newsId: 1E50CAF9-5056-AF26-BE6181A9ED500F65
Title: Networking Opportunity in New York City
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Want to network with AU alums, visit the several major media organizations, and learn more about your chosen field?
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 10/30/2017
Content:

The Career Center, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations invite you to participate in the NYC Site Visit Trip January 9th-10th, 2018.

About the Trip:

Designed for career exploration and in-depth networking, the trip offers a select cohort of up to 25 students exposure to career paths and industry trends as well as exclusive access to AU alumni living and working in New York City.

Attend in-depth site visits with a range of organizations over the course of the two days and have the opportunity to engage with New York-based alumni at a student-alumni networking dinner on January 9th. To apply, search 129952 in Job Postings in AU CareerWeb for more information. Application deadline: Monday, November 13

Draft trip schedule below.

Day 1
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Site 1 (arrive by 8:15 AM; initial checkin)
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Site 2 (arrive by 11:30 AM)
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Site 3 (arrive by 2:30 PM)
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM Student-Alumni Networking Event

Day 2

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Site 4 (arrive by 8:30 AM)

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM Site 5 (arrive by 11:00 AM)

2:30 PM - 4:40 PM Site 6 (arrive by 2:00 PM)

Confirmed host sites for January 2017 were:

  • CNN
  • Dow Jones
  • FOX News
  • MWW
  • Nickelodeon
  • UEG

Eligibility Requirements:
Sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students interested in pursuing a career in marketing, advertising, public relations, journalism, television, film, or a related field are eligible to participate. Additionally, students must be in good academic and judicial standing

Application Materials

You must submit these four documents for your application to be considered.
(1) Cover Sheet (See the "Attachments" section below)
(2) Resume
(3) An unofficial transcript that demonstrates a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 (transfer students/first-year graduate students may submit their most recent transcripts from their previous institutions).
(4) Statement of purpose in 600 words or less

  • Give us an overview of what makes you tick, who you are, and where you're headed.
  • Describe what you hope to get out of the program and your career goals.
  • Describe what you have to offer that makes you stand out as someone who will make the most of the experience.
  • Make sure you name is listed at the top
  • Proofread your work!

Applications will be accepted through AU CareerWeb/Kogod CareerSource (search for position number 129952 on either page) until Monday, November 13th at 11:59 PM.

As space is limited, the trip fills quickly. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received and evaluated on the quality of the application materials. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate a career focus and professionalism through the application process. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. It is selective, and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance in the program.

Students will be notified of their selection status by Monday, November 20th.

Acceptance to the program is conditional. There are some milestones that must be met before you can officially enroll. These include:

  • Submit a $100 non-refundable registration fee* (cash, credit, or debit).
  • Attend the pre-departure orientation on Tuesday, November 28th, Time and Location to be determined.
  • Meet with an SOC Career Advisor to review your resume
  • Submit your approved (by an SOC Career Advisor) resume to smitc@american.edu.
  • Clearance of all restrictions to registration

All participants are responsible for making travel and lodging arrangements, as well as for all meals unless otherwise indicated in the final schedule.
Questions? Contact Samantha Mitchell (smitc@american.edu)

Tags: Career Center,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 1E939EE6-5056-AF26-BE1E2B7AB675804E
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 8E217626-5056-AF26-BE768F1492A4A559
Title: First-gen students among those recognized by Fulbright UK Summer Institutes at AU
Author: Kara Constantine
Subtitle:
Abstract: Four AU students have been recognized by the US-UK Fulbright Commission, three of whom are first-generation college students.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 06/29/2017
Content:

Four AU students have been recognized by the US-UK Fulbright Commission, three of whom are first-generation college students. 

The US-UK Fulbright Commission was created by treaty in 1948. Its UK Summer Institutes introduce academically outstanding freshmen and sophomores to the history and culture of the United Kingdom, as well as its higher education system. Each summer institute takes place at a different UK university and is devoted to a special academic theme that capitalizes on the culture and resources of the surrounding area. Preference is given to candidates with little to no foreign travel experience.  

The Commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process, looking not only for academic excellence (including a minimum 3.7 cumulative grade point average) but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright program, and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.

Fewer than 10% of applicants are accepted. The Office of Merit Awards (OMA) and faculty mentors helped guide AU’s students through the application process. 

Amanda Hodes, CAS/BA ’20, was selected to participate in the summer institute at the University of Sussex. A double major in literature and music, she shared her excitement about her upcoming program.

“I had invaluable support from my faculty mentors (Professor Rubenstein and Professor Sha) and the Office of Merit Awards. I'm excited to study the social implications of British children's literature and learn about the culture of many of my favorite authors,” she said.

While at AU, Amanda has served as a volunteer juror for the Scholastic Writing Awards, editor for American Literary, and DJ for WAMU. Aside from her academic pursuits, Amanda is also a classically trained guitarist. She received guidance on her application from Liz Veatch, a consultant to the Office of Merit Awards.

Maureen Smith, SPA/BA ’20 was selected as an alternate for the Fulbright-School of Oriental and African Studies program. She said the rigorous application process has helped prepare her for future scholarship and career opportunities.

“[It] taught me the power of telling my story, encouraged me to reflect on my interests and goals, and challenged me to trust my capabilities,” she explained.

Emily Smith, CAS/BA ’20, was an alternate for the Fulbright-AIFS Globe Education Summer Institute. She said the essays, interviews, and soul-searching that accompanied the application process resulted in personal growth.

“The Office of Merit Awards helped push my application to the next level,” she said. “I am fortunate to have my family, professors, and friends supporting me.”

Hodes, Maureen Smith, and Emily Smith are all first-generation college students.

Alexis Braun, SIS/BA ’20, was a finalist for the Fulbright-School of Oriental and African Studies program.

AU has had at least one summer institute participant each year since the program began in 2012.

Tags: Career Center,Office of Merit Awards
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 9795B3BD-5056-AF26-BEAEC1641CB685C6,97B36E4C-5056-AF26-BEB1B11854157BF0
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 163E30BD-5056-AF26-BE0FD6E79D0AD9B6
Title: Students Earn Fulbright, Truman Scholarships
Author: University Communications
Subtitle:
Abstract: Senior Scovel, Juniors Ivers and Snead have big plans for graduate studies.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 04/23/2017
Content:

Three AU students—one senior who will soon graduate from the School of Communication (SOC) and two School of Public Affairs (SPA) juniors—are the recipients of Fulbright and Truman scholarships.

Fulbright Recipient Shannon Scovel

Shannon Scovel, a graduating SOC senior on AU’s Swimming and Diving Team, plans to use her Fulbright award to pursue a master's degree in gender studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

Scovel completed a capstone on women in sports media and will build on that project while in the U.K. Her thesis will assess the representation of women in sports media during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics, comparing how the coverage of women has changed over the past 12 years.

Read more about Scovel’s accomplishments and post-graduate plans.

Truman Recipient Lexi Ivers

After she graduates from AU, SPA junior Lexi Ivers, one of AU’s two Truman recipients, has her heart set on attending Harvard Law School.

Specifically, Ivers wants to participate in Harvard Law’s child welfare clinic so she can use the law to assist foster children.

Her decision is partly drawn from personal experience. “Adoption law literally transplanted me from poverty to a really incredible family,” she says.

Read more about Ivers’s accomplishments and post-graduate plans.

Truman Recipient Shyheim Snead

Shyheim Snead, also a Truman recipient and SPA junior, says his post-graduate plans are to earn his master’s degree in public policy.

Snead, AU’s student trustee and a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar, grew up in Bridgeport, Conn., an area that has been beset by economic distress, crime, and struggling schools.

“Statistically, I’m not supposed to be sitting here,” said Snead, who credits his success to his family and faith.

After earning his graduate degree, he is considering nonprofit work on urban poverty and educational access issues.

Read more about Snead’s accomplishments and post-graduate plans.

Tags: Athletics,Career Center,Media Relations,Office of Merit Awards,Scholarship,School of Communication,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 48B73013-5056-AF26-BE88DD3CA8D9357A
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 41F2F190-5056-AF26-BE81C0D5844D0C32
Title: Service with Compassion: Two AU Students Named Truman Scholars
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Lexi Ivers and Shyheim Snead will get scholarship money for graduate education.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 04/14/2017
Content:

Every year, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation honors a select group of students for their leadership, academic achievement, and commitment to public service. American University recently learned that not one, but two, of its students earned this distinction. Lexi Ivers and Shyheim Snead, both juniors in AU’s School of Public Affairs, are 2017 Truman scholars. As the student awards are designated by state, Ivers is representing her home of Delaware and Snead was selected for his native Connecticut.

“It was [Truman’s] vision to promote young people to enter careers in public service, broadly defined. The criteria are academic excellence, outstanding leadership potential, and the desire to be a change agent,” says Paula Warrick, the director of the AU Office of Merit Awards. “I think these are qualities that AU aspires to see in the members of its student body, because we have such a strong public service ethos.”

Each Truman scholar receives up to $30,000 to use towards graduate study. The students will partake in a week of activities at the Truman presidential library in Independence, Mo., and they’ll also have access to career and graduate school counseling. Next year, they’ll get a summer-long internship opportunity in Washington, D.C.

Warrick effusively praises both Ivers and Snead. “Compassion is a trait they have in common, and a commitment to something beyond themselves,” she says.

