Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Masoud (BAIS ’14)

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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.

Student Stories: Model UN Conference

img_4603Happy 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.

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“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

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“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

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Congratulations Fall 2016 Graduates!

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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

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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.

New Courses for Spring 2017

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.

Undergraduate Courses

  • 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.

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Graduate Courses

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.

Alumni Spotlight: Erika Myszynski (BAIS ’12)

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Erika Myszynski (’12) at work

Working with Woods Bagot Architects has been an incredible experience. I crafted my own position as the Design Intelligence Coordinator to support our Global Design Director. My international studies education and experiences abroad have been paramount within a global firm, where I am expected to catch a pulse on our globally significant projects on any given day. Having an international knowledge-base has empowered me to drive a global firm forward and apply uncompromising design on an international scale. Each day I work with architects and design leads that contribute to cutting-edge development in five regions and that is stimulating!

Alumni Spotlight: Edwin Carmona-Cruz, BAIS ’15

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Edwin shares what he’s been up to since graduating from USF with a major in International Studies last year. 

I have not stopped “Changing the world from here” since graduating with a B.A. in International Studies (Peace and Conflict) and minor in Latin American Studies from the University of San Francisco.

I am currently working as an Immigration Paralegal for a non-profit legal center in San Francisco’s Mission District called La Raza Centro Legal. We primarily focus on affirmative immigration applications: Citizenship, Deferred Action (DACA), U-Visa, Resident Green Card Renewals, Advance Parole etc. as well as provide Know Your Rights presentations in the community in response to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids for deportation. During my senior year at USF, I interned for this agency in their housing department, fighting against greedy landlords in San Francisco and helped with Eviction Defense legal work. La Raza Centro Legal is also a part of a city-wide collaborative called the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Education Network (SFILEN) where we have provided legal representation to more than 27,000 people in San Francisco, as well as education, and outreach during the past 10 years.

This past year, I have given presentations to classes in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and at the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship class at USF (taught by Professor Kathleen Coll), on the topic of city issues and the great work La Raza Centro Legal is doing to fight and advocate on behalf of our clients and program participants and the relevance of these types of classes in our everyday lives; undocumented or documented.

BAIS Graduates Take Top Honors

Graduation is upon us and we are excited to announce two award winning graduates from the BA in International Studies program!

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Bisma Shahbaz with Dean Camperi

Bisma Shahbaz | Dean’s Medal for Excellence in the Arts
A medal and a purse, gifts of the College, to the graduating senior in the Arts who has best exemplified, in academic accomplishments, extracurricular work, and personal life, the values of the University of San Francisco, its mission and goals.

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Julie Duffy with Dean Camperi

Julie Duffy | Finalist for Valedictorian
A medal and a purse, a gift of the College of Arts and Sciences, to the graduating senior who exemplifies the highest standards of leadership and scholarship in the Jesuit tradition. A leader in the finest sense of the word, the Valedictorian demonstrates selfless service to the University community while reflecting excellence in all academic pursuits. He or she is firmly committed to the mission of the University of San Francisco. In particular, the Valedictorian has helped to create a campus-wide environment that values each individual, heightens ethical standards, instills a passion for justice, and integrates faith with life.

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Congratulations to all winners!

International Studies student & USF basketball player Kalyn Simon (BAIS ’16, MAIS ’17) shines on and off the court

We are so proud of our USF women’s basketball team for making the NCAA playoffs this year! We are especially proud of International Studies student Kalyn Simon for both her work with the team as well as her dedication to International Studies!

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Essay by Kalyn Simon

As child I grew up watching basketball. My cousins, Dad, Grandpa, and I would gather around the television yelling play by play as if we were actually sitting in the stands. The Warriors have always been a family favorite, however March was always a special time of the year. March Madness was when the best of the best competed for the national championship. The tournament was for both men’s and women’s teams so there were constantly games for us to watch. It was pure magic watching such talented and driven athletes preform at their prime in pursuit of the NCAA championship. Entering the “Big Dance” is an experience athletes dream about their entire collegiate careers. The conditioning sessions at six in the morning were all for the glory of cutting down the nets and playing under the big lights of the NCAA.

