Currently, I am working at the International Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a refugee resettlement agency that also offers many free services to immigrants and asylees in the county. I am an Employment Specialist and focus on helping immigrants and refugees locate employment. Additionally, I am working on expanding a new program called Career Pathways, which is an additional service that guides any foreign-born individual towards achieving their professional career and educational goals. This program helps people that were professionals in their home country to practice in their field in the U.S.
On another note, I am involved with 1951 Coffee Company. On the weekends, I am working as a barista at a local cafe to gain experience. In the future, I hope to help the current team secure funding for a second location and open a branch in St. Louis.
Since graduating, I haven’t had a linear career path. My only goal has been to travel and experience as much as I can of the world.
In my last semester at USF, I took Professor Juluri’s Davies Seminar on the book publishing industry, and this inspired me to move to New York City to take up an internship as the Publicity Assistant at powerHouse Books, a fine art and photography book publisher. I did that for 8 months before I found out about available teaching positions in China.
Through Marshall University, I was placed in an international school in Shanghai as a 4th grade Language Arts, Science, Geography, and Art teacher. On my weekends and holidays, I traveled Asia extensively, and by the end of the year, I had seen Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, The Philippines, Korea, and Malaysia. Between school years I spent a month living in Istanbul. Afterward, I took a job as a Language Arts/ESL tutor in Taipei. My time in Taipei allowed me to add Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau to my travels.
I moved back home to Honolulu last August to help my parents move their business. I’ve been working in retail for the last year, and with Hawaii’s strong Asian tourist economy, my travels have allowed me to connect with many different clients.
Over spring break I traveled to Colombia with fellow international studies senior Cherine Adly. There were two Arrupe Immersion trips going to Colombia as well, but we were going alone to see as much of the country as we could in the period of short time. About a week before leaving, we discovered that another senior in the IS program was also going to Colombia with family. Adriana Levandowski (BAIS ’17) was headed off a day or two before us, but we would be on an in-country flight together a few days into the trip. We took a look at our itineraries and tried to figure out where we might be able to meet up. Taking into consideration which areas we were staying in, it looked like we’d only be able to meet up once—little did we know how wrong we were.
We tried to get dinner with Adriana on the first night that we arrived, but it didn’t work out. There went our only opportunity to meet up. The next day we were all on the same flight to Santa Marta, but being on a plane in different rows didn’t afford too much time to chat. Two days later, Cherine and I had camped the night before in Tayrona National Park. We were on a beach a few hours’ hike from the entrance of the park. We were walking out of the entrance of the beach area to start on the journey out of the park when I hear my name being called. I look up, and there is Adriana, her mom, and her cousin. They had hiked for three hours to get to the beach. If they had taken just a few more minutes, or we had left a few minutes earlier we would have completely missed each other. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We only had a few minutes to say hello and offer some suggestions before we had to continue on back to Santa Marta. We parted ways saying we’d see each other back at school, not anticipating running into them again. I bet you can guess what happened next.
The next day Cherine and I wandered around Santa Marta in the morning before we were scheduled to catch a bus to Cartagena in the afternoon. We stopped at an ATM and while I waited in line, Cherine went around the corner to buy some water. While waiting, I looked up only to see Adriana’s cousin buying a coconut from a street vendor across the street. I did a double take, and then saw Adriana beside him. We had a little longer to chat this time, exchanging stories and suggestions for the city before parting ways so Cherine and I could catch our bus. But the coincidences don’t end there.
On the final day of our trip we returned to the Bogota airport. Once checked in to our flight and through security we decided lunch was in order. We entered a restaurant and were walking towards an open table when I heard my name being called yet again. Adriana and her family were eating lunch at the same restaurant and were on the same flight back to San Francisco with us. As we got seated on the plane, we also found out that one of the Arrupe Immersion groups was on the same plane as well.
