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Spotlight on Scott Webb, Muir College

Scott Webb

Political Science '95

Tell me about your career.

After I graduated from UCSD, my wife and I joined the Peace Corps, which launched me in the humanitarian relief field.  We served in Niger, West Africa for 3 years after which I went to graduate school.  I am a program officer for IRD an international non-governmental organization that assists the most vulnerable people all over the world.  IRD is currently the 3rd largest non-profit USAID implementing partner.  I love feeling like I'm contributing to helping people who truly need it.  Most recently, I helped start an emergency water trucking project in southern Ethiopia in the Somali region, where agro-pastoralists have barely had any rains in 2 years.

What is your favorite UCSD memory?

The location of UCSD is really ideal - I loved being able to walk over to the beach at almost any time I wanted.  I remember some students would show up to class with sandy feet.  While I was there, between 1994-95, they completed RIMAC and much of Warren and Roosevelt colleges, so during my final quarter in fall '95 the campus looked terrific, with all new landscaping and amazing facilities.  I used to study on the top floors of the Geisel library and also down at Scripps, where I would look up once in a while to see hang-gliders or the fog rolling in.  I also would roller-blade to class, which was an awesome memory.

What is one thing that you learned at UCSD that has helped you in your career?

Professor Sam Popkin was always telling us to keep it short, keep it simple, and get to the point; all his assignments were a maximum of 750 words.  I always appreciated this technique.

What social science issue concerns you the most?

I was a political science major but focused on international relations during my time at UCSD.  I therefore mostly follow international development policy and international political economy.  I sometimes find myself looking around the World Bank or MIT sites for working papers on development economics - it was the focus of my first MA.

What advice do you have for current students or other alumni?

Take the time to really immerse yourself in the different fields - don't worry about being a generalist.  Throw yourself into the deep end - try something difficult and test yourself, otherwise you'll never know what you're really capable of.  And, of course, being a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and being a former Peace Corps recruiter, I highly recommend serving as a Peace Corps volunteer!

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