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MPA student cultivates passion for international economic development through D.C. internship

Alexis Eichelberger
December 18, 2018
Kendra Green

Kendra Green, Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Master of Public Administration candidate, spent summer 2018 in Washington, D.C., helping to develop resources for economic development professionals through her participation in the Jeffrey A. Finkle Ohio University Economic Development Internship with the International Economic Development Council.

Green, who will earn her MPA in spring 2019, worked alongside a senior International Economic Development Council researcher to create a research paper titled, “Future Ready: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Economy.” The paper gave information on industries changing with technology, infrastructure and workforce needs, and success stories that may interest and assist economic development professionals who are members of the Council.

“I was fortunate to learn more about economic development as a whole while working for the International Economic Development Council, which will be incredibly useful as I pursue a career in this area of work,” Green said. “Overall, there were many things I learned during my time with the Council that I plan to use moving forward.”

Green’s internship experience was supported by the Council’s gift of $25,000 to the Ohio University Foundation, which funds the 10-week internship for a Voinovich School student each year.

Senior researcher Gareth Potts, who worked most closely with Green during her internship, said she took full advantage of the opportunities the experience offered, adding value to the project beyond simple research and developing important professional contacts.

“She was very enthusiastic and great fun to work with,” Potts said. “I have worked with lots of interns over the years and can't think of anyone who has made more of an internship than Kendra did.”

Green said her initial involvement in economic development came about accidentally. After being accepted into the Voinovich School’s Master of Public Affairs program, she was offered an interview for and eventually the position of graduate assistant for the school’s economic development team.

“At the time, I did not know what economic development was or what kind of work economic developers did, but after two semesters on the economic development team, I really enjoyed the work,” Green said. “I liked that we were finding solutions to problems that affected several communities.”

With some encouragement from Voinovich School faculty, Green decided to apply for the International Economic Development Council internship. She saw it as a way to expand her knowledge and skills, as well as make connections in a new city.

Going forward, Green is confident that she will continue to use the skills she cultivated during her internship, such as interviewing, contacting experts and staying focused and on-task while working unsupervised.

“I was able to expand my research and writing skills during my internship, which will be useful as I finish my degree and throughout my career,” she said. “I hope to apply what I learned during my internship in many ways throughout the future.”