Ingrid Schmidt is the Associate Vice Provost and Director for External Relations and Development for the Office of Global Engagement. Schmidt develops and maintains important relationships with alumni, the community, and donors for the purpose of unit advancement, global student internship development, and external advisory board support.
What made you choose this field of work as a career?
An interest in international cultures has always been a part of my life, starting when I grew up as a first-generation American in a factory town in northwest Connecticut that was full of immigrants. German was my first language until I went to school, and was always spoken at home.
My goal for years was to be a high school English and German teacher. After undergraduate study abroad, a Master’s, and then backpacking around the world for four great years in the 1980s (yes, before ATMs!), I landed in administrative support jobs at Carolina while working on my teacher certification and starting to raise two kids. During my student teaching, though, I realized that teaching was not the right fit after all. That was a shock!
I wasn’t sure what I would do with the “random” combination of university administrative skills, training as an educator, and extensive travel experience. I had my answer when I saw a position open in the study abroad office – it was perfect!
What does a typical day look like for you?
After 21 rewarding years leading our Study Abroad Office, I’m excited to be in a role that builds on my experience in new ways. The variety of my responsibilities can be challenging to juggle, but that has forced me in good ways to partner across our division and the whole university.
Some of my responsibilities include fundraising and development, building up international internships, providing faculty support by coordinating the Committee on International Programs, related seed grants, and recognition programs like the Academy of Excellence in Global Engagement, strengthening international alumni outreach, getting the external Global Advisory Board started, working with OIRP to improve our global rankings, supporting our staff with external award nominations, and overseeing the NC Japan Center and the Passport Services Office. I’m not sure I ever have a “typical” day.
How would you describe your job to someone who might be interested in this field of work?
There is always something new to learn, and the sense of purpose is incredibly satisfying because this field of work is helping to increase collaboration and understanding across the globe.