Frequently Asked Questions
Why the College of Mt. Saint Vincent/IPSL program?
Two countries. Two years abroad. Two Master's degrees. Fluency in Spanish. All to improve the quality of our communities at home and abroad; bridging the gap across the African diaspora. And I am in your network of people to contact, ask for guidance, help, consultations, advise your children and give back my talents to our community. Click here if you need a more technical reason for why I chose this particular program.
What will you gain from the program since you already have international experience?
By participating in the IPSL program I hope to merge my academic experience with my love of service domestically and abroad to gain practical skills for building sustainable communities. I am looking forward to cultural immersion to enhance my studies and experience abroad, as well as, increasing my global network. Additionally, I hope to improve my language skills and bridge the gap between populations of the African diaspora.
I will benefit from IPSL’s experiential learning immensely because it is directly aligned with my optimal learning style. Hands on application of concepts discussed in the classroom not only complement the academic content, but also enhances the overall learning experience. By participating in this uniquely designed program, I will gain knowledge of multiple approaches and solutions to similar problems experienced in the states, Caribbean, South America and Africa. Additionally, immersion in various cultures will add a different dynamic and layer of experience. Not only will my international experiential learning further enhance my appreciation of cultures/diversity, but I am also looking forward to it increasing my fluency in foreign languages.
If feasible, I plan on using the summer months to travel to India and Benin to either further my studies observing unique approaches to sustainability and technology employed in these areas or obtaining a joint M.B.A.
What experience do you bring to the table?
Traveling the globe has provided me with an unrivaled education. Having visited five of the seven continents, I am determined to merge my love of traveling with my ultimate goal to exchange best practices on creating and sustaining healthy communities without causing irreversible damage to the planet (including the people who occupy those spaces).
Possessing a degree in Marketing and International Business, current application of skills more accurately reflect a 20:30:50 mix of Urban Education, Small Business Development and Program Management. Passion for creating healthy, sustainable global communities and both understanding and alleviating economic disparities in urban areas locally and abroad shifted career focus from merely advertising the issues to engaging in grassroots education and solution generation.
Experience in international travel, marketing, public relations, advertising/media buys, website design, public speaking, project management, and branding.
- Business Development Strategist
- Deadline and results driven
- Solid organizational and communication skills (interpersonal, oral, and written)
- Winning attitude and passion for learning
- Ability to quickly grasp new concepts and consistently deliver on commitments
- Selective projects; seeking only to work with clients, brands and/or employers whom I believe in
How much does the program cost? What will you do if you don't raise the money?
The program costs $65,750.00; $32,875.00 per year; $16,437.50 per semester.
If I don't raise the money, I will rescind my letter of acceptance and forgo the opportunity to enroll in this program. Nonetheless, I have two alternatives that will still provide m with an opportunity to learn abroad over the course of two years. Click here if you don't believe I will be able to raise the $65K and would like to see the other options I have drafted as contingency plans.
What are your long term goals?
My academic interest is to learn how to plan, build and create sustainable communities by mastering the science of sustainable economic development. Along with this pursuit, I would like to study the role gentrification, culture and education plays in marginalized communities.
Ultimately, I am seeking a career where I can serve as a consultant to communities that are looking to effectively change their current economic structure and assist them in the development of a community that is able to sustain itself with businesses, educational institutions, alternative energy and agriculture.
My long-term goals are to connect these various marginalized communities to similar communities across the globe to increase trade, the exchange of information and foster a sense of unity amongst members of the African diaspora.
Still have questions?
Shoot me an email and I'll be happy to answer!
Extended Answers to FAQ's
Why the College of Mt Saint Vincent/IPSL program?
After researching various Masters programs that could provide an opportunity to learn international development abroad while generating change in local communities, I believe the College of Mt. Saint Vincent’s IPSL Program is a solid match. Many of the programs across the nation offer similar degree titles but few offer the opportunity for experiential learning in three countries and the liberty to tailor the degree toward your passion.
Some programs focused on in-classroom learning and developing theoretical skills, others simply had student populations that were not as advanced in their conceptualization of what sustainable economic development looked like. The director of one of the latter programs was surprisingly honest with me once I shared my desire, and definition of what it meant, to develop sustainable communities. My definition was, "Beyond implementing a mere ‘green’ initiative, creating a sustainable community means achieving equity in housing, health, employment, access to nutritionally dense foods and educational institutions (focusing on culturally relevant pedagogy)". Admitting that my vision was beyond what the program could help me achieve, the director encouraged me to get a second opinion from a recent alumni. This recent graduate also expressed that, for me, the program would be nothing more than a receipt for a Masters degree; leaving me with little to no added value. I was shocked, though appreciative, at their candidness regarding the value of the program against my objectives and what it could and could not offer me as a graduate.
