#WeAreElliott: Jasmine Coombs

#WeAreElliott: Jasmine Coombs

Jasmine Coombs smiles, wearing a back shirt holding a small gray and white dog., Jasmine Coombs, M.A. in International Development Studies, 2023, #WeAreElliott

Jasmine Coombs received her bachelors in Global Studies from the University of Toledo. She is currently a second-year Masters candidate in International Development Studies. Before pursuing her masters, Jasmine served in the Peace Corps in Peru as a Youth Development volunteer which inspired her to pursue a concentration in gender and education. She is currently interning at Ashoka Latin America working with the AYNI: Communities of Local Innovators Initiative. Throughout the seven month program, she is accompanying 10 teams of entrepreneurs and municipal leaders from Latin America and Africa through a step-by-step collaborative innovation process. She is hoping to make it back to Latin American during her Global Capstone process this spring. She loves traveling and meeting new people but dogs are her true loves in life!

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?

When I joined the Peace Corps, I knew that afterwords I wanted to go to graduate school. When we got evacuated due to the pandemic, I decided to stay with that plan. I knew I wanted to be in the D.C. area because of all of the opportunities available and George Washington University really won me over with the option of skills courses because learning concrete, applicable skills was important to me in a graduate degree.

Where do you currently work, intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?

I am currently an intern for Ashoka’s Latin American team. I am working closely with a facilitator to help 10 teams through a seven month process of creating change in their communities. Working with Ashoka has been a wonderful opportunity that has allowed me to see how an international development organization can be a proponent of localization and really making sure the development work comes from the communities themselves. In the future, I hope to work with communities at the grassroots level, mostly likely with an NGO, but this experience has shown that it is possible for larger INGOs to work at that level as well.

What tools and strategies have proved most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School?

I would say definitely take advantage of all of the opportunities that you come across. I’ve gotten to know my classmates by being on the Organization for International Development (OID) board as well as going to events or activities with them. I had the privilege of taking an unpaid internship because the Elliott School offers multiple scholarships to help with the financial burden, including the International Internship Grant and the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF). Anything you’re interested in, I bet there is something available at the Elliott School to get involved in.

What advice do you have for students for staying motivated at work or in class?

My biggest piece of advice is to create a balance between work, class/class work, and life. This is easier said than done sometimes but burn out is real, even if you love what you’re doing. So I would say make sure you make time for things you enjoy doing outside of work and school. Go for a bike ride, visit a Smithsonian. There is so much to explore around D.C., take advantage of it! But do so without guilt. We all have to do lists in the back of our minds but allow yourself to enjoy the experience.

What has been your most memorable experience while studying at the Elliott School?

My most memorable experience while at the Elliott School has been my internship. While my internship is virtual, I have met and worked with people from around the world. One of the teams I work with from Africa has really taken the time to get to know the facilitator I work with and myself. We joke around and have made it a point to share cultural aspects in order to understand each other better. I look forward to our meetings every week! From the very beginning, the Graduate Student Services Office has been amazing and has encouraged me to apply for several grants, without which I would not have been able to take the internship. I have also been able to sit on a panel to talk to other students about my experience and encourage them to intern while at Elliott.

If you could have a parade on any day for any occasion, what would your parade be for?

It would be for National Dog Day (August 26th!), because who wouldn’t want to go to a parade of dogs?! That would be my dream come true!

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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students 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.