Lexi Ivers

When Lexi Ivers got the call about her scholarship, she was in the Ward Circle Building. Elated over the call, she told one of her mentors, associate dean and professor Saul Newman. He hugged her, and Ivers then shared the great news with SPA Senior Associate Dean Vicky Wilkins and SPA Dean Barbara Romzek. “The whole SPA office was so supportive. It was great to be there when I found out,” she recalls.

Lexi Ivers.

Lexi Ivers.

It was an apropos way to celebrate her achievement, as Ivers knows the value of people who care. It all starts with her family.

Born in Philadelphia, Ivers was in foster care until she was two and a half years old. Her parents then adopted her, and she mostly grew up in southwest Philly and the Old City neighborhood. “My parents were the best parents you could ever have. They’re so loving and so supportive,” she says. “I know my life would have been so different had I not been adopted.”

That question—“What if I had stayed in foster care?”—would stick with Ivers throughout her life. And she is now devoting her energy to ensuring that other children find caring families.

During her Philadelphia high school years—her family has since relocated to Wilmington, Delaware—she worked with at-risk children in foster care. While at AU, she started her own organization, Junior Youth Action, D.C., that provides mentorship, professional development, and mental health services for local foster care kids.

“Having stable, loving parents—that’s a privilege, and not everyone has it. Unfortunately, some children were born into really terrible circumstances, and that can set the trajectory for their life. So we try to combat that, and we try to provide a family structure,” she explains.

She’s enlisted other AU students as Junior Youth Action mentors. Since foster children are sadly accustomed to disappointment, Ivers scrupulously chooses mentors who are fully committed to the job.

Ivers is a law and society major with a public administration and policy minor. With her scholarship money, she’s hoping to attend to Harvard Law School—which has a child welfare clinic—and use the law to assist foster children. Again, this decision is partly drawn from personal experience. “Adoption law literally transplanted me from poverty to a really incredible family,” she says.

In her current academic pursuits, she’s working with Douglas Klusmeyer on an independent study on the legal history of the slave trade. Even as she’s currently mentoring young minds, she’s grateful for the tutelage of professors such as Klusmeyer and Newman.

“I’ve had lots of professors who have pushed me beyond just memorizing,” she says. “I’ve really been pushed to think.”

Shyheim Snead

Prior to this announcement, Shyheim Snead already had some impressive achievements at AU. He’s in the prestigious Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars program. As student trustee, he introduced incoming AU President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to the AU community in January.

Shyheim Snead.

Shyheim Snead.

Still, he was shocked about being named a Truman scholar, one of 62 students out of 768 university-nominated candidates. “I felt all the emotions of my family. I thought of being a first-generation college student, and coming from a fairly low-income family. I felt the weight of all that they had sacrificed for me,” he explains. “It was amazing.”

Snead grew up in Bridgeport, Conn. The area has been beset by economic distress, crime, and struggling schools, he notes. “Statistically, I’m not supposed to be sitting here,” he says about discussing his Truman scholarship.

Yet his mother and grandmother stressed the importance of education, and he received guidance from teachers along the way. “I think it was the combination of my faith and my family that really propelled me here,” he says.

Snead arrived on the AU campus in 2014, which turned out to be fortuitous timing. The D.C. mayoral race was underway, and he was inspired by candidate Muriel Bowser’s inclusive message. He volunteered on her campaign, worked on her transition team, and later joined the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services.

He also feels indebted to his fellow students in FDDS. “That program has provided me with the space to bounce ideas off of people, and be challenged, and to challenge myself,” he says.

Snead is a political science major, with a minor in education studies. In a transformative experience, he led an Alternative Break in New Orleans—specifically looking at access to education in a post-Hurricane Katrina environment.

Through that passion for education, he’s grappling with how life outside the classroom can influence student achievement. After graduation, he plans to earn his master’s in public policy, with an interdisciplinary focus on urban communities.

Long term, he’s considering nonprofit work on poverty and educational access issues. And while hoping to help other cities, he’d like to return to Bridgeport.

“At what point are we going to attack these problems when cities like this are left out of the national conversation? I see a void in that space, and I think I could play a role in the community.”

Tags: Career Center,Education,Featured News,Office of Merit Awards,School of Education,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 43E5C547-5056-AF26-BEB5E4BC1C4E0CAB
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 7E9B5410-5056-AF26-BE2868C9C6F40AAB
Title: Classrooms Off Campus: Four AU Students Talk About the Internship Experience
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Internship opportunities abound in the D.C. area.
Topic: Internships
Publication Date: 04/10/2017
Content:

For many American University students, internships are an integral part of their education. According to We Know Success numbers, 89 percent of recent undergraduates participated in an internship during their time here.

With so many students getting real-world job experience every week, this is just a snapshot. Here are four AU students with four exciting internships this semester.

Andrea Bellorin, the ONE Campaign

Andrea Bellorin is now a policy intern in the ONE Campaign's Washington D.C. office. Since she is ultimately planning to attend medical school, working in the policy realm seems like an unlikely decision. Yet she's cared about the global anti-poverty organization's mission for many years.

The Venezuelan-born Bellorin grew up in Miami, Fla., and she was even in a small ONE Campaign club in high school. And now she's seeing, up close, the all-encompassing nature of the group's work. "They put their hands in everything-from debt recovery to HIV/AIDS treatment plans for third world countries," she says.

Bellorin-a junior public health major with a minor in biology-also believes this work can benefit her as a doctor. "You learn how government funding is affecting health, and how many people are living in poverty. Things like that are all health determinants," she says.

She notes that the ONE Campaign has given her real responsibilities, and she's impressed by the enthusiasm of her colleagues. "Everyone is so passionate about what they are doing. Everyone genuinely seems so happy to come into work every day," she says. "It's really become like a dream internship."

Camille Viollet, the Motion Picture Association of America

Set to graduate this May, senior Camille Viollet is getting a valuable education in and out of the classroom. She's currently working as a press intern for the Motion Picture Association of America. She's doing a variety of tasks, including writing for the MPAA's online magazine, The Credits. The latter role even afforded her the opportunity to write about the Oscars.

MPAA has exposed her to so many different facets of the film world. "It has helped teach me a lot of skills," she says. "This just really helps give you a full view of the industry."

Throughout her undergraduate years, Viollet has made the most of her AU education. In addition to earning her film and media arts degree ( School of Communication), she's minoring in cinema studies (literature, College of Arts and Sciences) and business and entertainment ( Kogod School of Business).

"I've met some amazing student filmmakers, and I've had some great professors. So I definitely have been able to dip my toes in a lot of different areas of film during my time here," she says.

Viollet grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and she plans to return to New York after this summer. Long term, she'd like to work for a film production company.

"I think it's important, as a young person, to really just intern and work in a variety of sectors in whatever field you're interested in," she says. "You can get a feel for what you do like and what you don't like. And you can be surprised about the things that interest you along the way."

Danny O'Rourke, the Metropolitan Police Department

With Baltimore roots and a focus on law enforcement, Danny O'Rourke gets this kind of question a lot: "Is police work really like what you see on The Wire?" O'Rourke only recently started watching the show, and from his previous time working in the Baltimore criminal justice system, he thinks The Wire is realistic. Other TV shows? Not so much.

Right now, O'Rourke is interning with the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. And he says nothing quite prepares you for the hands-on experience you'll get there. "There's also just a lot of jargon, and when you walk into one of those offices, it's a whole other language," he explains.

O'Rourke is part of a sexual assault unit in the criminal investigation division. He helps with smaller tasks and administrative work, while shadowing detectives during investigations of sexual assault crimes against adults.

"Not only are you learning about the law, but you spend a lot of time with the detectives. So you can kind of grill them about whatever you want," he says. "Generally, they're pretty friendly and open to questions."

O'Rourke grew up in Baltimore County, Md. He previously worked in both the Baltimore County state's attorney's office and the Baltimore City public defender's office. "The more I did the criminal side of it, the more I wanted to be closer and closer to the people involved," he says. "I realized that I wanted to be the person putting those facts together and conducting the investigations."

As a sophomore justice and law major in the School of Public Affairs, he appreciates getting a strong academic foundation in his field. "The program is very, very good, and I certainly love the opportunities it's given me to explore different careers in D.C."

Ama Ansah, the National Archives

Life, like college, can be utterly unpredictable. A couple summers ago, Ama Ansah was with a friend visiting Washington. She'd been to plenty of museums-her mom is an artist, her dad a history professor-but she'd never been to the National Archives. When her friend sheepishly mentioned an interest, Ansah said, "Let's go!"

Now, as an AU student earning her master's-public history concentration, she's interning at the National Archives. "It's kind of crazy to me to think, 'Oh yeah, that thing you saw two years ago? You're going to be working on something like that, in that same place,'" says Ansah.

And the experience at the National Archives has completely lived up to her expectations. She is a social media and online engagement intern, and she's working on the National Archives' upcoming exhibit on the Vietnam War.

Ansah grew up in Harrisonburg, Va., and she always had the inclination to study history. Even as a kid, she would research the French Revolution and read first-person accounts of the Holocaust. She earned her bachelor's degree at University of Richmond, and AU's public history program seemed like a natural place to pursue her chosen field.

"I was comparing what I saw at other institutions in the area, up and down the East Coast," she recalls. "Honestly, the location, the opportunities that we get to do internships like this, made [AU] really stand out to me."

Tags: Career Center,College of Arts and Sciences,Featured News,Intern,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 7FE7D709-5056-AF26-BE2AB465C7389590
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 414CC0FB-5056-AF26-BE7918B6069DB140
Title: AU Students Lay the Groundwork for Media and Marketing Careers in NYC
Author: Asvatha Babu
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU students went on an exciting trip to New York city in January where they interacted with alumni in the media and marketing fields.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/21/2016
Content:

For Kogod MBA student Benae Mosby, the 2016 NYC Site Visit was her first trip of the new year to New York City, but definitely not her last.

