Once a week until the end of Lent Term, our Media Student Ambassadors will profile a student or member of staff of the Department of International Development on the ID Blog. This week, the spotlight is on Krista Kartson of the MSc Development Management. Read more about her here.

Photo credit: Saddi Basnet

“I grew up with a lot of international influence – my grandparents were refugees from Ukraine who went to the U.S. after WWII and my dad is from Greece. I went to American University and earned a B.A. in International Studies because I was interested in pursuing an international career. After I graduated, I worked for a small international development consulting firm where I had the opportunity to learn the full spectrum of business development and consulting work. After two years, I found a new opportunity at DAI, one of the largest USAID consulting firms, working on a public health project in Africa and Southeast Asia. Ready to work in the field, I joined Peace Corps Response which is similar to the popular U.S. Peace Corps program, but for experienced professionals. I applied to a position in Kiev, Ukraine because of the professional opportunity but also for my familial ties. My one-year term unexpectedly ended after only three months because of the Euromaidan revolution which forced me to return back to the U.S. I began working for USAID/OFDA in its grants department and was part of the Ebola Response Management Team which was a central coordination hub for the U.S. Ebola response. After participating in such a fast-paced, life-saving effort, I was really interested in providing humanitarian assistance in the field and not just supporting from D.C. So, I applied for a position with an NGO and moved to northern Iraq where I lived for over three years. I originally went to Iraq to contribute to the humanitarian response but I believe the country is now at a critical juncture and new needs have emerged. As previously displaced populations return to their homes, we need to focus on economic stabilisation, rebuilding livelihoods, navigating the social and governance structures, etc. I decided it was time to pursue a higher degree that will provide me with the knowledge and tools necessary to positively contribute, in some way, to Iraq’s future. My plans are to return there after graduation – Insha’Allah.”

Krista Kartson, MSc Development Management 2018/19

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.