Who would have thought that in a country more than twice the size of California, we would run into our fellow Don not once, not twice, but three times. Whether you want to change the world from here, or have plans to change it from somewhere else, do something because the world is a pretty small place either way and Dons are EVERYWHERE!
However, I actually left the organization in August 2016 to pursue a year-long fellowship in Germany called the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. The program is a public diplomacy initiative sponsored by the State Department and sends 75 Americans to Germany and 75 Germans to the U.S. We spent the first two months in language training. From there, we’re spending four months in university taking courses in our professional fields, and then we’ll spend five months doing an internship in a German-speaking work environment. It’s AWESOME – I love learning German!
Lauren is also one of our BAIS Alumni mentors. Contact the Department Office for more information about this program.
Happy New Year! We’re kicking off the new semester with a throwback to last year when the USF Model UN club traveled to Los Angeles, CA to participate in the third annual University of Southern California Trojans Model United Nations conference in October. Want to join them next time? Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when their first meeting of the spring semester will take place and how you can participate.
Thirteen delegates from the University of San Francisco, partially sponsored the International Studies department, represented various entities, characters, and countries in different committees during the conference. The committees ranged from general assembly groups like the World Health Organization and Social Cultural and Humanitarian Committee to specialized committees on the European Union and Los Angeles 2024 Olympics Organizing Committee. Additionally, delegates participated in “special crisis” committees like Trojan War: Greeks, Petrobras Board of Directors and the Golden Age of Piracy.
“We had an exciting weekend of debate, networking and politics. As a Model United Nations club, we participate in various MUN conferences over the country. These conferences provide us with the opportunity to research the entity we are representing. Our engagement in the debate over the topics concerning the committees enhances our public speaking, negotiation, and diplomacy skills. Diplomacy is an art, and just like any art form, it takes practice to excel in it. These conferences help us put what we learn in classes into perspective. I, for example, by representing Nigeria at the UN Social Cultural and Humanitarian Committee, on the topics of Gender Inequality and Corporate human rights, was able to apply all I learned from my Politics and Development in Africa class.” -Mustafa Zahid, BAIS ‘17
“I was glad to be a part of a Crisis Committee titled “Pirates”. I went into it unsure exactly of how pirates could possibly be tied into the themes MUN, globalization, and coalition-building. However, by the end of the conference, I had helped pass directives through long voting blocs that involved issues surrounding global free trade, colonialism, fair representation, slavery, democracy, religion, and much, much more. I would not have been able to attend an amazing event or learn so much outside of the classroom had it not been from the support of the International Studies Department and other supporters of our club… We learn so much from these conferences. Classrooms have some limitations and many time restraints, but when we are able to go to conferences like these, we write and apply our own policies and resolutions into global situations.” – Hannah Do, BAIS ‘18
“I had a great time representing Slovakia in an EU committee, where we were trying to find a common agreement on how do deal with the refugee crises coming from the Syrian civil war and North Africa. It was a very intellectually stimulating conference, and I would be happy to do it again. I was also happy that I got to bond with some of my teammates, I feel as if we left the conference stronger as a team, which is the most important part of the club.” – Gabe Greschler, Politics ‘19
The International Studies department would like to congratulate all of our Fall 2016 graduates! This is our favorite and least favorite part of year as we love to celebrate your accomplishments as International Studies students but are sad to see you leave us. We’re so proud of you, and we can’t wait to see what you do to Change the World From Here (and There and Everywhere)!
The semester is officially past the halfway point and the holidays are fast approaching! Take a moment to look back at October, and check out how the International Studies Department packed this month chock-full of opportunities to for our students to learn outside the classroom. In between studying for midterms, IS students relaxed at socials, lunches, and speaker events.
October 5- How I Got This Job Series (Abby Rubinson)
To start off the month, IS hosted the first installment of the “How I Got This Job” Speaker Series, featuring Abby Rubinson. Abby spoke to students about her own experiences working in non-governmental organizations focused on human rights and the environment, and provided some valuable tips on developing careers in non-profits. Number one on her list? Be flexible. Flaunt the diversity of your skills as an International Studies student, and show employers a willingness to go the extra mile in everything you do.
