David Medina is a Data Analyst on Polaris Project’s Data Analyst Program where his research is focused on Labor Trafficking in the industry of Agriculture. More specifically, David is investigating violations in the labor recruitment supply chain of the H-2A visa guest worker program and the exploitation and trafficking of undocumented migrants in agriculture across the US. David is an M.A. graduate in International Affairs from the Elliott School. In his three years in Washington DC, David has worked as a Program Manager at the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, and most recently, as a Global Security Analyst at the World Bank Group. David also worked as a security consultant for Espacios de Mujer (‘Spaces for Women’), a Medellin, Colombia-based NGO that assists and reintegrates victims of human trafficking. Prior to this, David worked as a researcher at Mahidol University’s Institute for Population and Social Research in Bangkok, Thailand, where he investigated the nexus between human trafficking and access to education in the ASEAN economic region. David has a background in teaching, coaching, and diversity workshop facilitation. He is bilingual and an avid travel and sports enthusiast.
Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I am currently an Analyst on the Data Team in Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate human trafficking. In my role, I am focused on creating an in-depth typology of the ways labor trafficking manifests in agriculture and the development of corresponding roadmaps for eradication. To do so, I use quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze data sets including network analysis, geospatial modeling, interviews with experts in the field, and survey analysis to identify actionable recommendations for anti-trafficking prevention and disruption strategies to pursue human trafficking networks wherever they operate.
What was your experience with the job search post-graduation? Can you provide any wisdom for students who will start their job search?
It was difficult but chock full of a lot of lessons. My foremost advice is to pursue the job search as if it were a full-time job; dedicating at least eight hours of your day to the research, preparation, and execution. My approach is three-pronged
- First, carefully identify and study the roles that best fit your skill set and passions. Study the organizations, learn about its people, their projects and responsibilities, and track ways to connect with people at those organizations.
- Second, network, network, and network. Sign up for events and newsletters from every major organization that is doing work in the field you want to break into. There’s no excuse not to find at least a handful of weekly events in DC. Be shrewd and do your homework on the topic of the event, and who will likely be there. Pursue networking as if it were a blind date. You want them to like and remember you—I like to wear a clothing accessory that helps to distinguish me (a colorful rose pendant).
- Finally, execution. Follow up with people who give you their business cards, make sure your CVs and cover letters are wholly curated to the role and organization you are applying to. Always remain resilient and relentless, the post-grad job search is not supposed to be an easy one.
What do you wish other people knew about your organization?
The Polaris model for combatting modern-day slavery is a paragon. This organization is made up of talented, diverse, unfluctuating, and brilliant professionals committed to the cause in a very inspiring way. It is a privilege to serve with them.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I would choose to be the American Bald Eagle. First, my existence would be protected by federal law. Second, it is a splendid creature with historical significance. Finally, it is a terrific predator with a keen eye for hunting and the ability to soar high in the sky.
The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail email@example.com.