The annual January trip, co-sponsored by the School of Communication (SOC), Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Kogod Center for Career Development, and the AU Career Center, connects current students with alumni at media and marketing companies for career exploration, networking, and informal mentoring.

Mosby is enthusiastic about the contacts she made during site visits and receptions.“The trip [was] great networking practice,” she says. “The more you talk to alumni, the more you realize [they’re] actually interested in what you bring to the table.” Her follow-up visit to the city? Informational interviews with alumni at Nickolodeon.

Since the launch of the NYC Site Visit in 2003, hundreds of American University students (sophomores through graduate students) have taken advantage of the opportunity to visit high-profile sites like FOXNews, Nickelodeon, Ketchum, Inc., ABC, AMC Networks, United Entertainment Group, MWW Group and more, and to network with alumni in the New York City region.

Alumni site hosts also benefit from meeting current AU students and seeing what they have to offer. Bill Reihl (SOC/BA ’94), partner and managing director at Ketchum, Inc., praised the students’ tenacity. “They asked smart questions and really pressed to get practical advice on networking and how to show their smarts in the interview.”

“It’s exciting to see the students’ thirst for knowledge and experience,” says David F. Caruso (KSB/BS ’97), chief operating officer at United Entertainment Group. “There’s no doubt these interactions … will serve them well in the future.”

Alum Jason Gold (SOC/BA ’05), vice president of production at AMC, agreed that the trip would prove invaluable to students. “I’m often asked how to gain entry into the entertainment business, and my answer is always the same: start small. Internships and site visits like this one are a great way to lay the groundwork for your career.”

For many students, the trip stoked or sparked their fire for careers in the city and in the fields of media and marketing. Emilie Ikeda, a broadcast journalism major in SOC,plans to pursue a journalism career. "I [can] see myself living and working in the city. It was so memorable to be on the set of shows like Good Morning America and tour these amazing buildings. I would definitely encourage more AU students to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Students hoping to attend the 2017 New York City Site Visit Trip will be able to submit applications beginning October 26 at 9:00 a.m.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Alumni Relations (KSB),Communication Studies,Communications and Marketing,Kogod School of Business,Sch of International Service,School of Communication,School of International Service,SIS Career,SIS international communication link,SOC Graduate Student Council,SOC Undergraduate Council
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 41F300A8-5056-AF26-BE2398A7A23EEB05
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 444D1831-5056-AF26-BE9A805EEEA73AC0
Title: The Work of Finding Work
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Talking with the Career Center about what students can expect from the job search.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/06/2016
Content:

Remember that cheerful Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! that relatives gave as a graduation gift? For many graduating students, entering the 21st century job market feels more like frighteningly staring into the abyss. The job search can be an exasperating process, and even the most qualified applicants experience frequent rejection.

Yet, as advisors in the American University Career Center can attest, students finishing their AU degree have reasons to be optimistic. In addition, just knowing what to expect about the job search can help make this experience a little easier. To get a clearer picture of the job hunt, University Communications talked with two Career Center staffers: Brian Rowe, director of experiential education, and Nathan Slusher, director of outreach and marketing.

This Takes Time

Rowe and Slusher stress that you won’t find a job overnight. Rowe says it usually takes non-business majors about three to six months to find an entry-level job. If you’re looking for a position that requires a government security clearance, it could take up to 10 months.

“They’re going to send out a lot of applications, and they’re not going to hear back at all from a lot of those places. They might get an auto-generated confirmation email,” says Rowe.

Graduating seniors should come to expect this, Rowe says, but they shouldn’t get discouraged. “You’re not alone. This is very typical.”

Trains, Boats, and Battling the Elements

Rowe also explains how job searching is fundamentally different from what students have previously experienced. For many AU seniors, each step in their education has been linear. Now, it’s somewhat random and unpredictable. “Ever since students were in kindergarten, they’ve known what they were doing the next year. They’re given a syllabus that reads, ‘Here’s how you’re successful in this class,’” he says.

“When they come to graduation, it’s sort of like a train track and the track runs out,” Rowe says. By contrast, he adds, post-graduation is more like sailing a ship, battling the elements of wind, water, and stormy weather.

Networking, in Small Steps

One way to decrease the number of employment rejections is by increasing your network base. Again, this requires patience.

“Some people are extroverts who thrive on going into a large room and shaking hands,” says Slusher. But other people find large networking events intimidating, and Slusher advises them to start small and manage expectations. “You go in there, and you come out with one or two people you’ve talked to, and you’ve got business cards, and you’ve had a real conversation. That’s a successful night, even though there’s a hundred other people in the room,” he says.

This may seem daunting, but some students don’t even realize the networks already within their grasp. “Human beings are natural networkers,” says Rowe. You have family, friends and classmates, as well as acquaintances from civic organizations and churches. “Everybody knows how to do it, but then sometimes you need to focus your network and build it in a certain area when it comes to a career,” he notes.

Job Prospects and Resources

Yes, there is great news to report: AU students have a strong track record in finding employment and bolstering their career prospects. The We KNOW Success website finds that, six months after graduation, 91 percent of all recent undergrads are working, attending graduate school, or doing both.

Based on Grad Census data that feeds the We KNOW Success site, Career Center officials will proactively offer assistance to recent AU grads still seeking employment. And current AU students have plenty of job-seeking resources at their disposal.

The Career Center sponsors four networking receptions throughout the year, connecting alumni and employers with students from the School of Education at CAS, School of Communication, School of International Service, and School of Public Affairs. Kogod School of Business and the Washington College of Law have their own career offices.

The Career Center also runs an Employer-in-Residence (EiR) program, bringing in one or two employees of an organization to meet with individual students for 20-minute appointments. Since these meetings are not directly associated with a particular job or internship, it takes the pressure off students and allows them to get unfiltered career advice.

Based on survey results from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Career Center emphasizes the top six skills that employers are seeking. They communicate this to students, who then have a firmer grasp of what’s needed in today’s job market. The six skills are written communication; oral communication; collaboration and teamwork; quantitative and applied technology; critical thinking and analytical reasoning; and decision-making and ethical judgment.

“It’s a surprisingly simple, but very effective way to get everybody on the same page. Employers are looking for these skills. You have these skills. Not only are you honing them through all of those activities, but you’re honing them in your classes as well, through research experience and group work,” says Slusher.

Tailoring Your Message

The center offers plenty of do’s and don’ts about securing employment. But one thing should seem quite familiar to students who’ve spent the past four years in college: Do your homework! Read up on your prospective employer, and tailor your cover letter to that organization’s needs. Even following that employer on Twitter can make a difference.

“One piece of feedback we get from employers is that the students who most impress us are doing their research about us. They know about us,” says Rowe. “It’s not just a random application. The students are making this really informed choice.”

Tags: Career Center,Featured News,Office of Campus Life
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 4536A338-5056-AF26-BEC6D273A874D6B1
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 7D261F51-5056-AF26-BE124BBEAC4098CF
Title: SIS Alumnus Brings Juggling to the Youth in Central African Republic
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: Richard “Alec” Ross, SIS/BA ’08, joggles his way through Central African Republic.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/10/2015
Content:

Among the thatched huts and hardened mud structures alongside a dirt road surrounded by sprawling forest of the Bocaranga compound in Central African Republic, Richard “Alec” Ross, SIS/BA ’08, spends his free time “joggling” through the hilly paths with a flock of little jogglers following behind.

Joggling, Richard’s ability to juggle and jog simultaneously, is bringing Muslim and Christian youth together for shared and structured recreation. “The #CARJugglingClub pulls together hundreds of Bocaranga children to learn how to juggle,” Richard says. “In cities where street children roam or in refugee camps, where former pupils seek new forms of recreation, learning how to juggle immediately unlocks a young person's potential.”

Richard explains the impact of juggling with the Bocaranga children, which requires very little on their part – nothing more than fruit, rocks or discarded tennis balls. The activity presents a child with an enticing challenge achievable only through practice and concentration.

As program manager for the International Rescue Committee, Richard is overseeing the Economic Recovery Development program, an effort in L’Ouham Pende province of CAR. Financed by the European Union, the 13-month project, called the Fond ‘Bekou’ (‘Patience’ in Sango), aims to jumpstart various economic activities among women’s groups that, for reasons related to the 2013 Christian and Muslim conflict, have lost vital resources and direction.

In addition, Richard and his team work closely with IRC’s Gender Based Violence program to provide Muslim and Christian victims of sexual violence the specialized training and start-up funding to launch their own businesses. He plans to continue to push IRC to integrate juggling lessons in our child-friendly spaces across the globe.

Richard grew up among several family members working in the international service arena. His sister is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa and later joined the World Health Organization in India. His late uncle, Peter Bell, who was at the time president of CARE International, delivered the SIS/SOC commencement speech in 2007 and received an honorary doctorate from SIS.

“AU reinforced my self-worth as a global citizen and not just a member of one nationality,” Richard explains. “I truly appreciate, for better or for worse, how interconnected the world is.”

Richard’s previous professional experiences span the globe. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who spent time in Senegal creating a social enterprise as well as working alongside protection specialists at UNICEF headquarters.

When asked what has been the best part of his work, Richard says, “The satisfaction I receive when collaborating with and supporting my local colleagues—those born in the countries I work in. These individuals are striving to bring hope to their neighbors and fellow citizens in what are some very desperate situations.”

