Glennys Egan is a Senior Gender and Research Specialist with Digital Opportunity Trust, a non-governmental organization that supports young people in Africa and the Middle East who are applying technological innovations to community development.
How did you become interested in international development?
When I chose to pursue my B.A. in Political Science at Carleton, my main interest was politics. But I quickly became more interested in international issues. I owe it to the flexibility of the political science program that I was able to explore a wide range of topics during my undergraduate years before settling on human rights as a specialization.
What interested you about Africa specifically?
At first, I was drawn by my desire to work in poverty alleviation, but I soon learned that the vision of Africa I got through popular media and fundraising campaigns wasn’t accurate. I learned that it wasn’t the monolith that’s presented and that it is much more entwined with the politics and actions of the Global North. I was interested in exploring those dynamics further to see how I could make a difference.
Why was Carleton’s Master’s program in Political Economy the right fit for you?
After my undergrad, I spent some time in Kenya doing an internship with youth entrepreneurs, while I was waiting on graduate school acceptance. What drew me back to Carleton was the opportunity to be part of the inaugural cohort of the African Studies specialization. I never regretted my choice. The Institute of Political Economy presented a more critical and nuanced view of what I wanted to study compared to the traditional perspective of Political Science. The thread of social justice and activism present throughout the program also attracted me.
How has it helped you in your career?
My degree was invaluable in terms of helping me develop writing, communication and analytical thinking skills. Both Political Economy and African Studies are interdisciplinary, which honed my ability to think from different perspectives. It positioned me to try to understand the impact of our interventions around the world, think critically about them and continue to improve them.
I now work for an organization that values learning and where I apply my research, analytical and writing skills to better understand our impact. I then communicate it and build upon it in meaningful ways.