Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Student Spotlight: Cassie Taylor '18

Hometown: Sulphur, LA

Concentration: MPA Program

Tell us about your personal and professional experience in international development and teaching prior to the MPA program.

I taught in Myanmar for a semester and have travelled a good amount since for personal or service type trips. In Myanmar, I was teaching second and sixth graders at a school. It was the first time I had lived abroad, throughout which I witnessed the need. I've similarly witnessed need at home, where I have done a lot of work in local nonprofits that are community driven. One is called S3C (Sulphur Christian Community Coalition), and they do community development in my hometown. We do a lot of stuff with the kids but we also offer GED classes; you name it and they do it. Anything from help with housing to GED. So I got the feel of how nonprofits work, and I want to apply that overseas.

Why did you decide to pursue an MPA at Brown?

Both here and abroad I have seen a lot of nonprofits and community organizations who are trying but just aren't doing it as effectively and efficiently as they could be. I want to know how to fix this, which is why I'm pursuing an MPA at Brown. A lot of people do good because it makes them feel good, but they are not actually making a difference. At SC3, for example, people would want to come at Christmas and give presents to kids because it makes them feel good, but it leaves out the parents. It doesn’t empower them. It’s the idea of teaching a man to fish rather than giving him some fish. I want to focus on the former. This empowerment model, rather than a hand-out model, is what I want to do more with. I want to learn how to do non-profit management with this in mind.

-Interview by Amalia Perez '18