Follow Richard on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Tags: Alumni,School of International Service,School of Internationl Service,SIS Career,SIS Graduate Student Council
Publication: DC9BFA6D-C400-714B-030527285D7B0492
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 7D60F81F-5056-AF26-BEFE695CAFE29F15
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: A87B6CE1-5056-AF26-BED339C9ECD988FE
Title: Graduate Student Excels in International Affairs Fellowship
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Lauren Hovis, SIS/MA ‘16, is the American University 2015 recipient of the DACOR Bacon House Foundation Fellowship. This article first appeared in the DACOR Bacon House Foundation November bulletin.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 10/27/2015
Content:

Lauren Hovis, SIS/MA ‘16, is the American University 2015 recipient of the DACOR Bacon House Foundation Fellowship, a scholarship aimed at enhancing public awareness and fostering educated leadership in international affairs. This enabled her to serve as the interim economic officer for the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania this past summer. The article below first appeared in the DACOR Bacon House Foundation's November bulletin.

What has been the most memorable moment for you during your studies?

My most memorable moment during my studies occurred when I was able to use the knowledge I learned from my advanced international economics class in my economic reporting at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I served as the interim economic officer this summer and wrote a cable on monetary policy in Tanzania. I would not have been able to write as extensively on the subject if I had not been equipped with the knowledge from this class. In fact, the Economic Bureau used this particular cable as their “cable of the week” in early August of this year.

Where have you worked or interned during your studies? What have you gained from the experiences?

As mentioned in the previous question, I worked in the political and economic section of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania this summer. This was an invaluable experience and the most substantive internship I have ever had. I was able to practice my Kiswahili and briefly live the life of a Foreign Service Officer: I wrote cables, attended government meetings, coordinated a trade delegation and worked with extraordinary people serving their country. I am certainly more inclined to pursue a career in the Foreign Service now than before embarking on this trip.

What are your goals for the future? Have your long-term plans changed as a result of educational work/internship experiences?

I would like to work in the field of political and economic development, particularly in East Africa. Before graduate school and especially my internship at State, I could only see myself working in civil society. After this summer, however, I am more inclined to work in the public sector. No matter which I choose, I hope to advance the rights of those who fall victim to inequitable political and economic systems.

Where have you traveled during your studies?

As an undergraduate, I travelled to Malawi, Belize and Haiti to do international service. Between my junior and senior year of college, I interned with Africa Exchange, an international development organization in Kenya. During my internship I implemented various projects concerning clean water filtration, efficient gardening techniques, curriculum development in child development centers in four villages in Kenya. As mentioned earlier, this summer I interned at the embassy in Dar es Salaam where I worked in the political and economic section. This internship greatly contributed to my graduate school experience.

What has the fellowship allowed you to do that you would not otherwise have been able to do?

Because of my fellowship I was able take the unpaid internship in Dar es Salaam without having to worry about working during the summer in order to save up for my tuition. It also allowed me to reduce my federal student loans by 25 percent. For this, I am extremely grateful and appreciate DACOR’s commitment to investing in the next generation of foreign affairs professionals.

Hovis previously was an interim economic officer in the political and economic section of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is now a graduate student at the School of International Service in the Comparative and Regional Studies master’s program.

The first version of this article appeared in the DACOR Bacon House Foundation's November bulletin.

Tags: Career Center,School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: A8943645-5056-AF26-BE9A1D7497ED3656
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 6B340EC1-5056-AF26-BEA725950A11A92C
Title: Back to School Tips for Undergraduates
Author: Emily Jones-Green
Subtitle:
Abstract: Undergraduate Advising Office shares words of wisdom for the year ahead.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 08/28/2015
Content:

The Undergraduate Advising Office shares words of wisdom for the year ahead:

  1. Get to Know your Professors. Go to office hours and talk, even when you don’t have a specific question. These relationships will help you grow, and also will help when you need a recommendation for graduate school. 

  2. Schedule Accordingly. Not a morning person? Do not register for classes before 10:10 a.m. Can’t stop yawning after 7 p.m.? Then steer clear of any classes starting at 8:10 p.m.

  3. Get Involved. Being active on campus will not only help you perform better academically, but also allow you to expand your social circle.

  4. Take Advantage of Academic Support. The Academic Support and Access Center offers free tutoring for certain classes; the Writing Center will help you shape your research paper; and the Math/Stats Lab will help you hone your skills. 

  5. Learn How to Retain Information. Either type or handwrite your class notes over again within a day after class. Information retention is higher when the information is reviewed within 24 hours of hearing it. 

  6. Go to the Career Center often. Workshops, networking events, and individual appointments will help you figure out what options you have for your future. 

  7. Be Open to Exploring. If you don’t know what you want to major in, that is okay! We offer a ton of resources to help you narrow down your options. 

  8. Take Care of Yourself. Getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising will all help you stay healthy and do well academically. We want you at your best!

  9. Study Abroad. When else can you study and explore another country?  

  10. Visit your Academic Counselor. Not only are they knowledgeable about the university, they are awesome people and want to get to know you! 

 

Tags: Academic Support Center,Career Center,College of Arts and Sciences
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 6B8B2BCB-5056-AF26-BEB038DC066FBF35
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 0E290AFE-5056-AF26-BE2676A08E978528
Title: American University Ranks No. 1 Nationally for PMF Finalists
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU maintains top position with nine more finalists this year.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 05/28/2015
Content:

Over the past five years AU has emerged as a national leader in producing Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) finalists and semi-finalists. This year, AU ranked first among all universities, with 43 finalists in the Presidential Management Fellow class of 2015. Despite a more competitive recruitment process, the university produced nine more finalists this year than in 2014. 

Alumni participation in the PMF coaching process and in-depth coaching by AU staff are integral components of AU's ability to lead national PMF rankings while remaining a medium-sized university.

"Our very large and loyal corps of PMF alumni are instrumental every year in mentoring our PMF semi-finalists;and when they become finalists the alums again step up to advise them on landing positions as Fellows," says Career Center and PMF advisor Robert SanGeorge.

Loren Miller, CAS/PhD '12, credits AU students' continued success to the hard work of the Career Center and its cadre of PMF advisors and supporters.  

"[AU] provided every piece of support that I could possibly need: informational meetings, alumni chats, individual coaching sessions, group interview practice, and general emotional support."

Mario Weber, SPA/MA '13, agrees, elaborating on Miller's point.

"I found that becoming a finalist required a very nuanced understanding of what the PMF program is looking for in candidates," said Weber. "I am very thankful for the insight [the advisors] provided, particularly when it came to preparing for the in-person assessment. It provided a definite advantage for myself and other AU candidates."

This year's finalists reflect strong personal motivations and a desire to serve at a national level, values that are at the core of the AU experience. Since entering graduate school, Miller dreamed of working at large government museums like the Smithsonian. She is excited about the possibilities they present for public education. 

"Institutions like the Smithsonian bring history out of academia and provide an accessible and engaging way for everyone to understand the past," said Miller. "They are vital cultural and educational resources that help people think more critically about the past and make them better citizens of the world. I decided to apply for the PMF because I thought it was a unique opportunity that would give me the chance to fulfill my desire to better the country as a public servant."

Weber, who left a career in law to work as a paramedic, is looking for an opportunity to give back on a larger scale. 

"My public service career thus far has focused on emergency medical services, which exist at the intersection of public safety, public health, and emergency preparedness," he said. "My goal is to obtain a challenging PMF placement that allows me to make a meaningful contribution to one or more of these areas at the federal level."

In her time at AU, Grace Fennell, WCL/SIS/JD/MA '14—another finalist—balanced a full course load with internships at the International Labor Organization, United Nations Development Program, and Human Rights Watch. She heard from several professors that PMF was the best way to jumpstart a career at the State Department.

"I hope to become a PMF fellow for the State Department and learn more about how to be a better public servant—specifically in the field of U.S. foreign policy," said Fennell. 

The members of AU's 2015 record-breaking cohort now have one year to land a position within the federal government, competing with a total of 600 finalists nationwide for about 400 Fellow positions. The odds are in their favor. In 2014, the average conversion rate for PMF finalists across the country was near 60%, while AU's conversion rate was over 95%. 

"The reason I went to law school was to make a difference and serve the American public," said Fennell. "I believe being a PMF gives me the best platform to start a career path towards achieving those goals."

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,Featured News,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 0E898AD2-5056-AF26-BE1BA3409B203E38
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: C947C32B-5056-AF26-BE5E6415C39DD6AD
Title: 21 SIS Students Named Finalists for Presidential Management Fellowship
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: The School of International Service is proud to announce that twenty-one of its graduate students have been named Presidential Management Fellow finalists for the class of 2015.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/02/2015
Content:

The School of International Service is proud to announce that twenty-one of its graduate students have been named Presidential Management Fellow finalists for the class of 2015.

The Presidential Management Fellowship annually awards two-year federal appointments to accomplished students who demonstrate the leadership qualities necessary to serve within the federal government. The three-stage application is highly competitive -- this year, out of approximately 7,800 applicants, only 600 were named finalists.

American University has a strong record of success in the program. In 2013, AU ranked third among qualifying schools with nineteen finalists. Last year, it ranked second with thirty-four finalists. This year, AU ranks first with forty-three finalists.

