A Summer Review: Projects, work placements, and achievements from Heller students

August 21, 2023

Heller Social Impact MBA students present their Team Consulting Project.
Heller Social Impact MBA students present their Team Consulting Project.

The summer months have been rich with activity across all the Heller school programs. Below is a roundup of some of the projects, work placements, and academic achievements of students from our programs. This is just a very small sample of the work done over the summer.

Social Impact MBA

The Social Impact MBA class has been working on their Team Consulting Projects, featuring partnerships with organizations from East Timor to New Bedford, Mass. Perhaps reflecting the reality of the employment world at the moment, two projects focused on Human Resource issues, with others working on diversifying funding for a new social enterprise, and utilizing the knowledge gained in their operations management class to provide a structure for a new community housing program.

The projects are:

  • Client Name - Care International
    • Project Title - Enhancing the financial viability of a community based social enterprise based in Timor Leste
  • Client Name- Home Group
    • Project Title - Building a blueprint with HOME group: Chartering a housing consortium in New Bedford
  • Client Name - Community Development Institute
    • Project Title - Re-envisioning total compensation in a values-based, virtual organization 
  • Client Name - Cooperative Fund of the Northeast
    • Project Title - From insights to action: Aligning organizational values with operational structures for an evolving community loan fund

Master of Public Policy

During the summer between the first and second year, students put their skills to work through a fully-funded internship that increases policy experience and allows ways to explore a range of career options within the social policy space.

  • A project with the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Education, Workforce, and Income Security team on a study examining the accessibility of child care for parents and children with disabilities by conducting interviews with child care experts and providers, reviewing federal agency webpages and guidance documents, and coordinating a literature search with a librarian to examine research on the intersection of child care and disability.
  • A Senate Fellowship at the Massachusetts State House including work on Bill S.1136, An Act relative to domestic violence reports and confidentiality; increasing opportunities for behavioral health workforce development; and developing recommendations for Ghost Gun bills in committee.
  • Work as a policy intern for NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, reviewing language of pending weight discrimination laws for several states, as well as assessing the national socio-political climate regarding fat issues to help strategize for future legislation.
  • Work at MassINC researching housing challenges within the City of New Bedford and highlighting the importance of building more housing for every income bracket in the city.
  • Work at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center focusing on economic security for all by writing a report on the Baby Bonds legislation which will be published by the end of this month. 
  • Work at the Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts as a Policy Intern focusing on driving their policy work forward, which included discussing priority bills with clients, meeting with legislators and their staff, drafting testimony, and creating social media education materials.
  • Work as a Rappaport Fellow at the Boston Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development working on the Tuition Free Community College Plan (TFCC). The fellow worked closely with six community college staff to understand the challenges they face as they work with undocumented students and explore opportunities for increased support, which led to the creation of a variety of resources for this student group, and a report outlining challenges and providing recommendations for institutional incremental change.
  • Intern work at MassDOT in the Rail and Transit Division working with municipalities and nonprofits to make the transition to electric vehicles, and researching fare-free initiatives across the globe to inform regional transportation authorities as they seek to make public transportation more equitable and reduce emissions in the Commonwealth.

MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence

Students from the MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence program took part in a number of projects both in the U.S. and around the world aimed at helping to guide individuals, families, communities, and nations toward common ground that promotes peace.

  • A practicum at Citizens for Juvenile Justice, mapping how racial disparities in school discipline affect the juvenile justice system.
  • A practicum at the United States Institute of Peace focusing on social cohesion and ethnic disparities in Myanmar.
  • Working with the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Costa Rica, focusing on regional implementation of SDG goals.
  • Working with the Burmese American Community Institute on policy issues that impact the Burmese diaspora.
  • A practicum with Genocide Watch, developing content for a podcast that examines topics on genocide and mass atrocity, as well as monitoring violence indicators in several countries. 
  • Two summer fellowships at the Harvard Program on Negotiation were awarded. One focused on innovative uses of technology in negotiation and mediation, including the potential effectiveness of a video game in reducing bullying in schools. The second is based around leveraging experience as a career civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service to focus on conflict resolution as an essential leadership skill to build diverse and effective teams for public service delivery.
  • An award of both a Fulbright and a Boren Fellowship, to study the relationship between Capoeira, feminism, and restorative justice in Salvador, Brazil, as well as studying Portuguese.
  • Completing a Boren Fellowship in Jordan, focusing on research surrounding migration, as well as studying Arabic. 
  • Completing a Boren Fellowship focusing on Turkish in Azerbaijan.

