Graduate Student Finds Success Between Mountains and Master’s

Graduate Student Finds Success Between Mountains and Master’s

After she co-founded a Non-Governmental Organization in Ouaouizerth, Morocco, Kristen Young was faced with an intimidating challenge: how to incorporate it into her Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program at The Graduate School of the College of Charleston. With help from the program’s director Jo Ann Ewalt and through generous grants from the College of Charleston and the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston, Young was not only able to study abroad in Morocco for a research project, but she also won a prestigious award for the resulting paper.

 Young won the Robert L. Kline award for the most outstanding master’s paper in the Southeast for research she completed in Ouaouizerth, “Strategic NGO Development in Ouaouizerth, Morocco,” conducted as an independent study in the MPA program.

Photo from Young’s blog, Three Layer Cake.

[Related: Learn about the Kline Award]

Young had spent extensive time volunteering in Morocco, but hungered for the opportunity to delve farther into the country’s fascinating culture. She and Ewalt worked closely together to arrange plans for Young to travel to Morocco and perform research about NGOs in the country.

“All of my classes helped me prepare for this project. The things I learned from my classes significantly helped to form my focus on NGO and nonprofit administration,” Young said.

Before arriving in Ouaouizerth, Young conducted a review on NGOs in Morocco, but found little to no literature on small, local NGOs in the country. She and Ewalt determined that a snowball sampling method of research – speaking with locals to discover these organizations and their impact on local communities – was the best course of action.

[Related: Read about Kristen’s time in Morocco]

This method proved to be successful, as Young learned more than enough to sustain her research paper and to foster a lifelong interest in Morocco, a place she hopes to return to soon.

Young credits the M.P.A. program for making her research possible, and for helping her establish meaningful connections on the College’s campus as well as in the Charleston community.

[Related: Find out more about the Master of Public Administration program]

“I’d heard so many great things about the M.P.A. program at the College. I did a lot of research before I applied to schools and it just stood out, not only the beauty of the city, but also the program’s reputation for being a prominent program on campus and the community,” Young said. “I’ve found that to be true.”

Following her expected December 2013 graduation, Young hopes to stay in Charleston and work on her NGO, Creativity and Community Development: Morocco, Inc., from the U.S., visiting whenever possible.

Kristen Young can be reached at