Learn more about fellowship opportunities at the AU Career Center: http://www.american.edu/careercenter/index.cfm

Tags: School of International Service,Career Center
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: C9FD7769-5056-AF26-BE793AD30B4402BA
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: A0698F13-5056-AF26-BE99FAB697430F0D
Title: 13 SPA Students Named Finalists for Prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU ranks first among qualifying schools in overall Presidential Management Fellow Finalists for the class of 2015.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 04/01/2015
Content:

The School of Public Affairs is proud to announce that 13 of its graduate students have been named Presidential Management Fellow Finalists for the class of 2015. This represents a nearly 100 percent increase over last year’s SPA finalists. It is a testament to the quality of the students, faculty, and advisors within the SPA program.

For the past 30 years, the Presidential Management Fellowship has annually awarded 2-year federal appointments to accomplished students, who demonstrate the leadership qualities necessary to serve within the federal government. The three-stage application is highly competitive—this year, out of approximately 7,800 applicants, only 600 were named finalists.

The large increase in SPA’s PMF finalists from SPA correlates with American University’s overall upward trend of success. In 2013, AU ranked third among qualifying schools with 19 finalists. Last year, it ranked second with 34 finalists. This year, with 43 finalists, AU ranks first.

Tags: Career Center,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: A0A36B86-5056-AF26-BE9E604381B1D43B
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DB4FE852-5056-AF26-BEDB1600CA93B3F4
Title: Graduates Find Career Success Off The Beaten Path
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: From porcupines to proposals, AU grads follow their passion to find jobs they love.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/04/2014
Content:

AU alum Kenton Kerns, CAS/BA '07, doesn't have your typical workday. At 6:30 every morning, Kerns and his coworkers begin the day by checking on the hundred animals living in the National Zoo's Small Mammal House. From feeding, cleaning, and medical checkups to enrichment activities, training, and research—no two days are exactly the same. 

"Working at the National Zoo is really exciting," Kerns says. "There's always something new going on, and you definitely feel like you're part of something bigger that's helping save species and habitats around the world."

Kerns started working at the National Zoo as an intern during his senior year at AU. After graduation, he applied for a full-time position that opened up at the Small Mammal House. He's been there ever since. 

"Before my internship, I didn't really understand what zoos did," he says. "The National Zoo, especially, is a leader in conservation and research—so much happens behind the scenes."

The research aspect was appealing to him and also a reason he was able to stand out as a candidate. 

"AU's biology program was research focused, and that was an advantage," he says. "A lot of people don't have that research background."

Through AU, he was also able to study abroad in Australia, which he says was an important element of his animal-focused education. Since graduation, Kerns has stayed in touch with some of his professors, and has been invited back to AU to speak to current students. 

"I feel really lucky to have found a job in a career I love that still offers so many opportunities," he says. "Meeting interns and students who are just starting out is an energizing reminder."

Joshua Joseph, CAS/PhD '04, is another alum who followed a unique career path. As an undergraduate, Joseph studied painting and history, both subjects he was passionate about but wasn't sure how to apply after graduation. He's now an officer of planning and evaluation at the Pew Charitable Trusts and an adjunct instructor for AU's School of International Service. 

"I was one of those pretty clueless undergraduates—I had such a limited idea of what I could do with my majors," he says. "I thought I could either be a graphic artist or starving artist. I didn't realize then how design thinking might be used in so many different ways, that the way they teach you to write and analyze and research in history could be valuable in other areas."

Joseph now runs "Networking for Introverts" workshops for the Career Center, based on his own experience of finding alternative ways to make contacts and connections. He wants to help current students learn from his approach and from his career path. 

Joseph credits Marie Spaulding in the AU Career Center with helping him develop ways to investigate potential career options and communicate his interests and abilities to employers.

He says, "I think that's one of the biggest challenges for career centers: to help students recognize where the gems are in their experience and pull those out, to see the value in things they are passionate about."

Joseph finds his work at the Pew Charitable Trusts fulfilling because it allows him to do just that, to apply his whole range of experience to the job.

"What I really like about what I do now is that it takes everything that I've ever done and pulls it all together," he says. "In this job you need a technical background to understand how the research works, but also soft skills, knowing how to communicate, how to give feedback and ask questions in ways that are constructive."

Speaking from his own experience, Kerns has advice for current AU students on finding your own way.

"Really accentuate the positives of your degree, and take full advantage of your location in D.C.," says Kerns. "Because the College of Arts and Sciences is not a huge school, it's easier to make connections with professors and other students in your program, and the networking opportunities are easier and more helpful than they might be somewhere else."

His advice for students who want to work at the zoo: "Volunteer. Get as much animal experience as you can. You need the degree, but that alone is not enough."

If you're not sure exactly what you want to do, that's perfectly fine too, says Joseph. It's not necessarily about the title, but rather the area you're passionate about and what you can bring to it. 

"Don't focus so much about finding the right job; a lot of people have a job in mind, but what's more important especially early on is figuring out the direction you want to go in," says Joseph. "Ask yourself, what do I like to do? What have I liked doing in the past? What are the skills I want to be using in my next job? Aim to figure out what are the things you want to do, as opposed to the specific name of the field or position."

In other words, do what you love. The rest will follow.

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DBAF2550-5056-AF26-BE7C41B827037DA7
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 44BF00B3-0ECC-19C1-56E860937920C637
Title: Chronicling Your Future
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: The new We KNOW Success website shows recent AU grads are finding jobs and pursuing advanced degrees.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 11/07/2014
Content:

Data Driven

What percentage of newly-minted AU alums with biology degrees go to grad school? What proportion of recent international studies graduates end up working in government? What might new alumni with accounting degrees expect to earn?

It's all at your fingertips on American University's new website, We KNOW Success: Where AU Graduates Land. The expansive, illustrative, data-driven site details job and graduate school outcomes, work sector choices, and salary ranges for recent AU graduates.

"It provides prospective students and families with simple, direct, and reliable information on the early outcomes of graduates who earn degrees from AU," says Teresa Flannery, vice president for communication.

The site, which can be found at www.american.edu/weknowsuccess/, chronicles the success of AU students within six months of graduation. We KNOW Success combines data from three recent graduating classes of bachelor's and master's degree students (2011-2013). You can check statistics by school (such as the College of Arts and Sciences or the School of Public Affairs), by major (economics, political science, etc.), or degree (bachelor's and master's, with some information about doctoral degree programs).

For many universities, collecting information on recent graduates yields low response rates and inconclusive results. Yet through assiduous data collection, strong community engagement, and active social media and LinkedIn monitoring, AU has achieved a remarkably high rate of completion for data gathered about the next destination of recent alumni.

"We realized we were sitting on a really powerful resource, in terms of this data," says Flannery. "It's very unusual for a university of our size to have responses from three quarters or more of our graduates at both grad and undergraduate levels. And it seemed responsible to share that information and make it more widely available."

The end result is an illuminating, user-friendly website accessible to the public. The site is the product of an 11-month collaboration by the Career Center, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, the Office of Information Technology, and University Communications and Marketing.

"This website fits an existing need in the broader community of people who are considering attending universities like ours," says Gihan Fernando, executive director of the Career Center. "And it allows us to showcase some of the terrific successes that we've had over the years."

Worth the Investment

The overall numbers tell an encouraging story: 88 percent of bachelor's degree holders are working or in graduate school, while 91 percent of master's graduates are employed or pursuing other advanced degrees. Both percentages include people working while attending graduate school. Equally impressive: 85 percent of those who are working hold jobs related to their degree. "The vast majority of our students, in most categories, come out of here with a positive outcome," says Fernando.

With heightened national scrutiny over the value of a college education, these numbers demonstrate that prospective AU students and parents will be getting a strong return on their investment. "It's allowing them to make more informed decisions," adds Flannery.

The World is Your Oyster

The Career Center and other AU offices have paid special attention to students' professional development and job prospects. Fernando says 89 percent of all undergrads do internships while attending AU. This trend greatly enhances the likelihood of a student being employed within six months of graduation.

AU students' most popular internship destinations—such as the State Department and the World Bank—are included on the site. One section comprises short bios of high-achieving recent alums, including Deon Jones (SPA/BA '14), who became the youngest elected official in Washington, D.C. history by winning a seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission; and Fanta Aw, who earned her bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. here and works as AU's assistant vice president of campus life.

We KNOW Success also reveals that AU students are choosing a wide variety of career paths. With AU's traditional emphasis on public service, it's not surprising that nearly half of bachelor's degree recipients chose either non-profit or government work. Yet a full 53 percent of former undergrads surveyed work in the private sector. When examining recent master's degree recipients, the economic sector breakdown is remarkably balanced: 35 percent work at for-profit companies, 32 percent in government, and 31 percent with non-profits.

"From a university perspective, we are not about telling students, 'You should be doing X, Y, or Z.' We're really about trying to help you, from the beginning, identify what your interests are and then help you achieve that," says Fernando. "It's about making good choices for yourself, and doing it with knowledge and information."

Tags: Career Center,Featured News,Media Relations,Office of Institutional Research & Assessment
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 46E4EC04-A0D0-D24F-E505AB92036E1FAD
Profile: 3A020E06-96F3-7705-B4A1028FE046ABA1,1456A6C8-CEB8-0F0B-A2951FA8462E76F5
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DB94321A-C61B-1ACA-214871830B3994C6
Title: AU a Top Contributor in Teach For America’s Most Diverse Corps To Date
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU graduates find success and opportunity with Teach For America despite an increasingly competitive selection process.
Topic: Education
Publication Date: 10/30/2014
Content:

For the past several years, AU has joined the likes of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown University as one of Teach for America's (TFA) Top Contributors, a list that features schools with the most graduates sent to TFA each year.