MA in Sustainable International Development

Practicum and project positions for students in the MA in Sustainable International Development program often include conducting research, formulating policies, managing projects, and conducting fundraising or advocacy campaigns, among many other assignments.

  • Completing a practicum as a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) intern at World Learning, working closely with MERL and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) units.
  • Completing a practicum as a Harm Reduction Specialist at Health Imperatives, located in New Bedford, Mass. Featuring work building the Harm Reduction/Outreach program within the organization from the bottom up, preparing the organization to provide services to individuals who are experiencing homelessness and/or substance use issues.
  • Completing a practicum with the Women Advancement Organization (WAO), working as a Gender and Development Programs Coordinator. The project involves working closely with the WAO program team in developing and reviewing project proposals, budgets, and work plans as well as reviewing quarterly project reports.
  • Serving as a Vocational Training Partnership Intern with Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) in Boston. The project provides support for the organization’s Refugee Department’s Vocational Training Partnership team, including leading discussions and activities for courses on customer service, bank careers, and food security.
  • A remote practicum with the United Nations Foundation from Los Angeles, working on the Strategic Planning & Implementation team as a Graduate Intern.
  • A practicum as an Impact Measurement and Analysis Intern with CARE US. Work encompasses data analysis and visualization, as well as making information about humanitarian projects’ impact and reach available in English, Spanish, and French for some of the other countries’ offices.
  • A practicum as a Programme Consultant with the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) in Pakistan. Work has included supervising the damage assessments carried out in flood-affected districts of Balochistan and developing the final report for NRSP management.
  • A remote practicum with CARE US, working on developing humanitarian monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL) frameworks, tools, and training materials to be used at the project, country, and global levels.
  • A practicum as a Coro Fellow in the public affairs program at the Coro Leadership Center in New York City. Also participating in six different placements over the span of nine months in the following industries: government, political campaigns, labor union, for-profit, nonprofit/philanthropy.
  • Working as a Communications Intern at the SEGA Girls’ Secondary School in Morogoro, Tanzania, supporting the school’s public relations and communications efforts.
  • A practicum with Boost Mobile in Worcester, Mass., working with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which is a government program designed to ensure that low-income households can access the internet.
  • A remote practicum as a Program Officer with Initiative for Pastoralists Communication, an NGO working with indigenous communities in Jinka, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Providing training for pastoralist communities on conflict transformation and planning, managing, and evaluating various projects aimed at achieving sustainable peace among the different communities.
  • An internship supporting the research needs of the team and leading on Oxfam America’s ethical screening process, which vets potential corporate engagements for risks that could undermine Oxfam’s values or ability to maintain independence in its advocacy work.
  • A practicum as a Research Assistant with the NGO Everyday Peacebuilding Indicators (EPI) on the Project Mostar: Spaces to Activate and Rejuvenate (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
  • Working as the Communications and Strategic Development Manager for Roots of Development, which partners with local community-based organizations that facilitate community-led development to build internal organizational capacities.
  • A remote practicum with Save the Children US as a Miles-Mulcahy Gender Equality Fellow. Being a fellow involves working on two key projects: one is completing a literature review for a USAID-funded project called “Women overcoming the world’s climate crisis with STEM,” while the other assignment is developing a Gender Equality Self-Assessment (GESA) evidence brief and tip sheet/lessons learned brief.