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Shannon Rosenberg

'12 MPA
Women's Health Project Consultant
Population Services International

Shannon Rosenberg is a Women’s Health Project Consultant at Population Services International. She received her BA in International Studies from the University of California at San Diego in 2008, her MPA from the Maxwell School in 2012, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Post-Conflict Reconstruction from INSCT at the Maxwell School in 2012, and an MA in International Development Studies from Erasmus University in 2013. Originally from Fremont, California, she now lives in Washington, DC.

Population Services International (PSI) is a global health organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges, like a lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, as well as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, the greatest health threats to children under five years old. A hallmark of PSI is a commitment to the principle that health services and products are most effective when they are accompanied by robust communications and distribution efforts that help ensure wide acceptance and proper use. PSI distinguishes itself with a market-oriented approach to programming and metrics; it is a world leader in social franchising, social marketing, behavior change communication, and tracking measurable health impact. PSI has programs in 69 countries, a world headquarters in Washington, D.C., and a European office in Amsterdam. Currently more than 8,900 staff work for PSI and its affiliates. Its 2012 operating budget exceeded $540 million.

Shannon works as a technical consultant to the Women’s Health Project in PSI’s Sexual & Reproductive Health & Tuberculosis Department in Washington, D.C. Her project objectives include increasing use of long-term contraceptive methods and access to post-abortion care in 15 countries across the globe. “A typical day for me could start with facilitating an early morning webinar on an exciting new programmatic model for participants in five different time zones. After wrapping up the notes for the webinar, I might work on an upcoming brief of case studies on successful advocacy strategies by our field staff,” she says. “Lunch I often spend at PSI brown bag events, learning about new USAID funding requirements or the work of other projects in the department. The rest of my day could be spent editing a quarterly compendium of reproductive health technical updates or creating an online resource on reproductive health commodities for our field operations. Weekly I will wrap up the day with a Dupont happy hour with some Maxwell alums!”

Previous to Maxwell, Shannon co-founded and ran a social enterprise in Tanzania. Most of our nonprofit work centered on the Maasai community of the Arusha-Monduli region. The social enterprise’s diverse projects included microfinance and strategic consulting for women-owned small businesses and making primary and secondary school more accessible for girls.

“The Maxwell program provided me with a practical, professional, and respected skill set to be a public manager. Post-Conflict Reconstruction (Bertini/ Denevers) was one of my favorite courses for exposing me to a range of tensions in a cutting-edge field, for bringing in guest speakers who were leaders in the sector, and for kindling spirited debates among my cohort,” she says. “Len Lopoo was my favorite professor because he challenged his students, demanded quality of comprehension, and was always ready to spice statistics up with an hilarious anecdote. Maxwell also provided me with a wonderful network of passionate and inspiring peers, some great friends, and a true family mafia in my new home of DC. I especially enjoyed social events with the Women's Caucus, a networking dinner with high-ranking women in the PCR field, and the year-end pig roast. As an Atlantis fellow in International Security and Development, I was able to pursue a second Masters degree in Europe, split between universities in Berlin and the Hague. This second year of study allowed me to experience three different graduate environments and ethos, deepen my knowledge of international policy issues, and hone my career interests around one cause: international reproductive health. By getting my second year thesis sponsored by an international development consulting firm in Holland, I was able to transition out of my academic pursuits into the industry career path I hope to pursue.” Shannon was a Dean's Professional Scholar, Graduate Assistant to the Maxwell Grant Development Office, and an Atlantis Fellow. Coming from two years on a Tanzanian start-up salary to an American graduate school was a challenging financial transition for her. “The top ranking and competitive costs of the MPA program, along with the various financial supports I received, made the return on investment clearly worthwhile,” she says.

Her advice to current students? “You can't hear it enough: one year goes by fast, so make the most of it. Prioritize building those professional skills that will be most relevant to your industry and those relationships with peers and professors who will be your base network for the rest of your career,” she says. “Be proactive. For those interested in international issues, I highly recommend pursuing a two-year dual degree program, such as Atlantis or the MPA-IR. Oh, and Alto Cinco has wonderful enchiladas."