October 10- New Student Lunch: Study Abroad
Our final New Student Lunch this semester was a hit, and our adept group of Peer Advisors each shared their Study Abroad stories with new students looking to integrate real-life international experiences into the major. This lunch also highlighted all the different ways students can study abroad during their time at USF, whether they’re on a budget or crunched for time! New students left the lunch confident about the option to study abroad in ways that work best for them.
October 13- Game Changer with Omer Ismail
Our Fall keynote speaker was Omer Ismail, the co-founder of the Darfur Peace and Development Organization. Omer has worked with international relief organizations promoting human rights for over thirty years, and is the current Policy Advisor at the Enough Project. Omer discussed the work of The Sentry, an initiative founded in conjunction with the Enough Project to fight the facilitation of genocide and mass atrocities in the African continent through the use of legitimate networks of international finance and trade. Students and faculty engaged in a lively discussion of legal tools that could be used to prosecute international human rights offenders.
October 18- San Francisco State University Graduate Recruiting Fair
October also means recruitment is picking up for the MAIS program! This month, Administrative Director Christie Meno and Program Assistant Amanda Mitchell headed out to Merced for the annual graduate fair at San Francisco State University, and the San Francisco Idealist Fair. We also held an on campus info session and are pumped up to continue recruiting exciting new minds to contribute to our Masters program.
A post shared by MA International Studies (@usfmais) on
Oct 26- Human Rights & Environmental Justice
International Studies was made proud by the outstanding work of our faculty this month, and a big shout out goes to Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe for his participation in a panel discussion sponsored by the 11th Hour Project and USF’s Environmental Management Program. This event focused on the panelists’ work on building community partnerships to create more just, equitable, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. In an inspiring parting note, moderator Joe Sciortino, Executive Director of The Schmidt Family Foundation, called upon USF students to engage in this important work by mastering advocacy skills and community organizing to enact meaningful change from the ground up.
Finally, a big thanks to everyone who participated in and contributed to International Studies events this month. This the wraps up our October debrief, and look out for the next one at the end of November!
Every Friday, the International Studies Department will profile one of our amazing faculty (or staff) members so you can get to know them better and see all the amazing work our faculty and staff do!
Jenny Alcivar is currently the Program Assistant for the undergraduate major in the International Studies Department. Growing up in Virginia just outside Washington, D.C., Jenny dreamed of moving to California to work in television. During her second year of college, she met a researcher on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, who helped her get an internship on the show that summer. While continuing her college education at Santa Monica College, she interned for a commercial/music video production company while working part-time in Beverly Hills. Following graduation from SMC, she got a job at Hand Prop Room, which supplied props to movies, television shows, commercials, music videos, and even the LAPD during a counterfeit money sting operation!
All good things come to an end, and eventually, the shine of LA and working in television wore off, so Jenny decided to change her career path. While hunting for schools to study marine biology, she took a spontaneous Labor Day weekend vacation to the Bay Area. After spending a few foggy, colds day in the outer Sunset, she fell in love with San Francisco- Karl had snagged another one! Six months later, she was attending San Francisco State University to finish her bachelor’s degree, ultimately deciding to major in history and minor in political science.
While at SF State, Jenny found her nerdy niche, twice attending the Sacramento Legislative Seminar and becoming the secretary in the Political Science Student Association. The latter responsibility led her to co-chair the planning of the political science graduation ceremony, giving her skills that would later come in VERY handy. Her notable research projects included “Representation and Revolt: Peasants as an oppressed majority in medieval England,” which discussed how the rise of education among the peasant class led to a rise in revolts and a demand for rights and “Commission vs. Legislature: There Is No Silver Bullet,” a comparative case study on the methods of redistricting and the rise of partisanship. Told you it was nerdy.
