The Hamilton-IOS ripple effect
by Maureen A. Nolan
Katie McGuire ’11 dropped a pebble in a pond, and some three years later, the ripples are still spreading, reaching 10 Hamiltonians and counting.
McGuire is a senior proposal manager at IOS Partners, an international development consulting firm. The world politics major had a post-graduation job with IOS in her pocket the fall of her senior year — and she worked for it. McGuire heard about the company while studying in Madagascar, made a connection and landed an internship at the IOS home office in Miami the summer after her junior year. That led to a part-time job with IOS during her senior year, working remotely from the Hill, and fulltime work after graduation.
McGuire’s first major challenge for the company was to establish a Washington office, a daunting yet promising task. Her duties included managing an intern who was about her own age. The experience — difficult and instructive — got her thinking about Hamilton students as potential candidates. She had a hunch that a Hamilton intern would possess the skills she had developed in college: writing well, managing time, fulfilling responsibilities, going above and beyond. “And I saw it also as a way to give back,” McGuire says. “I’m obviously not raking in the millions yet to buy a building, but I do have a great sense of gratitude for what Hamilton gave me — and had confidence in the students to utilize this opportunity both for them, and, I guess, for the positive reflection on me.”
She asked for permission to launch an internship program geared toward Hamilton students, and the Miami office gave the go-ahead.
McGuire dropped the pebble.
She turned to the College’s Washington, D.C., Program for candidates and found Amy Marchesi ’13 and Eric Boole ’13 in the spring of 2012. IOS shares its Washington office and frequently collaborates with Planet Partnerships, an international economic consulting firm. McGuire introduced them to its president, Matt Hensley, and developed an internship program for both companies. “After seeing the caliber of Katie and other Hamilton students we decided to make it a formal program,” Hensley says. “I have been super-impressed by the maturity and skills of the Hamilton students. They have all been intellectually active, efficient and self-motived.”
With the small Washington staff, says McGuire, interns don’t spend the day photocopying or fetching coffee. They work directly on proposals, researching economic indicators and evaluating candidates for projects. From the start, the students from the Hill got it done with aplomb. “And once we had that ball rolling, there was a lot of confidence with the company that we need to try get Hamilton students as much as possible because they are capable and understanding of the demands that we have,” McGuire says.
There’s been a steady flow of Hamilton interns into IOS and Planet Partnerships. Besides Marchesi and Boole, interns, past or current, include Jimmy Nguyen ’14, Fletcher Wright ’14, Adriana Fracchia ’14, Dima Kaigorodov ’16, Emily Rivera ’16, Martin Bawden ’14, Margaret Alexander ’15 and Florence Turiaf ’17.
For Wright, a world politics major, as with McGuire, the IOS internship led to a job offer before he graduated. He’s now a senior project coordinator in the Washington office and won his first contract in August. Wright says it’s a joint agreement between IOS, the Inter-American Development Bank and the government of the Bahamas to set up a national development plan that will guide government policies and projects for 25 years.
Fracchia, too, landed a post-graduation job related to the internship. She is a senior project coordinator at Planet Partnerships. Her most satisfying project so far has been a public-private partnership rural water development initiative in Tunisia.
At this point, McGuire is readying herself for a career move of her own. She intends to leave IOS in the fall to attend business graduate school. She’s interested in the extractive industry and community development programs to mitigate the consequences of its operations on local people and environments.
As for the internship program, McGuire is confident Wright will keep things running smoothly. She may be in a position someday to launch another one. Wherever she ends up, she intends to support Hamilton students. “This is, I think, one of the most profound ways to give back to the College,” she says.
Last issue’s Six Degrees column stated that Todd Hoffman ’90 and Connie Rafferty ’88 work at the Tilton School; they are both at Trinity-Pawling.