Loise Ndegwa '14 (International Studies minor)
Graduate student in International Relations, University of Cape Town, South Africa
What I took away from the International Studies minor is my the desire to continue to want to learn about global affairs. The esteemed professors not only passed on their interest in the topics they passionately taught on to you but also encouraged me to think very critically about those issues. Thanks to this experience, I choose to continue in a similar field for a postgraduate degree. Currently, I am about to graduate with a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Cape Town.
Greg Sutton '14 (Political Science and International Studies major)
English Teaching Assistant with the Fulbright Program in east Java, Indonesia
The opportunities that have opened up to me in my professional life have been directly due to my experiences from Elon and the International Studies department.
I majored in Political Science and International Studies. I credit a class I took my sophomore year, Dr. Brumbaugh’s “Latin American-US Relations” course, as changing my worldview and challenging my preconceived notions of the world. I regard taking this course as a sort of “awakening,” and it drove me to more rigorously question my previously held assumptions.
Throughout my time at Elon, I was involved with Model UN, and my senior year I led the Turkey delegation during its annual International Crisis Convention (ICCE), in which teams of students have to work together as a country to navigate simulated crises. I was also the secretary of Phoenix Pals, the campus organization that orients and integrates international exchange students to Elon and the American college campus experience.
I studied abroad at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. I picked up a little Turkish and even had the chance to stay and work at an English immersion summer camp for Turkish youth. Upon returning to Elon, I held a Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) Internship with the Department of State. Over the course of several months, I filmed and produced a 20-minute video in French, promoting study abroad in the United States for high school students from the Cote d’Ivoire. My senior year, I found out about another internship opening in Raleigh via an email from Dr. Swimelar of the International Studies department. Due to this opportunity, I applied for and secured a semester-long internship with International Focus, where I helped implement programs for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a State-Department sponsored exchange program that brings foreign emerging leaders to the United States for programs of travel and observation.
I wrote my Political Science senior seminar on Political Islam in Turkey. I also completed my International Studies senior seminar on Turkish identity.
After graduating I continued my work with the IVLP at Meridian International Center in Washington, DC. In my position as Program Associate, I administered and implemented 40 programs for over 250 foreign emerging leaders from 75 countries.
I am now placed in east Java as an English Teaching Assistant with the Fulbright program, helping to enhance English-language learning capacity in my area, acting as a cultural ambassador, and partnering with other State Department programs to hold lesson planning workshops for teachers in the area.
Rachel Stanley '13 (International Studies major)
Development Coordinator, Tapestri (Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy) and Graduate Student in Public Policy
Since graduation, I have worked in the non-profit world. My first post-grad job was very relevant to my International Studies degree. I worked at a small, nonprofit school for newly arrived refugee girls. I’ve moved around the nonprofit world since then, including criminal justice (Southern Center for Human Rights) and social entrepreneurship (Center for Civic Innovation). I’m now in grad school for a Master of Public Policy at Georgia State University and working at Tapestri, an organization that advocates for immigrants and refugees. Through my graduate program, I just started a policy fellowship at CARE, basically making all of my undergrad dreams come true. My degree has definitely helped me. I came in primed with content knowledge, which I know for a fact has been the tipping point in landing me a couple of jobs. I write and edit frequently, which I know Elon also helped me with.
Julie Kenneally '08 (International Studies major)
Communications at Safe Kids Worldwide
I graduated in 2008 and am currently working at an international nonprofit called Safe Kids Worldwide that works to prevent unintentional injuries to children. Safe Kids has locations in 400 communities in the US and offices in 30 countries around the world. I’m on the communications team managing on communication efforts on road safety around the world. I work with companies like FedEx and General Motors to provide education and tools for families to prevent injury and death to children on the road, including car seat safety, pedestrian safety, bike helmets, teen driving and more. I’ve been able to do things I never pictured, like helping write a Clifford children’s book, speaking at international conferences, training NGOs on how to reach parents on social media, etc.
My degree has definitely helped me in my career. I take research and synthesize it to understand issues and write educational pieces for a variety of audiences. Obviously road injuries in India or China are different from the United States, and even different communities in the US have unique needs. My major helped broaden my horizons to understand the different cultures and how to reach them.
Alana Dunn '07 (International Studies major)
University of Pittsburgh
Following graduation in 2007, I left immediately for London where I worked for six months for Foundation for International Education (FIE), a study abroad provider, where I helped place American students in internships. I returned to Elon University in 2008, spending 3.5 years in the Isabella Cannon Centre for International Studies as the Assistant Director for Short-Term Study Abroad Programs. Since 2011, I have worked at the University of Pittsburgh, where I have seen my role change from Department Administrator for the Department of German to the Fiscal Manager for the Languages and Classics departments. This year, I was nominated for the Chancellor’s Award for Staff in the Innovation in Advancing Administrative and Operational Efficency category.
My degree in international studies, and in particular, the study abroad experiences and language courses I undertook as part of the degree, were enormously helpful in securing all three jobs that I’ve had since graduating. In between my junior and senior years, I did an internship in London at FIE, which not only counted for credit, but also led to their offering me the six-month position after I graduated. I also participated in two other study abroad programs while at Elon that counted for credit and instilled in me an appreciation for how study abroad experiences can enhance the undergraduate experience. As a result, I was delighted to return to Elon and help other students to find the study abroad opportunities that best suited their interests. While a student, I took courses in French, Italian, and German, and it was my experience with German that contributed to my landing the position in Pitt’s German department. Without the flexibility of the degree in international studies, I would not have had all of these opportunities and certainly not any of these work experiences either. And on a personal note, the friends I made while working at FIE in London have become lifelong friends – I’ve gone back to visit them nearly every year (sometimes twice a year!) for the past 11 years.
