Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Fein (MAIS ’15)

On the day Jonathan Fein graduated from the MAIS program last December, he received a job offer from the International Rescue Committee to be a Citizenship and Financial Literacy specialist. In his position, he coordinates, manages and instructs future US citizens in preparation for their naturalization interview. Jonathan had interned with IRC last summer for the MAIS internship requirement, and they were eager to hire him back. While working for IRC, Jonathan has met and attended discussions with the Mayor of LA, Mayor of Glendale, and other leaders on topics of immigration and refugee resettlement in Southern California. Jonathan has recently been promoted to be the Citizenship and Financial Capability Coordinator, and he attributes his success at IRC-LA to the knowledge that he acquired while in the MAIS program, both in the classroom and working as a research assistant.

Over the last 7 months, Jonathan has participated in various refugee events and met SG Ban Ki Moon! He has also participated in the Los Angeles Asylum Collaborative as well as attend the LA Refugee Forum. Being one of two Spanish speakers in the office, Jonathan has been helping with the CAM-AOR program (Central American Minors Affidavit of Relationship program), working to resettle children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, who are fleeing the violence in the region and whose parents are here in the US.

Keep up the great work, Jonathan!

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Alumni Spotlight: Adanma Osakwe, MAIS ’11

Adanma Osakwe is a 2011 graduate from the Master of Arts in International Studies program. As a Nigerian-American growing up in Switzerland and attending high school at the International School of Geneva and college at the University of Massachusetts, Adanma brought a unique perspective to the classroom. Here’s a snapshot of where she’s taken her MAIS degree:

“During my time at MAIS, I completed several internships that significantly enhanced my work in the classroom. Those internships include: the San Francisco Human Rights Commission working in discrimination investigations to support fairness in housing and employment; the United States Trademark and Patent Office where I worked in the Office of the Chief Economist assembling cost-benefit analysis on copyright term extensions for the USA and Asia-Pacific; the Whitaker Group, a ThinkTank with a focus on US Foreign Investment in Africa and the impact of the African Growth and Opportunity Act; and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) in Geneva where I worked on the impact of a growing Chinese presence on sustainable development and multilateral trade in Africa. My time at ICTSD supported my MAIS Dissertation project The New Scramble for Africa and Chinese engagements in the Niger Delta. Continue reading “Alumni Spotlight: Adanma Osakwe, MAIS ’11”

Alumni Spotlight: Edwin Carmona-Cruz, BAIS ’15

Edwin Carmona-Cruz
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.

Internship Search 101

Finding the right summer internship for you. 

Summer internships are a meaningful and substantial way to gain experience, exposure, and knowledge in your field. Yet, the process can often feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips to get you on track, keep you motivated, and help you secure an amazing internship.  

Define + Refine Your Search.

Spending time mindlessly combing through websites and job postings is likely going to leave you feeling discouraged. Instead, start by thinking critically about the opportunities and experiences you want. For starters, reflect on some of the following:

  • What skills are you hoping to develop?
  • What are your research interests?
  • Is the mission of the company/organization important to you? What about the size?
  • What are your non-negotiable items?
  • Does location matter?
  • What resources do you have available?

Defining the goals and objectives for your internship, as well as other contributing factors, will give you the opportunity to focus your time and energy toward finding a rewarding experience.

Make A Schedule.

Searching for an internship while still upholding your class and other commitments can be a challenge. Creating a schedule is one of the best ways to stay focused. For example, you could consider dedicating one hour on Mondays to researching, one hour on Tuesdays to networking, and one hours on Wednesday to submitting applications. Giving yourself structure and defined tasks will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and keep you motivated.

Calendar

Let the Internet Work for You.

With a plan in place, it is time to turn to internship and job databases to help you identify possible opportunities. In particular, be sure to check out these websites:

Be creative with your filters to help you identify the best opportunities for you based on your goals and objectives.  

Utilize Your Network.

Think you need to know hundreds of people to get an internship? Not exactly. You simply need to know how to strategically network, both in person and online. LinkedIn.com is one of the greatest networking tools at your disposal. If you’re interested in an opportunity at a specific company or in a particular region, utilize LinkedIn’s search filters to find people you may know, either directly or by way of another connection, who meet your criteria. Then reach out to them! Send them a message and ask if they would be willing to spend 10 minutes talking to you about their experience. Not only will this help you better understand the industry (which will give you a leg up in interviews) but it may increase the chances that your resume makes it out of the stack and into someone’s hands.

Continue reading “Internship Search 101”

Alumni Spotlight: Kate Armstrong ’14

…my BAIS thesis challenged me to consider collaborative approaches to current public health systems.

I am Kate Armstrong, a proud Alumni of the International Studies Department at the University of San Francisco! As a pre-medical student, I have been taught how to understand the tools needed to diagnose, and hopefully, cure the disease. But I want to do more than cure the disease, I want to prevent it. Based on this passion, I made the decision to not only learn what is going on inside the body, but to become globally aware of the many possibilities that may cause a person to suffer. That same decision resulted in me switching my major to International Studies, which has lead me to some incredible opportunities in post-grad life.

Kate Armstrong
Recently, I have been accepted into a fellowship program through an amazing organization, Mama Hope. Mama Hope is a nonprofit that trains impact entrepreneurs from around the world and partners them with visionary leaders in developing countries. Together, they fund and build community-identified sustainable projects using local resources that help lift communities out of poverty. The knowledge I gained from required BAIS courses lead me to seek out organizations as sustainable and considerate as Mama Hope. For instance, my BAIS thesis challenged me to consider collaborative approaches to current public health systems. This holistic perspective was why I have been given the responsibility to create a public health and sexual education curriculum for one of Mama Hope’s partners, Flying Kites School and Orphanage. I am finally getting the chance to not only cure, but prevent future suffering.

Thank you USF, and most definitely, the BAIS team! I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained while on my way to impacting real change in communities and beyond.

 

(Compelled by Kate’s journey? Consider supporting her work by clicking here!)

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!