#ElliottProud: Rachel Dyl

#ElliottProud: Rachel Dyl

Rachel Dyl, M.A. International Development Studies, 2022, #ElliottProud
Rachel Dyl graduated Magna Cum Laude from Denison University in 2018 with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish. After graduation, she taught English as a foreign language in Chile and was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Peru. Upon returning to the states, she earned an M.A. in International Development Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs, where her research and coursework focused on education access and quality in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Rachel currently works at the Education Development Center (EDC) as an International Project Coordinator, where she assists with the management of education projects in Honduras, Panama, and South Africa. During grad school, Rachel interned with EDC, the Professional Fellows Program at Legacy International, the LAC team at Freedom House, and the monitoring and evaluation team in the Bureau for LAC at USAID. In September, Rachel will travel to Ecuador to teach English and research intercultural bilingual education as a Fulbright scholar.

Describe your current position and what made you interested in applying?

I currently work as an International Project Coordinator at the Education Development Center (EDC). I began working at EDC as an intern during my first semester of grad school where I helped with business development for the English for Latin America program. Following the internship, I worked as a consultant on different projects for EDC, and eventually applied to become an International Project Coordinator. I applied due to my previous experience at EDC and interest in working on development projects in the Latin America and Caribbean region, specifically related to education.

What do you wish other people knew about your organization?

EDC is an implementing organization that has worked all over the world to improve access to education, health, and other essential social services. Working at EDC, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn with colleagues from Honduras, Panama, South Africa, Norway, Zambia, Peru, and Guatemala. I appreciate the opportunity to work with talented development practitioners around the world to come up with creative solutions to challenges in education access and quality.

What Elliott School courses would you recommend for students interested in your field and why?

For students interested in the intersection of development and education, I highly recommend taking “Policies and Programs in International Education” with Dr. Jim Williams. It is an excellent opportunity to not only think more deeply about challenges facing education systems, but about the policies, infrastructure, environments, and capacity needed to address these challenges. I also really enjoyed NGO Management and International Development with Dr. Derick Brinkerhoff. He is an expert in the field and probed me to think more about how various stakeholders interact in the development space, how to address management problems within an organization, and how NGOs can prioritize accountability, sustainability, and effectiveness in their work.

What was your experience with the job search post-graduation? Can you provide any wisdom for students starting their job search?

I was already working in a part-time capacity at EDC, and some of my internal contacts suggested I apply for a fulltime position when it became available. My advice would be to keep in touch with your networks, be vocal about your career and professional development interests, and to be patient in the search!

What was the most rewarding aspect of your time at the Elliott School?

The most rewarding aspect of my time at the Elliott School was the completion of the International Development Studies Capstone. The program set us up to succeed, and I was able to work with an extremely talented group of colleagues and our client, Save the Children. Our consultancy involved evaluating the context, successes, lessons learned, and areas for scalability/replicability of education programs in Colombia and Peru. I was able to use my language skills, delve deeper into my technical interest in the field of monitoring, evaluation and learning, and learn more about my region of focus. It was extremely rewarding to present our findings to a wider audience of regional Save the Children staff and complete public-facing reports that will inform future education programming in the region.

What book should be required reading for all Elliott School grad students and why?

I think that the book Educated by Tara Westover would be a good read for Elliott School Grad students. It made me really appreciate my education and the chance to learn about other people, cultures and systems.

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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.