Grads Find Success at International Development Company
Efforts to connect our students to jobs in international affairs have had a wide impact across a range of companies and organizations. These efforts have been particularly fruitful at the international development company Chemonics, thanks in large part to the company’s Executive Vice President Eric Reading, himself an alum of the college.
The company recently marked its 41st anniversary, and a number of COSSPP alums were on hand to celebrate. Six graduates joined the Chemonics team in the spring and summer of 2016, bringing the total number of FSU grads at the company to 12.
“While we have a long way to catch up with the pipelines of American University (97), George Washington (84), and Georgetown (51), we have surpassed the University of Florida (8) and the ‘hometown’ Virginia Tech (11),” Reading noted. “My goal is to add at least eight more by next summer to exceed the London School of Economics (19).”
The College of Social Sciences and Public Policy—especially the international affairs and economics departments—continues to represent the bulk of the hiring (83%), with the colleges of Business, Education, and Criminology each contributing a graduate. Eight of the alumni are based in Washington, DC, and four overseas in Guatemala, Indonesia, and Afghanistan. Four former directors of the college’s World Affairs Program (WAP) are now employed at Chemonics: John Maksimik, Rachel Way, Jordan Raupp, and Reading.
Two of these employees met in an intermediate Mandarin language class while at FSU and developed a friendship they never guessed would lead to a great professional connection at Chemonics years later. Because the company is the implementing partner for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Raupp and Cristina Busbee ended up as colleagues supporting U.S. government programming in Afghanistan.
Busbee is now a security operations and administration manager for security contracts that oversee 42 international and 411 local staff in Afghanistan. She ensures security operational priorities are respected within the known parameters of any given location Chemonics operates in that country. In addition, she oversees security-related inventories (e.g., medical supplies, GPS trackers, body armor) at Chemonics project sites, offices, and residences to ensure safety and security compliance and the application of security best practices.
Raupp is the senior manager on the USAID-funded Regional Agricultural Development Program South and is contracting with local and international firms to conduct agricultural training on improved farming techniques to help citizens of Southern Afghanistan live healthier and more productive lives. The work also supports alternatives to poppy production. The $125 million program will train more than 100,000 farmers in Southern Afghanistan, and aims to increase their productivity by 20-35%, ultimately providing an alternative to insurgency and extremism.
The valuable education received in international affairs was definitely a driver for both of their career ambitions.
“I don’t think any class can quite prepare you for the challenges of working in an environment like Afghanistan, but having a solid foundation in international affairs allowed me to start the position with confidence,” Busbee said.
Raupp added, “Maybe it’s just because we’re both here at the same time, but I don’t think I’ve seen any other staff show the kind of school spirit both of us still have!”
The following FSU alums are currently employed at Chemonics:
• Jarryd Botha (BA ’09 Business) joined 2015
• Cristina Busbee (BA ’11 Int’l Affairs/Criminology, MA ’12 Int’l Affairs) joined 2014
• Daniel Davy (BA ’13 Econ and History) joined 2016
• Amanda Green (BA ’15 Int’l Affairs, current MA Int’l Affairs student) joined 2016
• Hameed Ahmed Haqparwar (MA ’15 Demography) joined 2012
• Daniel Luna (BA ’10 Economics) joined 2016
• John Maksimik (BA ’16 Econ/Int’l Affairs) joined 2016
• Abdul Rahman (PhD ’96 Education) joined 2012
• Jordan Raupp (BA ’11 Econ/Int’l Affairs, MA ’12 Applied Econ) joined 2011
• Eric Reading (BA ’92 Int’l Affairs, MA ’93 Int’l Affairs) joined 1994
• Brian Leo Treacy (BA ’73 Asian Studies) joined 2016
• Rachel Way (BA ’15, Int’l Affairs/Religion) joined 2016