Nexight Group

Nexight Group is happy to welcome Chrissy Sherman to the team as our new Research and Communications Analyst. Chrissy is a recent graduate from the College of William & Mary. We sat down with Chrissy to ask her a few questions about herself, her views, and her new role at Nexight.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a recent graduate from the College of William & Mary, where I studied International Development – a blend of economics, political theory, and sociology. I’ve worked extensively in community engagement and development and have a strong interest in qualitative research, project management, and consensus building. I also love to travel and have a Lhasa Apso named Smidgen.

Q: Why did you decide to join Nexight Group?
The job description blew me away; it was a huge list of tasks that covered a broad range of skill sets. Every single one of them sounded exciting to me. The opportunity to explore a new array of topics, develop key skills, and work with a small, dynamic team was too great to pass up.

Q: Most of your education was focused on international development. What do you think is the biggest challenge in this area?
In development practice, there is typically a lack of coordination across diverse groups of actors, which can make efforts redundant. While synthesized and holistic inter-disciplinary approaches would be most effective, competing paradigms within and between sociology, economics and other disciplines often makes this approach impossible. This leaves the field open to efforts that operate solely on good intentions and common sense, which unfortunately are often ineffective or can actually cause more harm than good.

The biggest challenges we face are 1) integrating development theories to create a more comprehensive understanding of how development issues (e.g., poverty, marginalization, poor health, safety ) came to exist, why they persist, and how they can be alleviated; and 2) disseminating information to relevant actors and establishing stronger regulations about who can engage in development work, and how.

Q: What is the most important thing that you feel you got out of your program?
I think the most important things I gained were experience working abstract theories into practical methodologies and learning how to engage constructively with ongoing research. I had the opportunity to work with a rural community in Nicaragua throughout college, partnering with them to develop and carry out projects to address their main health concerns. This challenged my team to reconcile the theories of community engagement and capacity building with the on-the-ground realities of development work, while doing our best to stay true to the theories’ guidance.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about your new position?
I’m excited to work on a wide variety of projects and to learn more about consulting work. I think Nexight Group offers a unique opportunity for everyone to be engaged in all levels of the organization’s work, and I intend to (slowly but surely) capitalize on that. I’m also excited to work on this team and to learn more about everyone’s expertise and passions.

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