What do students learn about interpersonal communication and relationship from their Development Advisory Team project?
Dan Olivieri's (student in 2016 class) conversation with his mentor, Anna Kottkamp, speaks to the importance of relationship in achieving long-term success.
Anna was able to connect the class and her minor in international development to her current job with her long-term goal. Anna has used her knowledge of design thinking and international development even in planning her career path, and it was inspiring to hear about her struggles and successes.
Anna said the most important element that she took from the class was the challenges and rewards of effective communication. The communication between Anna and her peers, teacher, Development Advisory Team, and affiliate organization in Bolivia needed to be clear, concise, and effective. If any breakdown of communication occurred in any of the mentioned sectors, the value of her DAT project would be devalued.
Anna believed that the most important element for the success of her Development Advisory Team project was her relationship with her fellow DAT team members. While she acknowledged that it was sometimes difficult and intimidating with the wealth of experience and diversity of majors in the class, she kept going back to the DAT team's desire to accomplish one, unifying goal that allowed them to effectively work across disciplines. Anna stressed the importance of getting to know your classmates since they were incredible friends and resources around campus, and I agree. The people in our class seem to not only be the best of the best on campus, but have such a high degree of self-efficacy. That is, they believe that they can impact their surroundings through design thinking, partnerships, and international development, and she does not see anyone stopping any of them.
Mentor: Anna Kottkamp (Spring 2014)
I graduated this past May with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in International Development Studies. Currently, I am serving with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in rural Oregon. I partner with an environmental education organization that is committed to place-based education and giving kids opportunities for meaningful experiences outdoors.