Katie Isaf is one of our District's Global Scholars, studying for her masters in International Land and Water Management at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Our contributions to The Rotary Foundation help to make our participation in this program possible. We are sharing photos and excerpts from her mid-year progress report. Start thinking now about whether you have a young person in your area who would make a great Rotary Scholar - the scholarship is awarded for graduate studies in one of Rotary's six areas of focus. For more information, contact Kathy Brandt. We will publish an article with more of the specific requirements in the March newsletter. For now, enjoy Katherine's update ...
My choice to return to the classroom was in large part
inspired and driven by the gaps I discovered during my three years working as a
“professional” in [international] community development. In my previous roles
for example, I was limited to un-specialized evaluator work on agricultural
production, natural resource management, and sanitation projects. Now having
completed five classes in land and water management from an international
university, I can clearly see how much I lacked before in understanding the
past, present, and future developments in rural development and agriculture. I
am quite obviously shifting from a “generalist” in economic and community
development, to having an expertise in water delivery, land use, and resource
At this point in my studies, I do still share many of the
same career ambitions as I shared in my original application. I can see myself
working for an international consultancy or organization that has a
user-focused strategy in rural development and agricultural innovations. I am
encouraged by the focus of my chosen specialization in Irrigation and Water
Management; the department shows a commitment to human-centered designs and
teaching ways to collaborate with farmers and rural communities in order to make
systems (water and economic) work for them and for the environment.
My Rotary Experience
have been more than welcomed by the Rotary community in Wageningen, and I have
greatly appreciated their un-conditional invitation to many events and
meetings. Simultaneously, though, they are supportive of my school work and are
understanding in my priorities as a student. As a nice balance to my university
life here, I have participated in something Rotary-related more-or-less each
month that I’ve been in The Netherlands.
weekend after I arrived, I was invited to join the club’s summer “Botary”
outing. The outing involved a full day sailing in Sneek, a town in the northern
region of the country. I spent much of the day with Henk’s family and friends,
which was wonderful. The event was a perfect introduction to The Netherlands,
as we had hours to discuss language and culture and to enjoy the landscape and
I have also attended many club meetings – and Eric has been
forwarding me the club bulletin.
I have learned about the club’s projects and goals,
such as a new initiative to offer their professional services pro-bono to
community members who may not have the connections or financial access to
And, I had dinner at Henk’s home, where I had a fabulous conversation with him, his
wife Karen, and her daughter, Gedi. My semester was almost over, so we had fun
discussing all my new perspectives and understandings from my studies in
Wageningen. Additionally, Karen worked as professional in community development
in Kenya for a number of years, and I asked her a lot about those experiences.