Hometown: Westport, CT
International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); BA Middle Eastern and North African Studies; minor, Community Action and Social Change; Honors '16
University of Michigan Affiliations: Circle K, Alpha House volunteer, Michigan Community Scholars Program
“Like many Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) majors and minors, the time I spent studying abroad was hugely influential on my outlook, both academically and personally. I was immersed in a new culture, challenged to strengthen my language skills, and was exposed firsthand to new worldviews. The memories and lessons I learned abroad, in addition to the perspective I had upon returning to the U.S., are ones I will continue to keep with me. So, to be working at an international nonprofit organization that administers similar study abroad and bilateral student exchange programs for both American and international students is definitely fitting. In my job at the American Councils for International Education, I work in fundraising for scholarships and new program development so that more students can gain the international experience and tools needed in order to achieve their goals. I find it extremely rewarding to be working with students who are so passionate and motivated to build international skills and cross-cultural understanding that I know are so important from my own experiences in PICS.
The international awareness and background knowledge I gained from my International Studies classes have also been hugely applicable to my work at an internationally oriented organization. My work requires me to speak confidently and knowledgeably about the need and importance to run student exchanges and maintain academic partnerships in politically complex countries and regions like Taiwan, Kosovo, and Central Asia. The International Studies major either directly taught me about the histories and relations of the contexts where my organization runs its programs, or gave me the tools and experience needed to independently research and fully understand each context on my own. In our International Studies classes, I studied examples of how relations within and between countries can affect all levels of society and governance- whether it is economic, political, social, or some combination thereof. Having that knowledge and outlook has definitely prepared me for the work I do now, especially in the complex political landscapes we are finding ourselves in today.
In the long term, the sub-plan I was in (International Security, Norms and Cooperation) led me to find passion in the interplay of humanitarian response and international development, particularly as it relates to work being done in conflict affected communities by international NGOs and through partnerships between international NGOs and grassroots/local civil society organizations. That being said, I hope to continue pursuing careers in the international nonprofit sector. I am very happy to have begun this nonprofit exposure in my first job after graduation, and I hope to keep building skills related to nonprofit operations and management, especially at internationally focused organizations. Graduate school is definitely in my future, but I want to keep gaining practical skills and exposure from working first, so that I am able to use those experiences toward getting the most out of the graduate school program I choose to pursue.”