Phil Maroni '07 (International Studies and Political Science major)
Information Technology Sales
Since graduating in 2007, I have been in IT Sales working primarily at a company called SHI International. We are an $8B Value Added Reseller (VAR) assisting large enterprises in their selection, deployment, and management of all their IT assets. I never thought I’d end up where I am, but, I can definitely tell you that my International Studies degree has helped me tremendously. The key area that it’s been valuable from my Elon classes and professor is during times when I must submit responses to large scale request for price (RFP) bids on equipment. When submitting these responses, it is imperative to overview a solution, it’s benefits, and how those benefits meet a need for a client. Simply put, there is a ton of writing involved. At Elon I learned how to organize my thoughts clearly, concisely, while simultaneously referencing industry based standards and best practices. These techniques have yielded immeasurable value to me and my ability to clearly connect technology solutions to my clients so they are able to understand what they are purchasing.
In addition, my job is all about data analysis and classification. I work with individuals who are data driven and utilize data to better the outcomes in all sorts of way. I work with a large healthcare network, a private non-profit SaaS company, a mortgage servicing company, and even enterprise level global pest control. Understanding how to manipulate datasets (without changing things obviously) but to deliver them to people (CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, etc…) who need to make real world business decisions that impact a customer and in turn their revenue, is awesome. I love when I get to say, “well Mr. Client, the data shows xyz to be true…it’s just what is a factual data point. Let’s stop guessing and implement some technology to alleviate this problem”.
Amy Jenkins '05 (International Studies and Journalism major)
Recreation Director at U.S. Naval Air Station, Sicily, Italy
At Elon, I chose to study journalism and international studies because I wanted to write for National Geographic, however, I ended up working for Campus Rec at Elon and really enjoyed it. Therefore, I decided to pursue a graduate assistantship with UT-Austin in Campus Rec and work toward my Masters in Higher Education. After working at Central Michigan University for a couple of years, someone told me about job opportunities doing similar things, but for the military…and overseas! I applied, got a job in Japan and the rest is history! I’ve been living overseas since 2009 working for the U.S. Navy in the area of Moral, Welfare, and Recreation in Japan, Bahrain, Djibouti, and now Sicily, Italy. I absolutely love it. My International Studies degree, along with two study abroad programs at Elon (Belize and Paris, France) definitely prepared me very well for living outside the US. Although you can never be fully prepared, I had already experience many different cultures, religions, beliefs, perspectives, etc. while living in the International Pavilion (once it opened) and studying various courses within the International Studies major. I had a very open mind because I remembered how difficult it was for many of our international students studying at Elon. They were trying to obtain a college degree in their second or third (or even fourth) language! They missed home, their family, traditional food, their holidays, and so much more. I saw things at Elon through their eyes and so when I moved overseas now it was my turn to be in their shoes.
Nick Pagano '05 (International Studies major)
After graduating, I embarked on a brief five year stint living in Las Vegas, after which, I took a job working as civilianworking Program Security for advanced programs for the US Navy. After four years with Navy I left to work for a contractor (System High Corporation) and for the last four years have been working at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) in the Security and Intelligence Directorate providing program security for some of nations most advanced national security related programs and working with some of the best and brightest scientific minds our country has to offer. During the course of my career I’ve been able to leverage the geo-political, historical, and cultural knowledge base I gained in the international studies program. This base was instrumental in further developing my insight into international military policy, defense resource strategies, the defense industrial base, and strategic protection of critical technologies, to name a few. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to support a number of interesting events including the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals in 2015 and numerous other tests/demonstrations in a multitude of environments, all of which I never dreamed I’d be a part of back in my International Studies Senior Seminar.
Josh Phoebus '02 (International Studies major)
Development Manager, American Academy of Nursing
Since I graduated in 2002, I’ve traveled around the world for work and the international studies degree I received from Elon prepared me to engage an increasingly globalized world. Whether it was spending three months in South Africa working to rebuild an orphanage for children of AIDS victims or traveling the United States working on political campaigns, the education I received in International Studies classes provided me with the tools to engage the world from an informed perspective.
My training in international studies during my first three years at Elon was critical during a study abroad internship I did in Ghana for the Center for Democratic Development as a senior at Elon. My undergraduate research project on the role that Ghana’s truth and reconciliation commission was playing in their nation’s emerging democratic development led to a one-on-one interview with then-attorney general Nana Akuffo-Addo. Akuffo-Addo is now the current president of Ghana.
You don’t have to travel the world to effectively utilize your International Studies degree though. Currently, I work as the Development Manager for the American Academy of Nursing in Washington, DC. Our members hail from nations all around the world. To be competitive in today’s job market, you have to understand how the world works beyond America’s Western perspective. Your international studies degree from Elon will give you the tools to do that.
Heather Sullivan '99 (International Studies and Spanish major)
Political Science Professor, Hamilton College
I graduated with a double major in International Studies and Spanish in 1999. I spent the first 5 years after graduating working a variety of jobs – I worked for The Carter Center in Atlanta, served as an agriculture extension volunteer in the Peace Corps in rural Honduras, and worked as a teaching assistant in a Spanish immersion kindergarten classroom in Greensboro, NC. In 2004, I began a PhD in political science at UNC-Chapel Hill. As part of this process, I spent a year and a half in Mexico researching protest and its management. My international studies coursework as well as the research skills I developed when working on my thesis and a SURF research project helped prepare me for all these endeavors. After completing my PhD in 2013, I began teaching at Hamilton College in upstate NY. I continue to do research on Latin America and have taken three groups of students to the region. The professors and advisors that I worked with at Elon still serve as my models for what it means to be an excellent teacher and mentor.