SPP student Bingying Wu came to UMD to be a part of something big. During her undergrad years at Beihang University in Beijing, China, Wu worked with the Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales (AIESEC), a global, student-led nonprofit focused on student leadership development. She led a local chapter of AIESEC and a team of six student volunteers, which sparked her desire to “be a part of something bigger than myself,” she said. That experience also helped Wu develop an interest in international development and nonprofit management.
After completing her undergraduate degree, Wu worked as a translator and interpreter in the aviation industry and taught English in Indonesia before returning to grad school to pursue her passions. When choosing what school she should attend, location was very important. Wu says she’s very appreciative of the opportunities the University of Maryland’s close proximity to Washington, DC afford her, especially the “high density of nonprofit and international organizations” closeby.
She made sure to take advantage of the School’s location when she interned during summer 2016 at Save the Children International with the Global Health and Nutrition team. At Save the Children, Wu worked on data collection, analysis and data visualization, gaining valuable knowledge about statistics and data processing software. Her internship was made possible by SPP’s Internship Program, which provides compensation for students pursuing otherwise unpaid internships. With funding from the School, Wu was able to focus on expanding her knowledge of health and nutrition, humanitarian and non-humanitarian work and learning about management in the international development industry.
During spring break 2016, Wu studied abroad in China and learned about global philanthropy and international nonprofits. She has also interned with the Fabretto Children’s Foundation where she performed prospect research for fundraising and development teams, work she considered, “challenging, but rewarding.”
In her spare time, Wu finds ways to give back to the community, including volunteering at Hyattsville Middle School with the KEMS (Kids Excelling in Math and Science) Mentor Program. With the help of the Do Good Institute, Wu says she’s expanded her horizons beyond SPP and is currently working on a group project in the Robert H. Smith Business School called “Change the World.” As part of the project, Wu says she, “consults for a Maryland nonprofit to build local nonprofit business development capacity in west Baltimore.”
In addition to academic and professional opportunities, Wu has built meaningful relationships with her fellow students and mentors. From navigating grad school hurdles, to finding mentors who inspired her to become a mentor herself, Wu considers herself lucky to have made deep personal connections during her time at SPP. As a teaching assistant to Endowed Associate Professor of Global Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Angela Bies and Lecturer Susannah Washburn, Wu says she has been able to grow personally as well as professionally. In this role she says she, “gained valuable experience in outreach, relationship building and project management,” while discovering new abilities and strengths at the same time. Wu adds that she encourages others to see how much fellow students, professors and staff at the School have offer.
Wu graduates in May 2017 and she says she remains committed to the ideals that brought her to SPP; ideals that were reinforced by the mentors she found at the School who encouraged her to “pay if forward” and “serve as a mentor to others.” She is still pursuing opportunities to be a part of something bigger than herself.