GHD Instills Marvin Saccucci with Passions for International Development and Washington, D.C.

Marvin Saccucci
Global Human Development, Class of 2017
Cincinnati, Ohio
Summer 2016 Internship: MercyCorps MicroMentor program in Guatemala
Favorite Classes: Renewable Energy, Sustainability, and Development with Prof. Griffin Thompson
D.C. Jobs and Internships:
Inter-American Dialogue Think Tank – Education Department (Research Intern)
Aspen Institute – Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (Research Intern)


May 1, 2017
by Aislinn McNiece

Marvin Saccucci (GHD’17) will matriculate from the Global Human Development (GHD) graduate program this spring with concentrations in Food, Agriculture, and Rural Livelihoods and in Social Enterprise. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he came to SFS by way of time in multiple developing countries, where he found his passion for work in international development.

“Having spent significant time in developing countries, I was always drawn to international development work. For me, it was the best way to combine my Jesuit education, service work, and business administration degree into a single career. Since most people in developing countries are employed in agriculture, I believe that helping farmers generate income is the fastest way to alleviate poverty. I also find the nutrition aspect of development fascinating [for example,] how we promote big agriculture and food processing, but oftentimes at the expense of nutrition outcomes and the environment.”

At GHD, Saccucci learned about these problems and studied their various solutions, from increasing agricultural efficiency to improving sustainability through the use of renewable energy. 

He also founds several mentors who were instrumental to his time at GHD.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to have taken classes with Professors Holly Wise and Derek Byerlee and to have gotten to know them on a personal level. Both have had extremely decorated and successful careers in international development work and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their insights, advice, and guidance.”

In addition to his time in the classroom, Saccucci explored his professional options in international development while at GHD. Working with international NGOs and think tanks in D.C. and the developing world has helped Saccucci apply classroom lessons to the real world of development.

“I spent my summer interning with Mercy Corps in Guatemala. Mercy Corps has developed an online platform called MicroMentor, which pairs entrepreneurs to mentors seeking business advice all across the globe. Working with MicroMentor was a great way for me to learn about cool startups in Guatemala, while also experiencing a large international NGO.

I had an internship with the Inter-American Dialogue, a D.C. based think-tank focused on Western Hemisphere issues. Here I was in the education department and helped conduct research on the position of Minister of Education in Latin America. I also had a brief stint with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) at the Aspen Institute, where I helped perform research on investment funds targeted towards Small and Growing Businesses.”

For Saccucci, studying in D.C. had perks beyond the breadth of professional opportunities available in the international development sector here. One of those was living in the International Student House of Washington, D.C., during his first year at GHD.

“[The International Student House] is a housing option for all graduate students studying international affairs or international students completing internships in Washington, D.C. Granted, this experience wasn’t specific to Georgetown alone, but it was the perfect complement to my Georgetown education. I was able to meet students from American, George Washington, Georgetown, and SAIS, and hear their different takes on things going on in the world. It was pretty cool to be able to eat your breakfast next to a person from Japan and the DRC, or in the matter of one year have roommates from England, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Luxembourg.”

Another perk of attending graduate school in D.C., according to midwesterner Saccucci, has been experiencing an array of new cultures on each city block.

“My favorite part about going to school in D.C. has been the immense amount of cultural diversity. Coming from the Midwest, I never imagined meeting so many people from different countries that I didn’t even know existed on a map. I think it’s really great how I can walk down the street and hear people speaking Spanish, walk into an Ethiopian restaurant, and hang out with my roommate from Rwanda, all in the same day. It’s a luxury that many people who have spent significant time here have grown accustomed to and take for granted. For me, this was a big change from small-town Ohio.”

Luckily for Saccucci, life in D.C. won’t end after he graduates from GHD. His next step is with the Foreign Agricultural Service as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture based in Washington. Saccucci will be working as a Program Assistant in the Office of Capacity Building and Development, facilitating exchange between developing countries and Ph.D. agronomists. However, leaving SFS does carry a hint of nostalgia for Saccucci, as careers in international development mean his classmates will soon scatter across the globe.

“I will miss my 26 classmates that I got to know very well over the course of the last two years. One of the tough things about this line of work is that you’re never in the same place for a very long time, so it can be hard to maintain friendships. Nonetheless, it’s also beautiful to know that I have friends I can visit all across the globe. Hopefully we can all find a way to stay in touch.”