travel project.


According to Hadeed, he “came across the job posting pretty serendipitously” when looking for research aide positions at Korbel. While Hadeed arrived at Korbel with previous data analytics skills, he sought work that would further develop his skills and Pardee presented an opportunity to do so. “Within the Center you are really able to gravitate towards whatever research you want to pursue” Hadeed said. Meisel, knowing Hadeed’s interest in working more with data, reached out when a position opened on the data visualization team.

Through work-study and other funding sources, Korbel employs over 130 students. The breadth of work covers data analytics, conflict resolution, research on gender ministries, and so much more. Korbel provides ample opportunities for students to either gain new skills or hone pre-existing ones. Every admitted Korbel student is qualified for any position at Korbel, all it takes is hitting submit for the job application.


This article was written by Korbel School MA student Colin Babikian.