Outreach Director For Russian And Eurasian Studies
Job Title: Outreach Director
Type of Company: I work at a research center at Harvard that is devoted to teaching about and studying Russia and Eurasia. It is an umbrella organization that brings together scholars and students from a number of different departments throughout the university around a shared regional interest (i.e., Russia).
Education: MA in International Education Policy, Harvard University BA in Social History, Carnegie Mellon University
Previous Experience: My first job out of college was as an administrator at a non-profit/NGO in Washington, DC that administered international exchange programs and fellowships for students and scholars from the Former Soviet Union.
Job Tasks: My job is funded by a federal grant from the US Department of Education. Consequently, my job responsibilities include managing the grant--managing the budget, writing reports regarding our activities, and every four years writing the proposal for the grant. I also manage the communications between all of the departments that receive money from the grant.
In addition, I am responsible for organizing outreach events for K-12 teachers and students in the greater Boston area. These events include teacher training workshops, in-class lectures, lecture series, etc.--all regarding Russia and Eurasia. Our goal is to help internationalize K-12 curriculum, both by talking directly to students and by educating teachers about parts of the world they may know little about.For example, we recently held a two-day teacher workshop on Hitler/Stalin comparisons.
We recruit speakers--most often college professors from Harvard or other local universities--to present on specific topics. We also try and include sessions in each workshop devoted to resources that can be easily modified and used in teachers' classrooms. This summer we are hosting a 5-day workshop for teachers about oil and how it impacts the world. We also maintain a small resource library of books and videos pertaining to our region which can be accessed for free by local educators and community members.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that it combines my interest in education and Russian studies. I also have a very flexible work environment, which is important as I have a young family. The worst part of the job is that there are some managerial issues within the workplace.
1. Make sure you have a good background in both regional studies AND education. Although I have a degree in education, it is in policy and not pedagogy and I think I could better serve local teachers if I had more formal teacher training.
2. You need to be able to be both creative and a good administrator to handle both parts of my job.
3. Seek out others who do similar work and see how you can best work together--collaboration is very important in outreach work.