Brent Maxwell – 2004 Political Science, 2007 Master of International Affairs and Administration
My story with Missouri State starts when it was Southwest Missouri State College. My parents went to school there, both majoring in Education. I came to Missouri State intending on following in their footsteps and was focusing on History Education, until I took PLS 101 with Dr. Ken Rutherford.
I changed my major from History to Political Science, and the rest is history. I ended up continuing my education with a Master’s in International Affairs (now MGS) from Missouri State University, and am now working in DC for the US Agency for International Development. Missouri State provided me with all of the things I needed to get here.
While I was in the MIAA program at Missouri State, I was able to get an internship in Washington, DC with Survivor Corps, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of war and conflict, which was founded by Dr. Rutherford. As a result of that internship, I was offered a job in monitoring and evaluation at the organization two months before I finished my graduate program.
I was able to combine my degree in International Affairs and Administration with my own background in technology and software development to help develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to help the organization track the progress of the individuals that we worked with.
It was a wonderful experience, allowing me to travel the world and meet the people I was helping. Three of my colleagues and I were able to use the information that we gathered to publish an article in James Madison University’s Journal of Mine Action (now The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction) titled “Peer Support and Recovery from Limb Loss in Post-conflict Settings.” That organization was definitely the highlight of my career.
Unfortunately, Survivor Corps had to close its doors during the financial crisis, and I leaned heavily on my software development background for a while.
In December 2018, I decided I wanted to get back to working in the field of international development, and within two months I started on a USAID contract to develop and deploy a new monitoring and evaluation system to track the agency’s activities overseas.