Christine MacAulay

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Christine MacAulay

Graduation Year: 2005
Majors: International Politics
Current Job: Team Lead for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

Christine MacAulay is currently serving an 18-month Foreign Service assignment with USAID/Afghanistan in Kabul. As a student at Penn State on September 11, 2001, the events of that day significantly impacted MacAulay’s career path in the international development field. Her first job after graduating from Penn State was working for an NGO that implemented democracy and governance programs in the South Asia region, including in Afghanistan. After graduating from Princeton University in 2010 with a master’s degree in public affairs and development studies, MacAulay joined the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2016, she moved to Kabul to lead the monitoring, evaluation, and learning team with USAID/Afghanistan.

“The opportunity to be a part of the team implementing U.S. foreign assistance in Afghanistan was humbling, and I felt honored to have the chance to work with my Afghan colleagues and members of the U.S. military,” said MacAulay.

MacAulay’s liberal arts education has impacted all of her jobs since graduating from Penn State. All of her jobs have required a significant amount of analysis and writing, and she was able to build strong skills in those areas in her liberal arts classes. A liberal arts education fosters critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, which MacAulay says are in high demand in the workplace. MacAulay is thankful for her classes on economics, math, and statistics while at Penn State, as her comfort with budgets and numbers has been vital to her work in the public sector.

While an undergraduate at Penn State, MacAulay founded an organization called the Penn State Global AIDS Initiative. She became interested in HIV/AIDS issues after traveling to South Africa for the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development with a service learning course. MacAulay began the organization because she thought young people had the ability to contribute to global advocacy efforts. “The group conducted local awareness and outreach on and off campus and also partnered in the advocacy efforts of a national group called the Student Global AIDS Campaign,” said MacAulay.

Since graduating from Penn State, MacAulay has stayed an active Liberal Arts alumna even with her international work. She was recognized by the college with an Outstanding Young Liberal Arts Alumni Award in 2018. While living in DC, MacAulay participated in Penn State alumni events and has traveled back to Happy Valley for a career panel about international careers. MacAulay also happily answers questions current students have about international development careers over a phone call or email.

“The liberal arts students of today are living and working in a context that has never been more interconnected and need to be prepared to be global citizens and global professionals,” she said. MacAulay tells future Liberal Arts graduates that “college presents a great opportunity to take academic risks and really challenge oneself. Use it to build the skills you need for the future.” She encourages students to volunteer, study abroad, and create opportunities if they don’t exist to find their passion outside of academic work.

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