As future International Studies majors travel across the world on study abroad programs and international internships, graduating senior Claire Dickerson might be the pilot getting them abroad safely.

“My mom is a flight attendant for American Airlines so she was part of the reason that [I was interested in the airline industry]. When I started at Michigan, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. I took my first International Studies course and loved it so I settled on the Political Economy and Development sub-plan because it combines my interests in International Studies, Political Science, and Economics so it was perfect for me,” Dickerson said.

After spending the first half of the summer in Peru through the U-M Latina/o Studies Program, Dickerson started taking flight lessons in her hometown. By combining her International Studies education, her Spanish major, and her love of flying, Dickerson hopes to apply to flight academies and become a commercial pilot.

One of her fondest moments in the major was winning the CGIS Photo Contest for her photo of her and her friend during her study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain.

“This photo of my friend Darius Moore was taken on our last day in Plaza Mayor, the heart of Salamanca, Spain. At first glance, this photo appears to portray a University of Michigan student paying tribute to the slogan ingrained in our brains, “Wherever you go, Go Blue.” Or as we say in Spanish, “Vamos Azul.” However to my U of M family in Salamanca, this picture represents a friend that was able to live his study abroad experience to the fullest, despite having to overcome difficult encounters of racism. Instead of allowing differing cultural opinions to dictate his time in Spain, Darius took the initiative to ask for help and remove himself from a negative environment to one where he felt safe to be himself. Darius inspires me not only for having the courage to stand up for his identity, but for showing me the important role study abroad plays in challenging students to carry out the legacy of the “leaders and the best” wherever they may be, from the block M on the diag to Plaza Mayor in Salamanca,” Dickerson said.

Claire Dickerson

BA International Studies (Political Economy and Development), BA in Spanish ‘20

Hometown: Champaign, IL

Affiliations: Publisher of SHEI Fashion Magazine, Board Member of the Michigan Aviators, Zeta Tau Alpha

Future plans: “After graduation I will be attending flight school to pursue my dream of becoming a commercial pilot”

Fondest memory of her experience in PICS: “Winning the CGIS photography contest last year with a photo from my summer study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain.”