Atu Darko, IBEI alumni 2007-2008
Name and Last Name: Atu Darko
Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations
Current working company, position and city: Associate Director for Communications, Department of International Programs at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
1. Why did you choose IBEI Master's programmes?
I chose the IBEI Master’s in International Relations as a natural progression from my undergraduate studies in Public Policy and subsequent work experience in healthcare research. IBEI offers an attractive variety of courses that allowed me to carve a unique path that aligned with my professional goals and interests.
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
As a student at IBEI, I enjoyed the opportunity to work together with culturally and linguistically diverse colleagues. I learned a great deal about global affairs from a broad array of perspectives through collaborative coursework with real-world, practical applications. Though assignments could be challenging at times, the professors and administrative staff were supportive and dedicated to helping all students succeed.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI
After graduating from IBEI, I worked with the University of North Carolina Center Global Initiatives to create ‘culture kits’ for K-12 classrooms across the US and became a regular contributor to Words in the Bucket, a digital international development publication. In 2016 I joined FHI 360 as a Research Assistant where I support women’s reproductive health research.
4. What is your professional experience (your current position, your main functions)?
In my current position as a Research Assistant, I support two clinical studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) focused on improved screening, diagnosis, treatment, control and prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). My main functions include: reviewing and revising study-related documents (e.g., protocols, procedural manuals, etc.); planning training sessions and creating materials for sites that facilitate process implementation and evaluation; and communicating with internal and external team members. As the Co-Chair of FHI 360’s Young Professionals group, I lead the organization and execution of community service initiatives.
5. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
The intangible knowledge I gained from the Master’s program has been equally if not more valuable than the technical skills. Above all, the program prepared me to be open and adaptable in a diverse, international environment. As a result, I have been able to successfully merge my professional experience in pharmaceuticals and academic background in research and policy at a dynamic, globally conscious organization.
6. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
More or less. I do see myself eventually going back to work at an International Organization as
before, but working at a world-renowned university also has its perks.
7. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path?
/ Some advice to future IBEI students?
Do not be afraid to do internships. They are the best way to understand an organization and make important contacts who can help get your foot in the door.
8. What do you miss most about the IBEI?
What I miss most about IBEI is the opportunity to speak, read, write and breathe Spanish all day and night.