Wednesday, June 7, 2017

URSP Student Stephanie Bishop Conducts Research on the Impact of Job Skills Training Programs in Guatemala

My name is Stephanie Bishop and I am a Global Affairs and Spanish major graduating this May 2017. This semester I conducted a research project on the impact of job skills training programs in Guatemala. I have always had a passion for global development issues and throughout my college career have developed an even stronger passion for the Latin American region and culture that made me interested in conducting a research project of my own in these fields. Central America is a super complex and interesting region in terms of development and growth because there is so much potential and yet so many obstacles. Guatemala in particular is a country that severely lacks educational and employment opportunities and faces issues with discrimination, violence, and low economic diversity. These gaps obviously attract the work of NGOs and I wanted to see what kinds of impacts these organizations were creating. This type of research and analysis of development
strategies is what I would love to do in a future career. I also want to focus my career path on working with Latin American countries and have tried to pursue academic and professional experiences that complement that, which is why I am so grateful for the opportunity that URSP provided me.

My weekly work varied quite a bit during the course of the semester. During the first month and half or so, I was working on conducting background research on the issues affecting Guatemala’s workforce. I was also working on planning the week that I spent in Guatemala conducting field research, interviewing NGO employees, and talking with participants of job skills training programs. The trip itself took place at the end of February into early March. Then, after the trip, I compiled the data, observations, and information from my interviews to make an analysis of the programs and to write a report on my findings.

This research project has been one of my college experiences that I am most proud of and I reaffirmed my passion for global development. I learned an immeasurable amount about myself as a researcher, the complexity of implementing development projects, and how incredibly rewarding it is to conduct original research to add to your field’s body of knowledge.