This year, 21 AU graduates joined the most diverse teaching cohort in the nonprofit's history. Almost half of TFA's more than 50,000 applicants identified as people of color, nearly half received Pell Grants, and more than one-third were the first in their family to attend college.

Despite an increasingly competitive admissions process and an overall acceptance rate of just 15 percent, AU students continue to succeed. 

TFA recruiter Seon Jeon has an idea why AU students tend to do well in the application process.

"[AU students] are very strong candidates: competitive, social justice-driven, and often engaged in the D.C. community," she says. "They really understand the depth and breadth of education inequity, and they want to do something about it."

AU students are often passionate about social issues and looking for ways to enact positive change in the world, and for some, TFA is the best way to do that.

Cheria Funches, SPA/BA '14, started her time with TFA this fall, teaching at an elementary school in New Orleans. 

"My experience so far has been eye-opening," she says. "You learn so much about yourself through this experience, and it is extremely important that you have a growth mindset at all times."

Funches says she first heard about TFA at on-campus information sessions, and that she received support from her mentors at AU and from the local TFA recruiter in deciding to apply. 

"I am passionate about education reform, specifically in urban districts, and a lot of my mentors thought the best place to start would be on the ground level as a teacher," she says.

TFA continues to grow and refine its selection process to recruit top candidates. Its most recent corps had an average GPA of 3.4 and included more than 30 student-body presidents and nine Gates Millennium Scholars. 

"TFA is looking for people with leadership skills and a passion for social justice," says SPA career advisor, Jennifer Carignan. "In your application, you want to show how your background—work experience, internships, volunteer work—demonstrates that kind of passion and commitment to TFA's goals and ideals."

Funches is glad she applied. After TFA, she plans to work as a school administrator with the hope of one day opening her own school and working on education policy at the national level. For now, she is taking it one class at a time. 

"These students will remember you forever, and the impact you make on their lives will change your life as well," says Funches. "The relationships you build with the students in your region will be the start of an amazing journey."

 

The next deadlines to apply for Teach For America are December 5 and January 30.

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,School of Communication,School of Education,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs,SIS Career
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DBAE55D4-CF60-616A-D4FC70E71A676D97
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DA856938-062D-8629-ED46E6D6700BD7A4
Title: Returning to the Other Side of the Table
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU alumni advise and recruit current students at the Job & Internship Fair.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 10/30/2014
Content:

"There is always more than one way to approach the passion you want to pursue," says Kayla Ma, CAS/SIS/BA '14. "You're excluding exciting possibilities if you limit yourself."

This time last year Ma was starting an internship with the USAID Office of Inspector General (OIG), an internship she found through a Career Center email. After graduating in the spring with a dual degree in Arabic studies and international relations, she was offered a full-time position with OIG. 

Now she's back helping with recruitment for her organization, and she's not alone. 

Of the recruiters who came to represent over 140 organizations at the fall Job and Internship Fair, 40 were AU alumni—a fact that Pat Oltmann, the Career Center's alumni program coordinator, says is great for everyone involved. 

"Not only does meeting alumni allow current students to make an instant connection, it also shows them what's possible," says Oltmann. "On the alumni side, they know what our programs are all about, and seem consistently happy with our students and what they have to offer."

These and other recruiting events are also a chance for alumni to provide current students with the kind of opportunities they themselves benefited from. 

Grant Steinhauser, KSB/BS/BA '13, understands this personally. An AU alum recruited him for a position at Ryan, LLC, the company he now represents. His advice to current students: on-campus recruiting. 

"It's so easy when you have the ability to interview at Kogod or the Career Center," he says. "You've got to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you as a student at AU. There's no excuse not to."

Steinhauser was active in developing his own professional opportunities. He says he went to multiple interviews as a student and that each experience helped him learn what to expect and how to present himself. 

Roopa Purohit, SOC/BA '04, sees that kind of dedication and energy every time she returns to campus. She is the development and communications manager at Everybody Wins! DC, a literacy education nonprofit where she has been working for eight years. 

"AU students tend to be well-prepared and proactive," says Purohit. "It's good to see freshmen at the Fair, because it means they're already on the right track." Everybody Wins! DC was itself founded by an AU alum who wanted to give back to the community.

Instead of simply adding a student's resume to a pile, Janice Chiverton, SIS/MS '10, gives grateful students tips on how to improve and make their resumes stand out. Chiverton, who works for the Administrative Office of the Courts, says her time at AU played a key role in helping her make her way in the world. After growing up with few economic advantages, she wants to make sure others can benefit from the experience and knowledge she's acquired in her career.

"Every day is a job interview," she says. "Keep your eyes open, read everything, and pay attention. If no one else wants a particular assignment, take it on for the experience. Be smart and engage with the work, and you'll naturally get yourself noticed."

Seuk Kim, KSB/MBA '05, vice president at SunStar Strategic, notices how potential applicants present themselves, and wants current students not to forget about the little things.

"Pay attention to anything that will make you stand out. Like printing your resume on resume paper," says Kim. He also mentions that whether networking online or in person, "Being from the same school gives you an opening."

Marc St. Hilaire, career advisor for the School of International Service, has more to say on that point.

"All good networking starts from a point of commonality," says St. Hilaire. "Current AU students have that potential for instant rapport with alumni, thanks to their shared experiences. People genuinely like to be helpful, and that's especially true for people they have this kind of connection with."

Those connections were easily apparent at the Job & Internship Fair. As Ma accepted resumes from students, a former classmate of hers spotted her through the crowd and ran up, smiling, to give her a hug. 

Networking is a lot friendlier when you call the same school home.

 

Current students and alumni are encouraged to attend upcoming Student-Alumni Networking Receptions. The first reception is November 13, 7:00-8:30 p.m. in MGC 3-5.

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,Kogod School of Business,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs,SIS Career
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DB0E9BC0-E344-6485-C89208E157D7052D
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: A2ED026F-E4A2-3E31-73708DB638F8C8F8
Title: From BA to PhD: Former Eagle Receives Full Education at AU
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: At American University, Nick Reksten, CAS/BA ’07/PhD ’15, went from freshman to mentor to professor.
Topic: Education
Publication Date: 10/13/2014
Content:

When Nick Reksten, CAS/BA '07/PhD '15, arrived at the American University (AU) as a freshman, he didn't expect that he would be leaving ten years later with a PhD in Economics, four years of advising experience, and a two-year teaching position at Sarah Lawrence College. But that is where his time at AU led him.

"I had a really good experience as an undergrad at AU," says Reksten. "The great thing about AU's faculty is that they're so open-minded, engaged, and a joy to work with."

After graduating from AU with a bachelor's degree in international studies and economics, Reksten started a job in downtown D.C. researching and reporting on renewable energy and climate change policy. 

"It quickly became clear that in order to be a serious voice on policy issues, that I would need to pursue a PhD," he says. He debated the merits of several doctoral programs, and ultimately chose to return to his alma mater. 

At AU, Reksten took full advantage of the opportunities available to him as a graduate student. Besides pursuing his coursework and teaching as an adjunct professor, he co-authored a book chapter with Jon Wisman, one of his professors, and presented their work at a conference in Montreal.

He also applied for funding through a part-time advising position with the Office of Merit Awards (OMA). This turned out to be a great move, opening up unexpected doors. 

"I knew he aspired to a teaching-oriented career, and I saw his graduate assistantship as an important opportunity to mentor him," says Paula Warrick, director of the Office of Merit Awards. "Nick had been an outstanding undergraduate student at American University, and as an advisor in our office, he was insightful and also extraordinarily patient, affirming, and steady in his interactions with his advisees.

Because of his demonstrated aptitude for working with students, Reksten was hired to stay on over summer and winter breaks, and entrusted with the management of several competitions. He mentored and co-mentored dozens of students, many of whom became finalists and recipients of national scholarships, including the Fulbright, Boren, Marshall, and Rhodes. 

"Seeing students become finalists or recipients was very fulfilling," says Reksten. "Like when a student I advised found out she won a Fulbright. It's a great feeling to know that your work really made a difference for someone."

At AU, Reksten was able to experience both sides of that kind of mentorship, with clear benefits. 

"I received a great deal of mentorship both from my department and from the OMA staff," says Reksten. "My dissertation advisor, Maria Floro, has been wonderful, teaching me a great deal about research and providing practical advice about academic jobs. OMA director Paula Warrick has been absolutely invaluable over the years. She has had an unfaltering belief in my abilities as an advisor and as an intellectual." 

Reksten believes his work with the Office of Merit Awards made a real difference when applying for teaching positions as well. 

"I think my experience advising students one-on-one was what really sold them on me," he says. This fall he started work as a guest faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College, where he teaches two courses in economics—and loves his job. 

"This job is what I went to grad school to do," says Reksten. "I'm already where I want to be." 

His advice for students entering doctoral programs at AU?

"Be strategic in how you plan and spend your time. Make connections with faculty in your department and explore opportunities in your field," he says. "It really is about presenting the whole package, about becoming well-rounded."

In making the most of his years at AU, Nick Reksten certainly seems to have followed his own advice.

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,Office of Merit Awards
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 675E6610-0246-5BC6-F959263861793652
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 61C6F0E5-0F2F-1291-A22CCA84CFA5396C
Title: Global Learning at Ground Level
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: For those seeking hands-on international experience, competitive scholarships like Fulbright and Boren can prove ideal.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 09/03/2014
Content:

Going abroad on a Fulbright or Boren award is certainly no vacation. The AU students who win these awards are seeking and finding something else: a challenging and uniquely rewarding experience with the potential to change the course of someone's life. Sometimes that means experiencing the unexpected.

