Scott Webb: Putting the MIIS Toolbox to Work
“There is a profound feeling of dread that you feel when you see something so essential, barely out of your grasp, slipping away,” Scott Webb (MPA ’07) wrote in his blog about an almost-dried-up village well on a recent trip to the Horn of Africa to oversee emergency relief work for International Relief and Development (IRD).
As an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego in the early nineties Scott visited the Monterey Institute and was told that he could increase the likelihood of admission to MIIS by adding to his international experience, perhaps by joining the Peace Corps. “This was the spark,” he says, and adds that the three years he spent working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger from 1997-2001 turned out to be a “huge introduction to development work” and a life-changing experience.
Back from Niger, Scott worked as a recruiter for the Peace Corps’ San Francisco office, where he was responsible for several schools, among them the Monterey Institute. He decided to enroll in the three-week intensive Development Project Management Institute (DPMI) course for development professionals. His experience, and his connection with Professor Beryl Levinger, chair of the Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) program, inspired him to pursue a second advanced degree, “a degree that would fit me perfectly both personally and professionally.”
Scott has worked with IRD since graduating from MIIS, working with inspiring people on daunting projects in Iraq and a number of African countries. He is currently managing an emergency project in Ethiopia providing irrigation assistance for approximately three hundred farmers, as well as helping them to build resistance against future droughts. “The Monterey Institute approach is spot on for the way the world works now—information moves fast, things change quickly, opportunities present themselves, and we have to be ready to work hard, be focused and analytical, and constantly evaluate. I went to MIIS to get a toolbox, and that is what I left with.”