Andrea Durmiaki

MPS '22, Global Development
  • Hometown: Forest City, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Colleges attended and degree earned: Marywood University: Bachelor of Business Administration
What are the big challenges you want to tackle in the world?

Having worked in global education for a decade, I have recognized several financial challenges and inequities that hinder a student's ability to have a global experience — an experience where they could have provided meaningful impact as well as gain a wealth of knowledge. I want to provide equitable opportunities and fair access to experiential learning/global education opportunities for students with an interest in taking their academics and skills abroad.

What were you doing before the MPS program?

Before (and during!) the MPS program, I work two roles within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University: In the Office of Academic Programs, I work as Program Support for the CALS Global Fellows Program which is a competitive, three-component undergraduate global internship program. I co-teach and assist in coordinating many aspects of the program annually. I am headed into my fourth(!) year and fifth cohort with the CALS Global Fellows Program. If you haven't heard of it, you should look it up! My second role is within the Department of Global Development, where I work as Administrative Assistant for the Rural Schools Program/Rural Schools Association of New York State which is a membership organization focused on the concerns and needs of rural and small school districts across New York State.

What does global development mean to you?

To me, "Global Development" brings a few other words to mind:

  • Connection: connecting our interests, skills, experiences, challenges, and concerns with our peers globally in order to curate compassion, understanding, and opportunity
  • Future: focusing on current environmental, socioeconomic, and political challenges/opportunities in order to reach like-minded goals for a healthier and more sustainable future
  • Collaboration: Working with others across many cultures, geographical locations, and ideas in an equitable and open learning environment
What has been the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far?

It's hard to gather all of my collected experiences and choose one — I believe overall, the most rewarding is each time a student returns from abroad with a new perspective on the global, human experience. In my work, I often thrive on their stories and reflections from abroad - having returned with a perpetual curiosity to continue their travels and learn from their global peers.

How do you envision your MPS degree contributing to your career?

As I mentioned, I am committed to equitable opportunities for students interested in taking their studies and skills abroad. Beginning with my MPS in Global Development, I plan to charge forward with creating fair and affordable access to international education with an emphasis on providing experiential learning/abroad opportunities for First Generation, underrepresented minorities, and students with financial need. Through my studies and better understanding of Global Development, I aim to create funding sources and programming that benefit the lives of students as well as the communities in which they live and work abroad.

Tell us a fun fact about you.

I have a cat named Neil who was named after one of my all time favorites, Neil Young. I can also make a wicked Tahdig and Tortilla Espanola - both of which I consider achievements within a pretty high culinary skill level.

Connect with Andrea: 
  • amd449 [at] cornell.edu