Laurie Felder

Director of International Disaster Response at UMCOR

Alumna of IGF Session 2, 2008

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IGF gave me a great platform by which to continue and professionalize my career. With the experience of working in the Ministry of Health I had a stronger application by which to apply to graduate school as well as the Peace Corps, a dream of mine since childhood. Through the Masters International track I was able to directly pair my public health studies with a real world application. Upon the end of my service and graduation with an MPH, I was able to smoothly transition into a job directing a community development program followed by a job managing international disaster response efforts for a US-based humanitarian aid organization. I have always wanted to work to help people, and IGF was instrumental in helping me to do that.

 

IGF also had a big influence on my sense of Jewish peoplehood. While I spent several years of my early childhood living in Israel, after returning to the states my family and I lived in an area where Jewish families were by no means numerous. Getting to live, eat, work and become friends with young Jewish professionals from all over the world was a gift I am so grateful to have been given. Not only did this opportunity give me the chance to widen my Jewish world, so to speak, but also to layer it. Getting to know people, and not only the fellow fellows, but also those that we worked with in our placements whose faith traditions came from different branches of Judaism than mine was something I had never had the chance to do. To demystify and humanize something so elemental in Judaism but so foreign to me at one point or another was and still is invaluable in so many ways.

To me, IGF means opportunity. IGF gave me the opportunity to pursue something I was driven to do by giving me the experience I needed but it gave me so much more than that, as well. It gave me a group of friends who though I dont get to see or talk to as much as I would like, I know that I can count on. It has given me the opportunity to learn and grow and in turn, to give that opportunity to others. I would want potential donors to know that by funding IGF you are not only funding the tangible, the parts of the program that one can see and touch, but all of the best parts that lay in the in-between of the tangible parts, as well.