Amanda Mullikin ‘10
Field Team Leader
Church World Service/RSC, Nairobi, Kenya
Three weeks after graduation, I was expected to report for work with Church World Service in Nairobi. This NGO's primary mission is refugee assistance and resettlement – they currently handle all processing for the State Department's refugee admission program in Africa.
Refugees have been my focus and my passion. Assisting them will now be my profession. My new position requires traveling across sub-Saharan Africa to engage officials dealing with forced migration and to work directly with displaced individuals. A key responsibility is interviewing refugees in camps and UNHCR compounds to prepare their case files for resettlement determination. This position offers an exceptional vantage point to understand the logistics and problems of refugees on the entire continent.
The Patterson School refined my previous work experiences and gave me a solid understanding of international development and humanitarian work. It offered a great balance of practical application and academic training. I had the flexibility to take courses in other disciplines (anthropology, agricultural economics) and to construct a program (including a minor in refugee studies) perfectly suited to my career goals. Before Patterson, I worked under VISTA with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. I maintained this tie throughout my masters program, putting my academic knowledge to practical use helping refugees. I was also able to put my practical work to academic use, conducting a research project among the Iraqi, Bhutanese, and DR Congolese populations in Lexington.
My husband (also a Patterson School grad) and I feel confident and prepared for this next stage in our lives. Having previously lived in Turkey and Bangladesh, we are excited about exploring a new region with rich and distinctly different cultures. I am truly heartened by the human side of my new work, and eager to learn more about the people and their struggles.
This is a great first step in what I hope will be a life career in refugee work. I know that I will gain invaluable knowledge of forced migration issues as a caseworker and circuit rider for CWS in Africa. What's most important, however, is not the career experience; it is being able to help people in need. That is what makes me so excited about the Patterson School, my new job, and my future.”