Dara Jackson-Garrett, SIS/BA '13, was teaching English on a Fulbright in Venezuela when anti-government protests erupted across the country.

"My Fulbright experience was not your typical abroad experience," says Jackson-Garrett. "Not many people come back from their Fulbright with stories about watching mass protests or the National Guard chasing people down your street. For the first time in my life, I wasn't reading about civil unrest or discussing the shortages or analyzing the situation, I was living it." 

That is the true promise of these prestigious national scholarships: the opportunity to go beyond the page, to learn by living. 

"It was the best year of my life," says Leanza Bethel, SIS/BA '15, of her Boren Scholarship in India. "I was able to study Hindi and take classes in the master's department at Manipal University, to meet with policymakers, to intern with an NGO, and conduct research for my thesis by going out into the field and interviewing women in the sex industry—just amazing opportunities." 

The Fulbright Program offers participants the opportunity to study, teach, or conduct research around the world. This year 11 AU students accepted Fulbright Grants through the U.S. Student Scholars program, one student received the newly-established Fulbright National Geographic award, two undergraduates received Fulbright United Kingdom Summer Institute awards, and one alumna was named an alternate for the Fulbright Clinton Fellowship. 

The Boren Awards recipients receive funds to study, intern, or conduct research in languages and areas of the world that are deemed critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. This year 23 AU students were awarded Boren Undergraduate Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships, making the university number one in the nation in combined Boren recipients for the second consecutive year.

"I think that American University has a high success rate with Fulbright applications because the university as a whole focuses on a global view of the world," says Jackson-Garrett. "We are taught how to analyze world events, research new opinions in our respective fields, and form our own educated opinions."

The dedication of faculty and staff to fully support and guide students throughout the application process may also play a role in consistent awards success. 

"I have no doubt that the generous support I received from the AU community made all the difference in terms of my preparation of a successful Boren application," says Guru Amrit Khalsa, SIS/MA '13, who is currently in India on a Boren Fellowship, studying Hindi and conducting research on India's climate change policy. 

She credits faculty members and the Office of Merit Awards with helping her craft a research program and approach her application critically.

"My dream is to work for the federal government," says Khalsa. "I feel that my Boren Award will provide me with unique experience in attaining my professional aims."

For students considering applying for either award, these winners have some advice. 

"Your thesis should be on something you are truly passionate about," says Bethel. "Otherwise you're depriving yourself of future opportunities. The internship and career opportunities I have now to work in my chosen field come directly out of my Boren experience."

"Begin the process early, and utilize all of the resources AU has to offer," says Khalsa. "The Office of Merit Awards offers one-on-one assistance, as well as group sessions. Discuss your plans with your professors, and consult them in the early stages when you are playing with ideas–I found this incredibly helpful, in terms of tweaking my ideas and framing them in terms of U.S. national security."

And remember, ultimately, why you are going.

"I think a lot of time especially in international relations and politics in general it is easy to forget about the people who are experiencing these events," says Jackson-Garrett. "Fulbright taught me that policy is great, but that the people we are discussing, their lives, and their challenges, are very real."

The application cycle begins in September for Boren Awards, and in March for Fulbright Grants. Visit the Office of Merit Awards for more information.

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,Featured News,Foreign Policy,Office of Merit Awards,School of International Service,SIS Career
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 6209080C-A098-C23D-B91A5AC050A9DAF9
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 92D1D550-E228-D0D4-6CAACD498D7CA4CE
Title: Changing the Face of Media with the T. Howard Foundation
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: Student diversity thrives in a national media and entertainment internship program.
Topic: Internships
Publication Date: 08/20/2014
Content:

Want to hang out with Peter Dinklage, the actor who portrays the roguish Tyrion Lannister on HBO's hit series Game of Thrones? For Edeny Tran, SOC/BA '14, that was a day on the job, thanks to her internship at HBO. 

"The producer managing the Game of Thrones DVD releases invited me to go along to an audio commentary session," says Tran. It was at this session that she met Dinklage. "He was really nice, and actually initiated conversation with me, which caught me by surprise." She laughs. "He asked if I was an intern for HBO, what school I go to—small talk stuff."

Tran found her internship through the T. Howard Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing diversity in the media and entertainment industry. It helps self-identified minority students find internships with media companies across the country, and has been doing so for 20 years. This year, the Foundation saw its biggest summer class ever, with 97 interns working at 35 different companies.

"The media industry is changing, and we want to make sure we capture different voices throughout different business functions," says Karla Morrison, senior internship program manager for the T. Howard Foundation. 

American University and the T. Howard Foundation have long had a positive relationship. This year 11 AU students made it through the application and interview stages into the final talent pool, meaning they were eligible for selection by companies looking for interns.

"AU students are both academically well-prepared and have an experience of diversity," says Morrison. "It's a very diverse school, and being located in D.C. gives students many advantages as well."

Tran learned about the T. Howard Foundation from a friend at AU who interned the previous year.

"She told me how the internship program focuses on promoting diversity in the media, which is a cause that I'm pretty passionate about," says Tran. She applied and was accepted as a finalist in this year's talent pool. "Two months later, I got an email from the internship manager of HBO asking if I was available for a phone interview. I had the phone interview and a few days later, they offered me a position."

Interns who make it to the final stages of the process are not only eligible for internships with a variety of media and entertainment companies, but also receive opportunities for professional development. Students are paired with a professional mentor at a media company or in the student's field of interest, and receive regular webinars, resume and interview advice, and a two-and-a-half day orientation at the Foundation's headquarters in Maryland, with travel and lodging provided. 

"We have industry professionals and executives speak to them about networking, business communication, and meeting etiquette, about how to make the most of the hiring process, how to interact with a manager or supervisor, how to present yourself," says Morrison. "Even after they finish their internships, we help them achieve their career goals."

"The T. Howard Foundation team really care about our development and success, which is evident from the programming they do before we start our internship and after we finish," says Tran.

Internships aren't limited to students in academic fields traditionally associated with media or entertainment.

"Often when we think about media, we think about communications and journalism," says Morrison. "But just like other corporations, media companies have a lot of departments, so they're looking for students in accounting and finance, in marketing, in sales, students who are familiar with technology and social media, graphic design students, students in IT, and more."

Chizorom Wosu, KSB/BA '14, joined the Foundation's internship program for two summers, first interning at Comcast's corporate headquarters, and the second time at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.

"I majored in accounting and the organization was able to find accounting opportunities within the industry that perfectly fit my career goals," she says. 

Outside of her work responsibilities, Wosu was also able to attend a Paramount Pictures movie premier, attend a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and have a Q&A session with Kimmel himself.

Among other projects at HBO, Tran worked quality control for an upcoming Blu-Ray release of "True Detective," and along with other interns presented brand recommendations to executives across all departments. She says the experience has been both educational and rewarding.

"I wanted to learn about a different side of the industry that was beyond what I learned in class as a film major, and my internship experience definitely fulfilled that goal," says Tran. "I've learned so much, and enjoyed every second of it."

Wosu agrees.

"I had a wonderful experience with T. Howard," says Wosu. "The organization not only focuses on finding opportunities for students, but they also provide students with career development opportunities, numerous networking opportunities, and a chance to make new friends."

 

Applications for the T. Howard Foundation summer internship program are open during the fall to self-identified minority students with at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. T. Howard Foundation representatives will be on campus to meet with students on Wednesday, October 1, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,School of Communication,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 5C91B319-E285-AE6F-A59A538E072A6F18
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 8E97817C-D793-F79D-E7A7271035705DFB
Title: STEP Students Connect with Alumni on Capitol Hill
Author: Patrick Bradley
Subtitle:
Abstract: The summer program is giving freshmen career goals even before their first semester.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 07/31/2014
Content:

Climbing the Hill

When Olimar Rivera Noa recently entered the marble halls of Capitol Hill’s senate offices, she thought of home—more than 1,500 miles away in Puerto Rico. 

An incoming freshman, Rivera Noa joined some 30 other students from AU’s STEP Program to meet and hear from a panel of alumni now working on the Hill. Like many from the summer transition program, the panel members’ words resonated with her.

“I liked having people in my position and now they are here talking to me about their experience. That makes me feel like I can be there eventually,” she said. “It was very helpful.”

Rivera Noa immediately connected with panel member George Laws Garcia (SIS/MA ’09) on the topic of representing Puerto Rico in Congress. Laws Garcia serves as a legal assistant in the Puerto Rican representative’s office, something that piqued Rivera Noa’s interest.

Similarly, incoming freshman Adrianna Juarez leaned in to hear Rebecca Nuzzi (SIS/BA, ’11) talk about balancing work as a U.S. senate committee research associate with a social life that includes playing ultimate Frisbee. Juarez was relieved to hear that people on the Hill have hobbies just like her, and she was even more motivated to pursue internships during her time at AU.

“It was really interesting to see how they were able to get where they are and what kind of things they took advantage of at AU to get to where they are,” she said of the alumni panel. “It gave me a guide on how to get there eventually because I’m interested in this type of work.”

Steps by STEP

Isaac Agbeshie-Noye is the assistant director for student success and retention at AU’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion. As part of his role, he oversees STEP—or the Summer Transition Enrichment Program, which supports multicultural and first-generation college students as they join the university.

During the seven-week program, these students take writing courses, meet with advisors and professors, and grow as a community before their four years on campus even begin. And then there are field trips like the one to the Hill, meant to get students thinking about education and career goals.

