Staff Friday: Christie Meno

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!

Christie Meno is the Graduate Administrative Director for the MA in International Studies (MAIS) program. In this role, Christie supports all of the program’s outside-of-the-classroom functions, such as recruitment, admissions, orientation, professional development opportunities, student socials, and addressing any ongoing student concerns. Christie proudly hails from a small town in upstate New York (Sidney, New York) and joined the intrepid International Studies Department in January 2016. Before taking this post, she worked most recently at New York University in New York City where she was part of the department of Residential Life and Housing Services. Christie studied political science as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and received her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.

Christie’s professional interests include the dynamics of college student transitions and especially the first-year experience, particularly among first generation and low income students; college access and equity; and bridging the in- and out-of-classroom experiences to create seamless living-learning environments. To expand her knowledge on the first-year experience, Christie spent a summer as a National Orientation Director’s Association (NODA) intern at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Given her role at USF, Christie has shifted her focus to facilitate college access and success at the graduate student level.

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At the Great Wall of China

Christie’s professional career started at NYU where she worked with the Faculty Fellows program helping to coordinate on- and off-campus events with faculty and students. Her work in this field led to her giving several successful conference presentations. Christie then transitioned roles and worked closely with student leadership and development, overseeing the student staff training and ongoing professional development for NYU’s nearly 400 residential student staff members. This role took her all the way to Shanghai where she helped develop a training course for NYU’s residential life student staff at the NYU Shanghai campus.

In addition, her passion for increasing student access led to her involvement with the iMentor program in New York City which pairs professionals in the community with high school students as they work toward graduation and admission into colleges. Since arriving at USF, Christie has enjoyed applying her various interests into a new arena in her work with graduate students. Finally, Christie is also an instructor for the USF 101 course, a class designed to introduce new students to the USF mission and what it means to study at a Jesuit, social justice-oriented institution. This role allows her to enjoy the best of both the undergraduate and graduate student experience at USF’s beautiful campus.

In her non-working hours, Christie spends her time exploring SF by way of restaurants, museums, music venues, and walks through SF’s diverse neighborhoods. Christie loves traveling, mostly recently returning from a two week adventure in Thailand, and is a lifelong skier excited to explore the mountains of the West. She is passionate about cooking new dishes, Jackson Browne, finding San Francisco’s best Bloody Mary and scoop of ice cream, and obsessing over Michigan football (whose games often begin at 9am on the West Coast; hence, the Bloody Mary search…). While she is a definitive New Yorker at heart, Christie feels the pull of California more each day, and couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to work here in the International Studies Department.

Staff Friday: Jenny Alcivar

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!

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Jenny and (ahem) MATTHEW PERRY, Calabasas, CA.

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.

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Jenny, center left, and the SF State delegation to the Sacramento Legislative Seminar.

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.

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Communications team at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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.

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Jenny and friends on the Brooklyn Bridge (the perks of living in Jersey!)

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.

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Jenny and friend overlooking the River Thames, London.

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.

Staff Friday: Amanda Mitchell

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!

amanda-blogAmanda Mitchell is the Program Assistant for the MAIS program within the International Studies Department. Amanda is a Northern California Native and received her BA from USF in Theology and Religious Studies with a minor in Public Service and Community Engagement. During her undergraduate degree, Amanda found contemplative practices in all religious traditions to be fascinating and specifically studied the role of spirituality in social movements. Her BA thesis focus on Feminist, Indecent, and Liberation theologies and was titled, “Rebels of Normality, Revolutionaries of Theology: An Analysis of the Efficacy of Divine Love in the Movement of Liberation Through the Methodologies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Marcella Althaus-Reid”. Amanda had the longest title in her major and was quite pleased with that accomplishment.

While at USF, Amanda worked as an Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE) and managed collaborative partnerships with organizations to facilitate service-learning experiences. As an ACE, Amanda worked with a nonprofit after school enrichment program in the Western Addition for disadvantaged youth called Magic Zone. She later work with Upward Bound and supported local High School students create pathways to college who were first-generation or low-income.

Wanting to gain an international perspective on community engagement, Amanda became the first Global ACE Fellow in the Casa Bayanihan program located in the Philippines, attending Ateneo de Manila. During her time in the Philippines, Amanda also work at L’Arche Punla, an international federation of homes for the developmentally disabled. At L’Arche, Amanda learned more from the amazing individuals who lived there than in any other environment she has encountered. She also got very good at making paper products out of grass while working with the core members in their livelihood workshop.

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Amanda is also passionate about advocating for the rehabilitation of incarcerated populations and spent 4 years volunteering in the San Francisco Juvenile Hall counseling incarcerated youth. After graduating from USF, Amanda participated in a fellowship in Sacramento and worked at the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC). At the BSCC, she worked with the Facilities Standards and Operations division and assisted the team with the inspection process for California juvenile hall facilities and county jails. Though she enjoyed her fellowship, Amanda was ready to move back to San Francisco which lead her current position in the International Studies Department.

amanda-blog-3In her spare time, Amanda enjoys gardening, cooking authentic Mexican food, and long-boarding through Golden Gate Park. One of her many hobbies includes building things and up-cycling furniture. She and her father are in the process of starting a business for woodwork and tiny homes. Lastly, Amanda’s spirit animal is a Golden Retriever and she identifies as a Golden Retriever/ all dogs enthusiast!