Alumni of the Jackson Institute include graduates of the M.A. and B.A. in Global Affairs, the International Relations M.A. and the International Studies B.A. programs.
Class of 2008
Rob Berschinski is Senior Vice President for Policy at Human Rights First, where he works to advance a U.S. foreign policy rooted in a strong commitment to human rights, universal values, and American ideals.
Before joining Human Rights First, he served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. In that role, he was responsible for establishing and implementing U.S. government policies with respect to fundamental freedoms and democratic governance in 65 countries across Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and South Asia. He also served under Ambassador Samantha Power as Deputy Director of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations’ office in Washington, D.C.; worked as special assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; and spent three years as Director for Security and Human Rights Policy at the White House National Security Council. Berschinski earned his B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in International Relations from Yale University.
He recently talked to us about his career path, including his new role at Human Rights First.Read Full Bio
Particularly given what we know about the Trump administration’s approach to human rights, it’s going to be a fairly tough advocacy environment. This means that groups like mine need to partner with a broader range of partners, such as members of Congress who are proponents of human rights, foreign governments that speak to and hold our government accountable, and members of the business community that have increasingly taken a lead in human rights advocacy.
At the same time, there are different career models. There are people who are true experts in one field, and spend their entire careers in one place working on the same issue. I’ve found that these people are extremely valuable in terms of bringing a depth of expertise to the table. I’ve taken the career path of being a generalist, but I think you want both generalists and specialists to craft policy.
Class of 2016
Allison Cordell is a consultant with Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics in the firm’s anti-money laundering practice. While at Yale, she focused her MA studies on anti-money laundering, countering organized crime and corruption, violence prevention and governance issues. She also served as the managing editor for articles for the Yale Journal of International Affairs. During the summer of 2015, she interned for the Ukrainian chapter of Transparency International, where she conducted anti-corruption research in support of the organization’s advocacy of reforms in Ukraine. Before Yale, Allison was a program assistant at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. In that role, she supported the Mexico Institute’s research agenda and conference coordination. Allison served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she advised municipal authorities on improving efficiency and encouraged citizen participation in local development. Prior to that, she was an intern for the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. She received a BA in public policy studies (Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude) from Duke University.Read Full Bio
Class of 2013
Rachel Korberg is an Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where she leads the Foundation’s efforts to identify new, large-scale opportunities for impact. Her portfolio includes a global workshop series, big data and analytics work, and strategic advisory to the Foundation’s executive leaders. She has also managed early-stage research into the sharing economy, urban food insecurity, and economic exclusion in cities, as well as grant making on financial inclusion and economic recovery in the aftermath of Ebola in West Africa.
Korberg was previously vice president at the venture capital and investment advisory firm Serengeti Capital. Earlier, she served both as an aid worker and in strategy, monitoring, and evaluation roles in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia with Innovations for Poverty Action, ACTED, and National Democratic Institute (NDI). As a graduate student, she worked with USAID.
Korberg has executive training in innovation and human-centered design from Stanford University and is a trained facilitator, having designed and facilitated sessions in settings ranging from an executive retreat at the Bellagio Center in Italy to a gathering of social justice activists in rural North Carolina. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University, where she was a research assistant to former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, and a BA with high honors from Tufts University.Read Full Bio
At a certain point though, I think I was, frankly, really frustrated to not see more results, to see a lot of work happening without enough impact and collaboration with the communities that were actually living these challenges. At the same time, I was seeing local businesses spring up in rural India or poor parts of Nairobi that created jobs and incredible opportunity for people. I needed a moment to reflect and retool. I was grateful that Jackson gave me an opportunity to do that.
While at Jackson, I ended up building my skills in business strategy and finance. I then took a job as VP at a frontier markets investment firm. One of my favorite projects was a market study on energy efficient appliance manufacturing in Ghana, and we later advised the government on how to spur more manufacturing. Jackson helped me to make that shift into the private sector.
My favorite project at the moment is an exploration I’m leading on the gig economy and self-employment in the U.S., where one-quarter of our labor force is now working. I think business, workers, and government – with support from philanthropy – have an opportunity to come together and really reimagine the social contract. We need to build a 21st century social contract that ensures that if you work hard, you will be okay and have economic stability for yourself and your family. Right now, that’s not true in America.
Take at least one class on something that you’ve never done before; it’s really your last opportunity. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in a class that isn’t meant for you. The best class I took while at Jackson was a six-person, PhD-level history seminar with Tim Snyder.
What I loved most about Jackson was the commitment to service that all the students had. About half of my class was former military, and despite my being an aid worker at the time, I quickly realized we had a ton in common as people who were all committed to serving in some way. Jackson students come from all different places and sectors, but because it’s such a small program we couldn’t break off into little cliques. We really spent time together and expanded each other’s perspectives. It’s a great community.