Government & Community: Bridget T. Millman ‘08, IDSC Major

Project assistant, Balkan Trust for Democracy, Serbia

Bridget T. Millman wrapped up her bachelor’s degree when the U.S. economy was poised for the Great Recession, a time when newly minted graduates around the country were struggling to find employment. Nonetheless, Millman, who double-majored in philosophy and international development and social change, has managed during these tough economic times to land a personally meaningful job that utilizes her interests and skills.

Millman grabbed an opportunity to intern with the Business Start-up Centre Kragujevac, an initiative of the Dutch organization SPARK. During her internship she conducted interviews with entrepreneurs, local partners, and training participants in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, countries where Business Start-up Centres had been established.

Next, she returned to the U.S. to take advantage of Clark’s accelerated B.A./master’s degree program to earn a master’s in international development and social change. Her course research led her back to the Balkans to study the effects of international development assistance on political systems. Millman’s return to the Balkans was precipitated by her frustration in finding objective information on that part of the world.

“I had questions I couldn’t find answers to by staying put,” she explains. “I identified a gap in the quality and objectivity of information available to me in the U.S. on issues and events in the Balkans. I continue to see in the international media discrepancies in the portrayal of local events, and perspectives on those events. The reality is frequently much more complex.”

Millman is still in the Balkans, now working with the Balkan Trust for Democracy, an innovative public-private partnership and grant-making initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euro-Atlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. Among her many responsibilities, she reviews project proposals and analyzes budgets, monitors ongoing projects and evaluates reports, meets with grantees and applicants, and conducts field-monitoring visits.

In addition to working as part of a close-knit team, Millman enjoys the opportunity to travel and become familiar with Balkan culture and history. “Travel,” she notes, “whether international or domestic, is an invaluable education.”