Pardee School Young Alumni Feature: Kirstin Buchanan

The Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University is proud to feature the various members of our graduate student body and alumni community as they work to advance human progress and become the global leaders of the future. Through one of our six MA programs with eight functional specializations, two dual-degree programs, one regional degree, and four graduate certificates, these individuals have explored a broad-based curriculum that breaks down disciplinary boundaries and enables them to build a holistic understanding of global affairs. 

For this series of graduate and young alumni features, the Pardee School spoke with various members of our community regarding their professional experience, how the Pardee School helped them reach their career goals, and what advice they have for current students. If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for a Pardee School graduate feature, contact Graduate Student Services.

For this young alumni feature, we spoke with Kirstin Buchanan (Pardee MAIA ’20).

Degree & Specialization: MA in International Affairs, Specializing in Global Economic Affairs
Graduate Certificate: Latin American Studies | BA in International Relations, Concentrating in Environment and Development and Latin America
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
Work Experience: Office Assistant at the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Program Manager for the “Empowerment League” through the Community Service Center, where I coordinated volunteer opportunities for students with over 10 local social justice organizations. Graduate Research Assistant, where I conducted research on community-led and rural development strategies in the Latin America/Caribbean context. Interned at the International Institute of New England as an Employment Services Intern, working with refugee and immigrant communities to help facilitate their smooth transition into the U.S. society.

What is your current job and what led you to this position? What do you like about it?

“Today, I work as Special Assistant to the CEO at the Luminos Fund. There, I provide wide-ranging executive, fundraising, and event-planning support and work closely with the CEO and Director of Communications. I also provide wide-ranging support as a member of the Communications team, particularly with regards to social media planning, management, and content creation. What I enjoy most about this position is its versatility. It is an incredible opportunity to gain valuable experience in multiple aspects of non-profit management and operations…The Luminos fund works to ensure that no child is ever denied an education due to poverty, discrimination or crisis. I’ve always had a passion and interest for global development and poverty reduction/alleviation. My experience growing up in a developing country has also shaped my appreciation of education as a means of social mobility and helping vulnerable and marginalized communities to overcome the constraints of poverty.”

How has Pardee helped in shaping or attaining your professional goals? And/or, what advice would you give current students at Pardee to succeed?

“I have always been passionate about global development and believe that the best strategies for breaking poverty cycles come from harnessing the knowledge, resources, and power within marginalized and vulnerable communities. Pardee helped shape these interests, by providing a good balance between theory and practice…The amazing professors that I was able to foster relationships with helped connect me with opportunities that allowed me to further hone and develop my career interests. Furthermore, my experience as a Graduate Assistant for a Pardee professor was critical to shaping my interests and allowing me to better understand the types of development institutions and models I would like to advance, and how I would leverage my academic background to create meaningful change in the world. My advice to current students would be to take advantage of the resources that are made readily available– connect with professors and pursue your research interests as much as possible!”