#ElliottProud: Prachita Shetty

#ElliottProud: Prachita Shetty

Prachita Shetty, M.A. International Development Studies, 2016, #ElliottProud, GW Elliott
Prachita Shetty is Indian. She was born and brought up in Abu Dhabi and later moved to India to do her Bachelors in Engineering. Post engineering, she studied photography, worked with an advertising agency and later crossed paths with a crowd-funding organization that supported local NGOs. Her journey with the beneficiaries from the local NGOs through storytelling and fundraising, led her to pursue a Masters in International Development at the Elliott School. Currently, she works for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Palestine.

What is your current position? What have you learned since you began?

I currently work with the Norwegian Refugee Council as Grants and Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator in Palestine. Since the Elliott School, I worked in DC with an INGO that later placed me in Iraq. I went on to work in Afghanistan and Mozambique in similar capacities.

At the Elliott School, I was exposed to an interesting peer group, supportive teachers, and a global DC life. Even before my field experiences, through school, I went to Myanmar and Tanzania, for summer fellowship and capstone – it was these experiences that led my interest to field jobs. It gave me a useful insight on my adaptability, and a curiosity of living and working in different contexts as a lifestyle.

What professional organization, websites, or events would you recommend for students interested in your field, and why?

Many of my subscriptions still date back from the Elliott School – whether it is news or events. In my job now, I will often reference UNOCHA and respective cluster pages for factsheets, situational reports, and updates. Reliefweb is a good place for overall humanitarian updates and job searches. I am also a lot on ‘donor’ websites such as USAID, EU/ ECHO etc. to check on calls for proposals, thematic guidance, or events.

What was the most valuable thing you learned during your time at the Elliott School course?

Networking – I remember how uncomfortable it made me to ‘attempt’ at the Elliott School. It felt completely unnatural as an introvert. But we were encouraged and reminded that it would be an important part of our professional lives. I don’t think I entirely understood it then. Now, I do. It’s pretty much the essence of all humanitarian work – whether in finding the right person for the job, information sharing, and access during implementation or project design. It was a valuable lesson for me.

What part of your career do you find most challenging and how do you stay motivated?

I have many existential moments – Does a crisis ever end? What am I doing? Am I helping at all? It’s sometimes challenging to make sense of it all. But I’ve had the privilege of working with some great teams, meet inspiring co-workers, and see some unique places. I’ve learnt that I’m not alone in the way I feel. So, I pull myself in the present, surround myself with good people and focus on the happy bits.

What is your favorite memory/story from your time at the Elliott School?

That’s a hard one. From experiencing the rooftop view for the first time, making friends (still some of my closest), library hours (snoozes), discovering different food options, attending events – Arif Lohar and Meesha (fantastically random!), realizing my wardrobe has shifted from casual to business casual, snow days (a concept not familiar to a Mumbai-ite), to graduating. So many!

If you could safely travel anywhere in the world, where would you want to travel and why?

I am really keen to travel to São Tomé and Príncipe. For one, I know no one from there. I also know no one who has traveled to there. It’s one of the few Portuguese speaking countries. It’s a mystery and adventure I am excited to go on.

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The #ElliottProud profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights graduate program alumni to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.