University of Miami MAIA alumnus, Jamie Everett.

Name: Jamie Everett

Employer: Refugee Assistance Alliance

Job Title: Director of Operations

Field/Industry: International & Domestic Non-Profit

Graduation Year: 2014 

Jamie Everett graduated with her Masters of Arts in International Administration in the Spring of 2014 and currently works as the Director of Operations for Refugee Assistance Alliance, a local Miami non-profit serving refugee families. RAA serves over 90 refugees, most of whom escaped the Syrian Civil War.  Everett has prior experience working with refugee women for the International Rescue Committee’s Women’s Empowerment and Protection program.  Her interest in international and domestic non-profit work stems from her commitment to community well-being and fostering positive social change. 

Her career began when she lived in the Brazilian Amazon for several years, where she worked alongside indigenous women to create a micro-enterprise which still continues today. Everett pursued the MAIA degree to help her better understand how to work cross-culturally, navigate differing socio-economic spaces, and build a career that enhanced human rights, gender equality and social inclusion. She completed her MAIA practicum on the barriers to indigenous empowerment and integration among the Karitiana people group in Brazil. Shortly after this, Everett circumnavigated the globe on a Semester at Sea ship with her husband, 6 year-old son and 600 undergrads (some from UM), where she mentored students and led Impact Travel Excursions in places like China, India, Myanmar (Burma) and South Africa. 

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Set Her Free, a Ugandan non-profit which rescues, shelters and educates girls. Other than her MAIA degree, where she followed the Poverty and Development Track, Everett holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.A. in Theology, where she studied Liberation and Feminist Theologies. She also teaches Spinning and fitness classes at the UM Wellness Center, where you can find her on weekend mornings.

Question & Answer

What made you decide to pursue a graduate education?

I decided to pursue the MAIA degree program so that I could better understand how to make a career out of “being the change you want to see in the world”, to use the popular Ghandi quote. Many of us want to take some small part in making the world a better place, but, at least in my case, I wasn’t sure how to do this as an actual career, so I sought formal education in a program that would teach me practical as well as cultural skills. 

How did you discover the MAIA program, and what factors influenced your decision to enroll in the MAIA program? 

My husband is a professor at UM (Anthropology) so, to be honest, I wanted to pursue a second graduate degree, and UM offers a generous financial discount to family members of full-time employees. I searched UM for academic opportunities that fit my goals, and was thrilled to find the MAIA program. 

What was your favorite thing about the MAIA program?

My favorite thing about the MAIA program was the ability to tailor my education to meet my goals. For example, I focused heavily on issues related to women and girls worldwide, which my professors allowed me to do within the confines of their assignments. Additionally, I worked with professors outside of the MAIA program. Most notably, I completed my thesis with Dr. Sumita Chaterjee Dutt, who helped me design work in the Amazon that would focus on indigenous issues like gender and economic and social inclusion. 

How has your MAIA degree played a role in your career?

My MAIA degree has been pivotal in my career. It has provided me with contacts in the academic and professional world, opened up employment opportunities due to the practical focus of learning how to work in non-profits, and enhanced my understanding of how to take part in addressing community needs and social justice via a career track. One specific notable way my MAIA degree is currently playing a role in my career is through the establishment of an intern program for Refugee Assistance Alliance via the UM Office of Civic Engagement. RAA worked with a class of interns in the Fall of 2018, and, in the Spring of 2019, we are working with a new undergraduate class of interns, as well as with a UM graduate student who is doing her thesis practicum work with us. This is a great way for students to have practical experience addressing local community needs, and it also helps my organization achieve their goals. 

What advice would you give to a student considering the MAIA program?

Don’t be afraid to approach your professors with your goals. My professors were kind, engaged and flexible with my areas of interest.  Also, get to know your classmates. Many of my MAIA peers are now good friends, as well as amazing people working towards building a better world in numerous fields, including academics, non-profits, social good for-profits, and government work, both domestic and international. There is a wealth of knowledge at UM, and fantastic human and technological resources at your disposal.