Mary-Jo Robinson recently graduated from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, with a Master’s in Public Administration and an Advanced Certificate in International Conflict Resolution. Prior to completing her MPA, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Policy Studies from Syracuse University. Coming from a rural Northern Maine town of less than 200 people total, Mary-Jo quite honestly stumbled into working with refugees when she signed up to tutor in inner-city Syracuse schools as a freshman in college, but was placed instead at an evening school for refugees. Her life radically changed for the better from the moment she stepped into that school, and she spent the next six years deeply engaged with the Syracuse refugee community. Beyond teaching refugees ranging from 3 years old to 75 years old, Mary-Jo also implemented community based programs, such as the HerVillage Women’s Initiative for an organization called Hopeprint.
After graduating with her master’s, Mary-Jo travelled to Kenya for the first time, fully intending to simply learn and then return home to work with refugees with a more well-informed and holistic knowledge and experience base. However, she fell so in love with the people and culture of Kenya that she couldn’t wait to return on a more permanent basis. After gaining valuable monitoring and evaluation experience in Washington, D.C., Mary-Jo has joined the SAI team in Nairobi as a monitoring and evaluation specialist, and program coordinator.