April 5, 2017

Alumni Profile: Elizabeth Vranas

Elizabeth Vranas, MPP 2015, shares her experiences after Batten.


Tell us about what your typical day looks like.

I currently work as a Development Coordinator at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, an international animal welfare and wildlife conservation nonprofit. In my role, I get to do a whole lot of different things! On any given day, I might plan and coordinate events and projects, talk with donors in the DC area, and/or assist in preparing a report or proposal for a donor about one of our projects. I get to spend a lot of time learning from my colleagues about what we’re doing to protect animals, which makes every day interesting.

What Batten classes or experiences were most helpful in preparing you for your current role?

Professor Christine Mahoney’s Global Advocacy and Action helped me understand a lot about nonprofits. She It introduced me to a lot of different ways that we can make a difference for the causes we care about. I never got the chance to take an environmental policy course at Batten, so my APP advisor, Professor Randy Lutter, was invaluable in learning about the different policy vehicles for environmental conservation.

The psychology course has also been applicable to my job. Understanding psychology is a key part of my work, so it’s great to be able to use principles that I learned in that class. I have also been grateful to have quantitative analysis skills. While I don’t use them every day in my current role, I’m glad to be able to look at project plans and have the skills to effectively communicate the impact we are having on the animals and communities we serve. While I don’t work in policy now, the overall policy analysis skills I developed while at Batten allow me to write better reports.

What advice do you have for Batten students pursuing a career in the same field?

If possible, spend time abroad through an internship, study abroad, or job if you want to work in any sort of international nonprofit. I have found that my international experiences have been very helpful in understanding the context for the work that my organization does around the world. I also recommend creating relationships with professors at Batten and in other departments at UVA, especially if there isn’t a direct course offering on your interest.

Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love exploring DC with friends, running and working out, and doing pottery!