Thomas Arminio

MPS in Global Development, 2021-22
  • Hometown: Union, New Jersey
  • Colleges attended and degree earned: Seton Hall University: BA in English
What are the big challenges you want to tackle in the world?

I’d like to contribute to a world that actively cultivates the connection between soil and human health and, consequently, fosters a regenerative environment that hosts a nourished polity.

What were you doing before the MPS program?

I have been living and working with Tanzania’s smallholder farmer population for the past six years. Most recently, I worked as a Program Manager for One Acre Fund, an asset-based financing and agriculture training organization that improves food security and household income for farmers. As the manager of a team of 400+ field-based staff, I was responsible for the implementation of all client-facing activities, including the distribution of agricultural inputs to ~60,000 smallholder farmers.

What does global development mean to you?

Global Development is the coordinated effort to sustainably and permanently improve the standard of living for all people across all continents. Though human development indicators have improved over the past several decades in aggregate, these quality of life improvements have not been equally distributed across the globe. Global Development seeks to address this discrepancy through initiatives and interventions in the sectors of agriculture, health, sanitation, economics, education, and government.

On a more personal level, I believe well-practiced global development initiatives can help mitigate the most grievous climate outcomes without conforming to a paternalistic, dominator model.

What has been the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far?

Some of my fondest professional experiences have been visits to smallholder farmers in their fields across Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the United States. I’ve always loved to ‘go to gemba’ -- as they say in performance management -- in order to see how impact is delivered on the ground.

How do you envision the MPS program contributing to your career?

I’ve taken quite the circuitous route to development work and, therefore, expect the MPS program to fill gaps in my formal understanding of the field and, simultaneously, reinforce what I’ve learned experientially. I’d like to build on my interests in data analysis, statistics, economics, and policy in order to become a more dynamic and effective practitioner.

Tell us a fun fact about you.

I am a total spreadhead [spreadsheet obsessive] and my favorite gerund is spreadsheeting.

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