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October 2020 - Damaris Stroker

October 2020

Damaris Stroker

BA International Studies (International Security, Norms, and Cooperation); minor, Education for Empowerment ‘21

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

Affiliations: Global Scholars Program (Peer Facilitator), University of Michigan Housing (West Quadrangle Diversity Peer Educator), Girls Who Code (Social Media Coordinator), Ginsberg Center Alternative Spring Break (Site Leader), Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (Dancer), S.A.F.E. (Students Advocating for Freedom and Equality), Alpha Phi Omega Gamma Pi (Leadership Executive Board Member)

“The summer after my freshman year of college, I went on a Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU) program through the U-M Center for Global and Intercultural Studies (CGIS). My program centered on conflict resolution and co-resistance in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. During my program, I had the opportunity to travel to a variety of different cities and learn about the experiences of a wide range of people that hold different identities and backgrounds. 

For two weeks of my program, I lived with a Palestinian host family in the West Bank. My host family was very inclusive, especially when it came to my host sister Natalie’s wedding festivities. I spent my host family stay building community through dancing, eating, and getting to know more about Palestinian culture and people. 

I went abroad thinking I would be learning strictly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; however, my host family reminded me that complex and abstract geopolitical issues are not just hot debate topics, far removed from daily life. Throughout my host family stay, I was faced with the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not debated on the news. My host family helped me to gain a new layer of perspective and empathy in regards to political issues and how they affect people which has shaped the way I approach my International Studies degree.”

Future plans: “I am very interested in domestic education policy and immigration policy, and I hope to combine those two interest areas in the future! I hope to eventually work on policy initiatives focused on issues concerning migrant children in public schooling and their access to an equitable education. Before getting involved in policy work, I plan to teach in either an elementary school or high school classroom to gain valuable experiences that will shape my approach to policy work.”