Weeks of Transformation: My First Semester Experience


“Is Nairobi your first name?” the Wells Fargo banker, who was assisting me to open a checking account, asked. The gentleman was studying my passport!

In Kenya, when you meet my first name, you will demand my surname. And when I submit both, what often follows is a shock. Dan! Basil! Dan Basil! Traditionally, my name does not reveal my Kenyan identity, whether at home or in the U.S. Honestly, this is an issue I have struggled with. In their efforts to cushion their child from the storms of negative ethnicity, my parents must have settled on the ‘neutral names’. In the process, I lost part of my identity.

At the MAIS Program, I met classmates faced with similar challenges. At this point, I feel confident that MAIS is not just preparing us to re-define ourselves but equipping every student with the right tools to sufficiently change the world from here.

Continue reading “Weeks of Transformation: My First Semester Experience”


Leading by Participating, Learning by Contributing

It is roughly seven months since selected BAIS students participated in the Model United Nations Conferences in different cities – but the experiences from those forums continue to expand the vision in them. In this page, we highlight the gatherings of 2017 and 2018, with students reflecting on their experiences as delegates at the Northwest Model United Nations in Seattle, the Barkley Conference, and the YMCA Conference.

Continue reading “Leading by Participating, Learning by Contributing”

Congratulations Fall 2016 Graduates!


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)!

B.A. in International Studies graduates

Noor Tarik Al Haidary Melinda Bernard David Chavez
David Garrett Kendall Kincaid Nabila Maharani
Hoang Minh Nguyen Macie Roorda

M.A. in International Studies graduates

Fardowsa Abdullahi Azamat Baiyzbekov Keith Baskerville
Belguun Bat-Erdene Daniela Carina Bermudez Nicole Campos
Andrew Chen Tala Dayyat Cristina Del Puerto
Brian Dexter Isabel Cristina Duarte Vasquez Dakota Floyd
Narek Ghazaryan Briawna Gillespie Deeti Gupta
Marianne Hoeidal Sarai Anne Ikenze Rida Kazmi
Marcus Littman Magdalena Martinez Francesca Mateo
Chalwe Mwansa Yu Namie John Paul Posis
Audrey Purnama Fabiola Ramirez Tavui Harley Roe
Meron Semedar Anna Takkenberg Tengxiang Xu
Joseph Young Jose Zacarias


October in Review

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.

dsc_0013October 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.

dsc_0122October 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.

img_7836October 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.

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!

September in Review

September was a busy month for the International Studies Department! We welcomed 77 new undergraduate majors and 36 grad students to the department as well as hosted socials and academic events.
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We started off the month with a department-wide social on campus and had a huge turn out. Undergrad students and grad students had the opportunity to mingle with faculty and staff over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. It was a great to get know so many of our students in a more relaxed setting!

img_6599The MAIS students had the opportunity to see the Giants beat the Cardinals in a 8-2 victory, and it wouldn’t have been a true SF baseball game social if there wasn’t tons of garlic fries.

photo-sep-23-7-18-40-pm-2The department also gathered at a USF Men’s soccer game and was able to witness our very own undergrad, David Garrett, score the winning goal against Stanford! Go Dons!

153We also hosted our annual BAIS Alumni Reunion at the local brewery, Barrel Head. It was a huge success and was a great networking opportunity for our Seniors to connect with BAIS Alums.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-5-36-52-pmOn the activist side, students from Professor Zartner’s Human Rights and Global Change class stood in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux #NoDAP.

img_1141In true International Studies fashion, the team help support a day long conference on Eritrea. The conference brought together Eritrean activists, scholars, and community members to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Eritrea’s independence and to discuss the current state of human rights in the country.

img_1236Lastly, we rounded out the month with our fall Colloquia series featuring the fascinating research of Professor Stopnitzky on the correlations between traditional agricultural practices and male-skewed sex ratios in countries around the world.

There’s always something in the International Studies department, so check out our events calendar or stop by the department office to find out more!