Determined to create change and learn how to better assist development in these communities, I decided an apprenticeship would serve me well. Although by taking this route I wouldn’t obtain a degree in the process, I would gain the valuable skills needed to improve communities suffering from poor housing, food inequity and poor education. However, as I was saving up to travel and locate those currently doing the work, I was approached by one of IPSL’s current Master students, Tony ‘Jamal’ Lee, regarding the program offered at the College of Mt. Saint Vincent. I worked with Jamal on Afrikan Unity Initiative and expressed my love of traveling, experiencing different cultures and my desire to study sustainable economic development domestically and abroad. He assured me that this program had the ability to satisfy my interest in both gentrification and sustainable economic development in marginalized communities, particularly those across the African diaspora.
Upon researching IPSL, the College of Mt. Saint Vincent, and speaking with members of the program’s staff, I am confident that the unique service learning design is the perfect fit for me. This program will provide opportunities for me to learn successful strategies for creating sustainable communities in the U.S., Caribbean, Africa and South America in an effort to improve the quality of life across the globe.
What experience does Raina Turner bring to the table?
My experience with service-learning stems from travels abroad to China, Africa, the Caribbean and South America, working in four states; California, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, facilitating small group instruction in International Marketing course in Anshan, China and an advertising career for firm who only accepted clients dedicated to social good. Throughout my travels and work experience my intercultural communication has been sharpened and the relationships I have been able to build have proven to remain solid. What I realized during my travels was people wanted to help improve their communities. However, they were doing so in their own personal/professional silos. The information one group possessed was not shared and was equally guarded, preventing the dialogue needed to evoke the change they so greatly desired.
Upon visiting rural China, I noticed that the majority of homes had solar panels on their thatched roofs. I was amazed that the government had subsidized the cost in order for citizens to at least have electricity in their homes. I wondered what that could do for other marginalized communities. Upon further research and self-study, I learned how to build a solar panel from very basic materials and had a very rough prototype that, with a little help, could go a long way.
My formal background and undergraduate degree is in Marketing and International Business. Intrigued by the power the media possessed to shape ideals, implant and push values reflective of the dominating society, I sought to learn the science of persuasion and sales through media. Cleverly utilizing my skills obtained for good, I have worked for the US Department of Commerce, Boots Road Group (digital media and advertising firm in California), Georgia State University and independently as a consultant and auditor of business strategy.
I shifted from strictly marketing and business consulting to education and started my own social media consulting business to afford the flexibility to volunteer at an independent school. The curriculum taught was laden with culturally relevant pedagogy and the approach and methods were not only sustainable but effective. My personal study and love of studying various cultures was the major reason for my success in that capacity. My service at the school translated into dedication and love by the parents, one of whom extended an invitation for me to work with AmeriCorps members to create service-learning opportunities in urban environments. I was brought on to serve as Program Coordinator for one of the largest AmeriCorps programs in the state of Georgia. With six years experience in marketing, project management and partnership development and four years experience in small business strategic planning, my business acumen is a valuable skill I can contribute beyond the classroom.
Currently, I volunteer 20 hours per week in metro-Atlanta communities assisting small businesses, independent schools, scholars and lecturers seeking to bring about change from the grassroots level. My dedication to improving marginalized communities extends beyond ideology and reaches deeply into my personal connection with and membership of these communities. As a results-oriented person, the drive and perseverance I bring to all projects, I either lead or contribute to, are a testament to the passion I bring to the table.
Leadership roles, awards and community participation are listed below:
Team lead on Biomimicry Workshop - Sustainability Group in California
Certified in Food Bank Nutrition Policy Development - University of California Berkeley
Director of Operations - The HealInn Atlanta
Staff/Instructor at Pearl Academy Math and Science Institute
Web Developer for African Sustainability Summit 2015
Former Program Coordinator, T.E.A.M. AmeriCorps, Georgia State University, Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence
Certified Holistic Health Practitioner
Web Developer for Cooperative Economic Development Entity – Us Lifting Us
Web Developer for Publication Company – N.E.X.T. L.E.V.E.L. Publications
Editor for Authors of Culturally Relevant Educational Books – volunteer work
Director of Administration, African Unity Initiative
Former Vice President of Marketing, Alpha Kappa Psi, Professional Business Fraternity
Former Vice President, UAB American Marketing Association (AMA)
Former Vice President of Fundraising, International Business Association
Former AMA Ambassador for Retail Day and Governor's Luncheon
Former Chair, Entrepreneur Platform for Iota Phi Chapter – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Partner and Facilitator of 4th Annual KITES Engineering Science and Festival Workshop
Served on the following initiatives while working for the Department of Commerce:
Historically Black and Hispanic Colleges and University (HBCU/HACU) initiative
African Diaspora Initiative; worked closely with Count Me Black, Complete Count Committee and Atlanta Counts (initiative headed by the Mayor’s office
Census in Schools (CIS) Initiative within the Atlanta region (GA, FL, AL)