Working for Fundación Idea, one of Mexico’s first public policy think tanks, Jody Pollock MCP ’13 has learned a lot about the Mexican government. “I think I know more about the Mexican government and legal system than I do the US at this point,” she laughs.
An alumna of the MIT Department of Urban Studies (DUSP) in the International Development Group, Pollock focused on Latin America. She was able to go beyond the classroom experience with an internship with the Mexican Federal Police through MIT-Mexico, part of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) program. Now, four years later, she’s creating policy and recommendations for urban development, housing, gender, and violence prevention in the country from her offices in Mexico City.
Though much of her work focuses on research, Pollock says the most exciting part of her job is traveling around the country to do trainings and share ideas. “I’ve given trainings in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Guadalupe,” she says. “It’s been very rewarding to go to these municipalities and talk about these topics,” she says referring to trainings on issues like violence prevention and gender perspective. “The most crucial part of these trainings is showing what these policies and recommendations look like in practice.”
MIT’s global focus gave Pollock the chance to put training into practice as well. “I had always focused throughout my entire master’s on Latin America, so having access to MISTI and other funding opportunities was great,” she says. “MIT is really supportive of students working in another context, another culture, another language—they take a very bold stance in wanting to students to get out and try something new,” she says.
While MIT helped prepare Pollock for her international career, it also helped her to build her personal network in Mexico City. “It’s relatively small, but we have a great, strong, MIT community,” she explains. Part of what drives that community is frequent connections between MIT and Mexico. Aside from MIT-Mexico, DUSP recently offered a graduate course where students traveled to Mexico to study public transit networks and real estate developments. Later this month, Terrascope, MIT’s hands-on first-year learning community travels to the area to develop ideas to reduce the environmental footprint of Mexico City.
Pollock says that no matter the reason MIT is in town, she loves to connect—especially when the events involve current students. “I love going to all the events when they are here, I love to stay connected to the MIT scene,” she says.
Pollock once again connected with the MIT scene at Better World Mexico City on March 23 to celebrate MIT’s mission to make a better world, and she her own ideas. You can join the next Better World event in Washington DC on April 13, and connect with your local MIT community. Registration is open.