Alexia Bililies, BS, MDMa
Hometown: Bedford, MA
Degree earned at WPI: BS, International Studies and Humanities & Arts
Degrees earned from other institutions: Master’s degree, Disaster Management, (MDMa) University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark
Why did you choose to attend WPI?
WPI provides the opportunity to combine what students were learning in the classroom with real-life experiences from around the world (IQP/MQP).
How did your experiences at WPI prepared you for graduate school?
WPI not only prepared me for the fast-paced nature of my master’s degree, but also gave me the opportunity to travel and study in different countries (Namibia, Spain, and the Dominican Republic) which prepared me for graduate school, as I was accustomed to living and studying in an international environment with people from around the world.
Present job title and employer:
I am currently working as a regional education coordinator for East Africa (including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Djibouti) for a Finnish nongovernment organization (NGO), Finn Church Aid. My studies at WPI gave me the theory of international studies as well as the practice of working with NGOs around the world to solve real-life challenges.
Currently, I am working on developing projects to address the educational needs of pastoralist children and youth around East Africa. This is a population that is often overlooked by government officials, and to reach this population requires a unique, innovative approach.
How did WPI's philosophy of Theory and Practice, as well as working with teams, prepare you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace or graduate school?
The WPI style of educating students through combining theory and practice has greatly contributed to my career. My studies at WPI prepared me for working in my field through courses on global history, global inequality, and topics in international politics, but WPI also prepared me for my work outside the classroom, as both my IQP and MQP were outside of the U.S. and working with NGOs to tackle human needs through innovative approaches.
The WPI philosophy of working in teams is something that I use every day in my workplace. I am constantly taking a team approach to working with my colleagues, stressing that we are a team and can support one another in many areas of the work we do.
In terms of how WPI prepared me for facing real-world challenges in the workplace, I think no one can 100 percent prepare anyone, but through working in groups with people from all different backgrounds and taking courses such as Business in an International Environment and Management of Change, WPI helped ease the pain.
Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:
- Sister of Phi Sigma Sigma
Academic or professional awards you have received:
- Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship
Additional comments about WPI and/or your general experience here:
The picture is from a monitoring trip of an Education in Emergencies project in the refugee camps of Djibouti. I am in the red and black plaid shirt.