The summer between her junior and senior years, she went back to DC to intern on Capitol Hill for the communication department at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). She quickly figured out that she did NOT want to be a professional political operative (it was not as fun as The West Wing made it seem), but she did get to meet Rahm Emmanuel, currently the mayor of Chicago and then-Chairman of the DCCC, and was instrumental in sending at least one corrupt congressman to jail.
Following graduation from SF State, Jenny pursued her interest in political science, specifically gender and representation, so with the help of a mentor, she applied to graduate school. After being accepted to her top choice, she made the difficult decision to leave San Francisco to move to New Jersey and attend Rutgers University. She quickly realized that graduate school was not for her and ultimately left the program. She moved back to the DC area the following year, working at CD/DVD/vinyl manufacturer. Though she loved being closer to her friends and family, she missed San Francisco! Luckily, her mentor heard that a new job was being posted at USF, and Jenny’s next career path, this time in higher education, began right here at USF.
In her spare time, Jenny loves traveling, listening to podcasts and compulsively Instagramming her food. She’s been to 44 of the 50 states (missing only Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Michigan) and driven across the U.S. seven times. She obsessively loves the San Francisco Giants, particularly first baseman, Brandon Belt. Jenny also enjoys reminding people that the Giants first started their World Series winning streak after she returned to San Francisco. Coincidence? She thinks not! Her favorite places in the world (besides San Francisco) are Disneyland, Vancouver, Manhattan, and London.
Next up on Jenny’s travel list is Ecuador to explore her father’s homeland and Australia to fulfill her dream of petting a wombat.
Are you ready for registration for next semester? International Studies is excited to announce our new courses for Spring 2017! Stay tuned to myUSF for the release of the full course schedule for spring to get all the details about class times and locations.
BAIS 390-01: Conflict Resolution and Mediation
Prof. Laleh Shahideh Conflicts occur when there is a gap between mutual understandings, whether between individuals, groups, or states. This course will examine why these gaps arise, and how to diminish them before they escalate to dangerous levels – whether that is a fist-fight, legal battle, or war. Students will explore conflict and mediation from both traditional and emerging perspectives by studying peace-building attempts and using examples from local and global situations. In particular, this course will examine the different ways language can be interpreted and how the power of language can influence outcomes. Students will gain a better understanding of their own conflict styles; how to successfully approach conflict on different levels; and, how to anticipate, prevent and de-escalate spiraling conflict situations both within their own communities and on a global scale.
BAIS 390-02: The WTO, World Bank, and IMF: International Financial Organizations, Global Politics, and Development
Prof. Sana Onayeva The aim of this course is to introduce students to the activities and role of international financial organizations like the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, as well as regional organizations, in global politics and development. The course will introduce students to structures and functions of these global financial organizations, as well as the fundamentals of international trade, investments, and their relationship to global politics. It will also address the key issues and challenges in international trade and global finance that are faced by advanced countries, developing countries, and post-communist states. Furthermore, the interdependence of domestic economies will be examined through a prism of the world financial crises that have resulted in rethinking and redesigning the system of international financial institutions. Finally, the course will cover the alternative dispute resolution and other mechanisms that States and other international actors use in resolving transnational disputes.
Joint Undergraduate/Graduate Course
BAIS 390-03/MAIS 690-04: Human Rights Advocacy Skills Prof. Dana Zartner This 2-unit course will provide upper division undergraduate and graduate students with grounding in some of the key skills used in advocacy, non-profit, and NGO work. With a particular focus on human rights, students will discuss the role and purpose of advocacy for instituting change. Students will spend most of the semester working on individual and group projects to develop skills in grant writing, budgets, advocacy plans, law and policy advocacy, targeted writing and speaking, and visual and social media advocacy. This course will require a series of short, practical assignments that students will compile into an e-Portfolio that can be used when applying for jobs and internships.