This year instead of yelling at the television screen, my family was yelling in the stands. Winning our West Coast Conference Championship was one of the most memorable and exciting experiences I have had. As the final buzzer sounded in Las Vegas our team sprinted out onto the court and embraced one another. Smiles engulfed each player’s, coach’s, and USF fan’s faces as confetti fell from the ceiling and we each kissed the enormous golden trophy. In this moment, I along with my amazing teammates was floating on cloud nine. The only thing better than cutting down the nets that day was the realization that we were “going dancing” or headed to participate in the NCAA tournament.

From that moment on I felt invincible. I received texts and emails from my professors from the International Studies department and the greater USF community. I felt so proud to be able to represent my major and my school. The next week we found out we would be playing against Stanford. We practiced and prepared the entire week for the upcoming opponent. We approached the game as any other, but in the background we could not help but smile. We smiled knowing that together through the blood, sweat, and tears we had finally reached the next level.

Kalyn Simon Fan Club

The outcome on the scoreboard at Stanford was not in our favor, but it is an experience I will cherish for a lifetime. I am blessed to have been able to play alongside teammates just as driven and talented as the ones I admired on television fifteen years ago. It was an experience built on the hard work and endless belief of in our staff and players who refused to give up. Just as I had imagined as a child, walking onto that court under the big lights was pure magic. However this is not the end. We will continue to fight until we end up on the winning end of the NCAA tournament, a tournament of champions.

A Degree in International Studies from USF Provides the Skills Employers Want

by Dana Zartner, Chair, International Studies Department

“[L]iberal arts training – with its emphasis on creativity and critical thinking – is vital to … success ….” –Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company

A degree in international studies, whether through our Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (BAIS) major for undergraduates or our Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) program for graduate students, provides engaged world citizens with a new way of approaching global issues. Rather than through the lens of a single discipline like politics, sociology, anthropology, history, or economics, our interdisciplinary International Studies programs encourage students to explore their interests through the lenses of all these fields. Students learn to consider a variety of different theories, methodologies, and ideas that break down traditional disciplinary barriers. The interdisciplinary nature of our programs, coupled with the grounding in a liberal arts education, provides our students with critical thinking and analysis skills as well as extensive intercultural communication experience. Combined, these factors provide a bigger “toolbox” for students when it comes to life after graduation and is desirable for employers ranging from NGOs and advocacy groups, to government agencies and private corporations.

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There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few years about the benefit of a liberal arts education like that you can receive in the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in International Studies at USF. Consistently, however, employers across a wide range of fields have come out in favor of the knowledge and skills students develop through the kind of critical, global, interdisciplinary programs we offer through our department. Even in fields like high tech, which is prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area, CEOs consistently support liberal arts education (in fact one-third of Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees!). A 2013 survey of over 300 employers by the American Association of Colleges and University found the following:

  • 93% of all employers surveyed cited a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems with both short- and long- term approaches as the most important abilities they look for in new hires.
  • 95% of employers surveyed say that it is important that their new hires possess ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning.
  • Collaborative problem-solving skills, internships, and community engagement were also strongly preferred by employers surveyed.

Each one of these skills and opportunities mentioned is something that we support and fully integrate into our Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. For our Master’s students, an internship requirement and a mixed-methods research class provide experience and tools that employers value. In the undergraduate program, study abroad programs (over 100 of which have internships included), our problem-centered research methods class, and opportunities such as serving as a Peer Advisor or working on the International Affairs Review offer opportunities to hone skills and integrate them with academic knowledge. The Department also offers numerous opportunities for all of our students to develop the breadth of their knowledge and the depth of their marketable skills, including workshops on resumes, applying to graduate school, vicarious trauma, developing expertise, and (coming soon!) grant writing and advocacy development.

Upon graduation, our students are desirable in a wide variety of fields. We currently have undergraduate and graduate alumni working in a diverse array of locations, including: Amnesty International, Apple, U.S. Department of State, Twitter, UNICEF, Youtube, United Nations Mine Action Service, NASA, International Rescue Committee, Special Olympics, Mama Hope, Spanish Ministry of Education, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Fair Trade USA, Bulgarian Fulbright Commission, Morgan Stanley, and the World Affairs Council of Northern California. We also have alumni all over the world, creating a network of ISatUSF alumni who remain committed to our programs and our students. Get started on your future with us!