Andres Mejia '14, '18G
Current position: Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice, Exeter Region Cooperative School District
Previous position: Program manager, NH Listens
Carsey Degree: Master in Community Development
"The MCD has students coming from different parts of the world joining this program…and when you experience differences you become more open and you accept more people."
For Andres Mejia, a program manager with the Carsey-affiliated civic outreach group New Hampshire Listens, the Master in Community Development (MCD) program gave him the skills necessary to lead organizational growth and community development.
“I ran an organization for three years prior to joining the master’s program at the Carsey School, and I still didn’t have that knowledge and background to really build an organization or develop a community,” Andres describes.
It was the practical training component of the MCD program – the strategic planning, game chart creation, and outcomes development – that he was really able to apply to his day-to-day job and his work within communities. That training element, plus the experiential program element, equipped him with the tools needed to lead different types of organizations.
“You’re not only learning through books, articles, and in the classroom,” he says. “You actually get to practice what you’re learning, so going and meeting with organizations and focus groups, and creating frameworks and models to make a plan and then actually implementing that plan.”
The opportunity to network was also a huge benefit to earning his master’s degree from the Carsey School. He was able to directly connect with Boston-based nonprofit directors and executives and learn from their expertise as well. Today, Andres is well known for his advocacy work related to diversity, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community. In fact, he has been inducted into the 2019 UNH Alumni Diversity Hall of Fame and received a UNH Mover & Shakers Award in 2014 and the UNH Office of Multicultural Student Affairs’ Pink Triangle award in 2014 for the support and advocacy of the LGBTQIA+ community.
With its students coming from all over the world, the MCD program closely aligned with Andres own values and expectations.
“The MCD has students coming from different parts of the world joining this program,” he adds. “So, for me, these people with different perspectives and different variances just creates the opportunity to get to know differences. And when you experience differences, you become more open and you accept more people.”
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