All MAIS students select two electives, in addition to enrolling in one section of Research Methods & Thesis Writing.
MAIS 690-01: Global Food and Water Security Prof. Brian Dowd-Uribe Food and water insecurity are two of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The goal of this class is to study the actors and approaches to address these challenges particularly as they relate to justice and sustainability. Our survey of actors and approaches is rooted in a historical analysis of how food and water security have been addressed in the past, and how contemporary efforts are shaped by neoliberal economic reforms, climate change, consumption patterns, technologies, institutions, social movements, geographies and geopolitics. We will explore specific case studies from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. A particular focus of this class will be on formulating strategies to address these challenges.
MAIS 611-01: Development & the Environment Prof. Christopher Loperena What is development? What are the key ideas underlying development practice? How have contemporary global phenomena—neoliberalism, climate change, and urbanization—reconfigured the aims of development? Ideas about how to “do” development rest on a number of assumptions that have their roots in both contemporary and historical economic thinking. These ideas profoundly shape the policies and practice of international financial institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, thereby creating particular kinds of policy priorities. Evaluation of development policies and programs often tend to operate within these existing paradigms, rather than asking the larger question: Why is it that we do what we do? This seminar will look at the field of development studies from an interdisciplinary perspective and evaluate the kinds of policies that have been pursued by governments, agencies and practitioners in the pursuit economic growth, poverty reduction, and climate change mitigation.
MAIS 612-01: Politics of Conflict and Peace Prof. Stephen Zunes This seminar explores the political, economic, social and environmental factors associated with transnational conflicts and assesses different approaches to conflict resolution and conflict transformation. Readings will include both theoretical approaches and a number of case studies. Each week, students will write short reflections on the readings and discuss the material covered in a seminar format, interspersed with occasional short lectures by the instructor.
MAIS 690-02: Refugees, Forced Migration, and Displacement Prof. Lindsay Gifford This class will broadly examine issues related to refugees, forced migration and displacement from a global perspective. We study the rights of refugees in international law and the institutional structures that have been developed to address refugee and related issues. We examine issues surrounding urban refugees, camps, protracted refugee situations, stateless and displaced persons and intensifying conditions of economic and environmental displacement driven by climate change. We take a critical perspective on refugee and forced migration studies, examining the contours of identity in displacement, refugee agency and activism, the efficacy of so-called “durable solutions,” and the realities of resettlement in countries of the Global North. We also discuss research ethics and practice in working with populations who have experienced trauma and displacement.
MAIS 690-03: Infrastructure as Ethics Prof. Lucia Cantero This course will look at infrastructural projects throughout the globe to consider the relationship between built environment and political economy. The readings will survey the spatial politics of institutions like shopping malls and gentrification in urban spaces, global development and mega-events like the Olympics and the World Cup, a politics of patrimony via UNESCO heritage conservation projects, competing politics around energy and resources like oil, water pumps and rationing, hydroelectric dams. We will also consider everyday media, the internet and advertising as a form of soft infrastructure for the circulation of visual culture to think about the politics of consumer culture.
LAW 700: Comparative Law and Judicial Systems Prof. Dana Zartner This course is being offered by Professor Zartner through the law school. Only MAIS students who are writing their Thesis or Applied Project on a topic incorporating comparative legal issues will be eligible to take this course as one of their electives. If you are interested, please contact Professor Zartner. This seminar explores the relationship between different cultural and historical conceptions of law, the legal institutions which develop from these cultures and histories, and how this development shapes both domestic and international legal policies of states in the world today. Law maintains a central role in every society in the world and the best ideas are often not fully possible until supported by law and policy. Yet, law and policy don’t often fulfill their aims in protecting rights, promoting justice, and maintaining order. In this seminar, we will address these issues, with a focus on understanding how institutional and cultural differences concerning the law have an impact on individuals, groups, and states themselves. In the end, this course will give you a better understanding of different legal traditions, which can greatly facilitate working with people around the world.