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Beau Miller is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Aythos, originally Helambu Project USA, which consults with communities in developing countries on leadership and economic development initiatives. Originally from Rochester, NY and now living in Washington DC, where he works as a Middle Eastern affairs analyst at the Buffalo Group. Beau completed his MAIR in 2011. After completing his undergraduate studies at Quinnipiac University, he worked in Connecticut and Pennsylvania for the 2004 US General Elections, later volunteering with relief efforts in New Orleans, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Before focusing his energy to international affairs, Beau worked as an Assistant Brewer for an award-winning microbrewery in Durango, Colorado.
Referring to his decision to return home, he says, "I liked the idea that after my years of work and travel abroad, I could return [home] to get my Master's in International Relations and learn to be more effective in my work. Maxwell allowed me to practically apply skills learned in the classroom, so that by the time I received my degree, I could say that I knew how to do something an employer might be looking for, and I could point to a concrete example where I used that skill in a professional setting, while still at Maxwell."
Beau's favorite course during his time at Maxwell was his Independent Study in South Asia. He was selected along with some classmates to formulate and implement a survey for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nepal. "As if that were not enough, another Maxwell professor was able to tap into her networks in Bangladesh to organize visits for us at the World Bank, Grameen Bank, BRAC, and other organizations to learn more about microfinance. It was a lot of time and energy, not only to go to Bangladesh and Nepal with my professors and classmates, but to do the proper research and look at projects within these countries and organizations with a critical eye."
Under the guidance of professors, the team researched articles on microfinance written by both critics and proponents, and then vetted the survey they created for UNHCR with newly-resettled Bhutanese refugees living in Syracuse. "My experiences in Bangladesh and Nepal with Maxwell are ones that I'll never forget, and ones that will have the most impact on my career, moving forward."
Beau gives his education at Maxwell a lot of credit for helping set up his career: "Through the friends and connections I made at Maxwell, I was able to help create Orange Impact, and this was inspired mostly by Maxwell's emphasis on community and making connections between students, past and present. My work with UNHCR while at Maxwell also helped me gain confidence in research methods and project implementation. I have taken direct lessons from my experience with UNHCR and applied them to working with apple farmers in Nepal to consult with them on a project to generate income. I sincerely hope that Maxwell students will be able to join us in Nepal, and that Aythos and Orange Impact can give back the same kind of experiences that I and other Orange Impact Directors had while at Maxwell."
After enjoying his own experience at Maxwell, what is his advice for current students? "Blaze your own trail. Take advantage of the fact that there are wonderful people working at Maxwell who will bend over backwards to make sure that you are able to get everything you want out of your time there, but understand that in the end you have to know what you want. I knew coming into Maxwell that I wanted to do my exchange semester at American University of Beirut. Maxwell did not even have an official partnership with AUB, but Samantha Clemence, Nell Bartkowiak, and others helped a friend and I make it happen. I couldn't have dreamed of a better exchange experience, and I had a great internship in Beirut under a Syracuse graduate. You find them everywhere. If you are a Maxwell student, and you have an idea for a new and different direction, talk to somebody at Maxwell about making it happen. Chances are you will find invaluable support from them that you would not be able to find many other places."