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Students, Parents Visit SIS For Freshman, Grad Days

By Annie Lyon, CAS/MA '03

Potential SIS graduate students mill around the Katzen Rotunda on Grad Day. Photo by Annie Lyon.

Potential SIS graduate students mill around the Katzen Rotunda on Grad Day. Photo by Annie Lyon.

On Friday, April 9, hundreds of accepted freshmen and their parents milled around American University, lunched with professors, and attended seminars about life at AU, asking questions about everything from double majoring to Honors Capstone projects.

Monday, April 12, was almost a repeat of Friday, as the School of International Service (SIS) hosted Grad Day in the Katzen Arts Center, which was specifically geared toward graduate students, splitting the attendees into program advising sessions, meet-and-greets, and sessions geared toward financial aid, career advising, and course registration.

One highlight of the day was the faculty panel hosted by Professor Gordon Adams (U.S. Foreign Policy), Associate Professor Deborah Brautigam (International Development), and Assistant Professor Kristin Diwan (Comparative & Regional Studies).

“SIS is a program that really sells itself, and I like getting to have an opportunity to let students and parents see all that our students, faculty, and staff are doing, and hope that it’s what it is that students are looking to do,” explains Director of Academic Advising Jim Gilbert.

Over 125 accepted incoming freshmen for the School of International Service attended Freshman Day, learning more details about the available programs. Students and their families were able to meet an extensive number of faculty and staff in their schools: lunch tables in Bender Arena were color-coded with balloons, in order for rising freshmen and parents to meet other incoming students and chat with advisors and faculty.

The afternoon highlights were simultaneous question-and-answer sessions: the students met with current students, while Associate Dean of SIS Maria Green Cowles and Gilbert met separately with their parents. Students asked about combining majors and credits and tuition, and the discussion with the parents was not too different: the latter group asked about the job market in DC, the intimacy of classes, and learning communities.

Discussing SIS’s wealth of possibilities – finding the perfect internship, for instance – was an exciting way to wind down the afternoon. Gunperi Sisman, SIS/BA ’11, enthusiastically described some of the potential class combinations and assistance available from the advising staff.

“The sky’s the limit with SIS,” she concluded.