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People > student Profies > sunaree marshall

Q. Why did you come to DUSP?

Marshall: Between the built environment focus of my undergraduate degree and my Peace Corps experience, I knew I wanted a program that offered both a strong urban planning and international development focus. DUSP is fantastic in both of those areas. Before making my decision, I spoke on the phone with an IDG professor. When I asked him about the department's views on "top-down versus bottom-up" planning, he pointed out that a better way to think about it was to look at a given situation carefully, and apply what methods or mix of methods fits the context. I appreciated, and continue to appreciate, the IDG emphasis on contextually-specific analysis.

Q. Did you have any experience in the field of development that prepared you for what you are doing here?

Marshall: I spent three years in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia as a Community Youth Development Volunteer with the US Peace Corps. During that time, I worked with at-risk youth -- school dropouts and homeless youth, teaching Life Skills at an alternative school and working with the staff at Save the Children to improve their social work skills. In my third year, I also worked with the Peace Corps office as a "Volunteer Leader," training and supporting new volunteers in cross-cultural issues and community project development.

Q. What has surprised you most about the program?

Marshall:The wide variety of experiences of the students here. I took a Public Finance course last semester that had mostly theory-based reading assignments, but Professor Hong encouraged students in the course to draw from their knowledge of the US, Mexico, India, Iran, Kenya and China to compare the applicability of policies in different contexts. Outside of class, eating lunch with classmates I can learn about housing policy in Washington D.C., youth mobilization in India, and the challenges of Iraqi refugees in Philadelphia.

Q. Have your ideas changed at all since arriving?

Marshall: I think those of us who worked "on the ground" before coming to DUSP, often do not think as much about the local and national government role in development. In Peace Corps, the focus was on small communities, NGOs and schools, but at DUSP I've learned to think at a larger scale and about a wider variety of actors and institutions. I think the Introduction to International Development course with Professor Diane Davis, as well as my teaching assistantship with Professor Alice Amsden really helped me in this respect.

Q. What are your plans for the summer?

Marshall: This summer I am spending the first half back in Ulaanbaatar, working with a Mongolian NGO, the Urban Development Resource Center, evaluating their savings groups for "ger" district upgrading program. The second half I will be working with the City of Lowell, MA in their Community Development Department.