Jay Rollins, recently assigned as regional inspector general for audit with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Pretoria, South Africa, was first bitten with the international bug while serving as a missionary in Central America. “My mission included parts of Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras. I was amazed that four countries so close together geographically could be so different culturally,” Rollins said.
Upon completion of his mission, he returned to BYU, married, and changed his major to international relations. “I credit Drs. Stan Taylor and Ray Hillam for being positive influences during that time. I had the opportunity to serve an internship in Washington, D.C., where I observed the political and legislative processes—one of my most rewarding experiences,” Rollins recalled.
After graduating with a BA in international relations in 1981, Rollins began working on his MBA at BYU’s Marriott School, taking all the international courses he could. His career did not take long to begin. “Following graduation, I worked briefly as an accountant and budget director before being hired as a Foreign Service auditor with USAID in Washington, D.C. They sent me, my wife, and five children to Cairo, Egypt, where we lived for eight years. During our stay, we added two more children, who were born in local Cairo hospitals,” he said.
Rollins’ work in Egypt included conducting and overseeing performance and financial audits of USAID programs, activities, grantees, and contractors. Fond memories include the people they knew through the Church and the places they saw. “Our family had many church experiences as we worked with Latter-day Saint African refugees, visited the Holy Land, and took a group to Mt. Sinai and the Red Sea for youth conference,” he related.
Until his recent reassignment, Rollins had been serving as assistant director of the Performance Audits Division of USAID’s Office of Inspector General. “I am grateful to be able to work in a career that allows me to make a difference in the lives of poor people throughout the world, as well as provide for my own family,” he reported. Rollins is looking forward to continuing his international career with USAID.