“It’s important for them to see how things happening up here can affect their everyday lives,” Agbeshie-Noye explained. “It’s worthwhile for them to understand how they can influence and not be the person on TV and not be the person that’s giving the speech. That’s key for them to see now, while they’re still early in their career development.”

It’s a notion that wasn’t lost on Juarez, who hopes to work in the political sphere someday. “It made all of those things I want to do tangible because I’ve seen that people have been through what I have, were in my shoes, and now they’re there,” she said. “It solidified a lot of my aspirations.”

For Rivera Noa, STEP has been the piece that made AU quickly feel like a home away from her island home. “I love it. I feel very comfortable here. I didn’t visit the university or Washington before coming,” she said. “I love the campus. I love all the resources they have, the opportunities, the diversity.”

Early Transitions

As STEP winds down and students look toward the start of their first semester in college, Agbeshie-Noye hopes the program has provided them everything they need to move steadily from the classroom to Capitol Hill, just like those students from the alumni panel.

“STEP is important because every college student should have the opportunity to succeed and realize their goals,” he said. “STEP is designed to give them the tools they need in order to build the confidence and behaviors that they feel they too are entitled to an AU education.”

Meanwhile, Rivera Noa will be considering those senate marble halls and what she can do for her native Puerto Rico while at AU. She hopes to intern in her congressman’s office, but for now she’s just excited about what she’s learning each day on campus with her tight cohort of STEP students.

“I’ve met people from many places. I think that makes the college experience more enriching because you’re not just learning about your major or minor, you’re learning about everything—other countries, other cultures,” she said. “That’s making my transition much easier than I thought it would be.”

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Campus Life,Campus News,Capitol Hill,Career Center,Career Development,Featured News,Multicultural Affairs,Office of Admissions,Office of Campus Life
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 8ED0758C-E608-E97D-830B4FE296961F9D
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
 
newsId: D4AFBC67-5056-AF26-BEB05C1EA74843E3
Title: SIS Alumna Spends Free Time Advocating for Women
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle: Shayna McCready, SIS/MA '14 shares with the Alumni Association her experiences as an ambassador and founding member of the DC committee for Ladies Get Paid
Abstract: Shayna McCready, SIS/MA '14 shares with the Alumni Association her experiences as an ambassador and founding member of the DC committee for Ladies Get Paid.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/08/2017
Content:

While her day job is spent as a federal contractor for the US Department of State, Shayna McCready, SIS/MA '14, stays plenty busy and passionate outside of work as an Ambassador and founding member of the Washington, D.C., committee for Ladies Get Paid (LGP).

The educational and community-based organization provides tools and resources to help women advocate for their value in the workplace, which hopefully leads to increased recognition and rewards.

"When I am not managing U.S. funding for diplomacy and development, training for a race, or volunteering at my local Yoga studio and the Washington English Center as an ESL tutor, I am organizing and bringing women together across the DMV," Shayna says. "Since launching LGP in New York in 2016, we've hosted seven town halls with over 700 attendees. Our community is global with over 3,000 members."

Shayna feels the momentum LGP is building will evolve into a global women's movement. She credits her American University School of International Service (SIS) graduate program experience as well as her career in global diplomacy and peacebuilding for her passion in building networks to expand female expectations.

The AU experience provided Shayna with opportunities to engage in various fieldwork experiences. She completed a Graduate Practicum researching factors influencing economic resilience in Rwanda with Global Communities as well as an Alternative Study Abroad (also in Rwanda) and volunteered for needs assessment research in Haiti.

"I wanted to attend SIS to have the opportunities to engage directly with the leadership shaping the world of international diplomacy and development," Shayna expresses. "Washington, D.C. is a unique place to study in that you can read and study a topic in a book and then physically head over to dialogue with individuals working in the US federal agencies, working groups, and forums where the topics you read about are being discussed in real-time."

During her studies, she recalls working under Professor Loubna Skalli Hanna, which provided her the unique chance to explore research on the intersection of development, politics, gender, youth, culture and communication.

"In many places around the world including the US, when women's rights are threatened and systems of equality are undermined, everyone suffers the collateral damage," Shayna says. "No society is immune from backlashes, especially in relation to gender and equality. There is a continuous need for vigilance for women's and girls' full enjoyment of their social, political, and economic rights."

Read more about LGP.

Tags: SIS Career,School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 42516750-5056-AF26-BE5A0448456EF41C
Media:
newsId: 7959DE40-5056-AF26-BE285D2A3358B85E
Title: Making the most of the SIS network
Author: Erin Kelly, SIS/MA & SIS Alumni Relations Program Assistant
Subtitle:
Abstract: SIS graduate student Erin Kelly shares how spending time with alumni at annual SIS events eased her networking nerves.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/06/2017
Content:

Like any graduate student, I was skeptical about the role networking would play in my academic schedule at American University. But, at the student-alumni events I attended my first semester, I learned that true networking is about the personal connections you make. So forget the fancy reception rooms and high-powered lunches, real AU wonks can network anywhere: including next to the giant panda habitat at the National Zoo.

One event I attended to build my networking skills was the annual SIS Deans Reception, which brought 21 graduate students, staff, and faculty together with 19 alumni for a casual evening of cocktails and a tour of ZooLights, the National Zoo’s holiday light display, hosted by Dean James Goldgeier. Between appetizers, ice breakers, and a speech about the new SIS Office of Career Development, students and alumni alike felt the strength of the AU connection—as we all say: "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."

While networking can be tough, I found that the informal setting and lighted pathways of the National Zoo allowed graduate students and alumni to truly come together. At the reception, I saw my fellow students meet alumni who worked throughout DC. Most students are only aware of a handful of career options, and meeting alumni who have paved unique career paths broadens our horizons.

 

Several of the alumni I chatted with began discussing SIS. Between recommendations about classes to take and professors to meet, I learned which skills alumni had learned at AU have served them best in the workplace. Perhaps the most important moment of networking for me was hearing about the job searching process from alumni who had been in the position I am in now. Listening to the tips they had picked up and the careers they have now made me more confident about finding my next step after AU.

 

Events like the Dean's Reception not only expose students to new possibilities, but keep alumni close to the university community as well. AU's office of alumni relations puts on a variety of events that bring students and alumni together. Students who are nervous about learning to network can use the SIS Office of Career Development to broaden their skills. Once you have your business cards, check out which upcoming alumni events are right for you!

 

Tags: SIS Career,SIS Undergraduate Council,SIS Graduate Student Council,School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos:
Media:
newsId: C61CDCBB-5056-AF26-BE51BCB2CC7EF9F5
Title: Be Curious and Stay Connected: Lessons from Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94
Author: Megan Patterson, SIS/BA '11
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tony Silva, SIS/MA ’94, looks back on his AU experience and his international communication master’s program.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 02/09/2015
Content: "Be curious and remain curious."

Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94, values this philosophy as one of the most important things that he learned from his master's degree in international communication at American University's School of International Service. Having graduated with a degree in journalism from New Mexico State University, Tony came to AU, and SIS specifically, with a passion to do good in the world. Throughout his career, and now as executive vice president of Social Change at Ogilvy Public Relations, he is doing just that.

Looking back on his career, Tony knows that he has always been striving to make the world better. He describes the work that he and his colleagues at Ogilvy do, saying simply, "Social change is ultimately to improve the human condition." He credits the diversity at AU for helping him realize his "interest in travel, interest in issues, and how these issues effect a global population." 

While Tony went straight to the SIS master's program after graduating from college in New Mexico, not everyone else did. He valued the diversity of his peers, both globally – "Many of my classmates were from other countries or had spent a significant amount of time abroad" – and professionally – "I got to just learn not only from the professors, but from everyone around me." 

Tony knows the value of his degree, and he says that in his experience, the Washington, D.C. community values it as well. "Many AU alumni stayed in Washington for 25 years," he says, "so AU is well respected." Tony also is a big proponent of continuing to engage with the university. What's one reason why he encourages others to be engaged with their alma mater? "I got a private tour of the new SIS building before it was opened! That's one of the nice perks of staying connected with the university." 

5 things Tony Silva says his AU experience taught him: 

  1. Be curious and remain curious.
  2. Stay engaged and interested in many things.
  3. Bring new thinking into the workforce.
  4. Allow and accept the evolution of communication.
  5. Stay connected with people. Staying connected helps operating in this world a little bit better.
Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,International Communication,School of International Service,SIS Career
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: C644E245-5056-AF26-BEFE67FF567D8978
Media:
newsId: A26FABE8-9FE8-486F-05097B28A77CFD3E
Title: AU Students and Alumni Build Skills in the Office and at the Movies
Author: Roxana Hadadi
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU students and graduates make up the ranks at entertainment marketing firm Allied-THA, creating a community that encourages creative thinking and research.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 06/14/2013
Content:

In his three years at the entertainment marketing firm Allied-THA, publicist David Lieberson, CAS/SOC/BA '10, has seen more movies than he can remember. He’s met celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jesse Eisenberg. And, during a career that has already included two promotions, Lieberson continues to be surrounded by other AU students and alumni. One third of Allied-THA’s D.C. staff is made up of former Eagles, and current AU students consistently dominate the office's intern pool.


Working in film promotion has its celebrity-focused perks, but the firm’s numerous opportunities for creativity and development coupled with the opportunity to work alongside fellow Eagles is appealing enough on its own, Lieberson says.


“It’s been kind of nice to learn different positions coming right out of college,” says Lieberson, who worked on AU’s WONK campaign before joining Allied-THA full time. “And when you’re working with other AU alumni, everyone knows what we’re talking about.”


That connection to AU came in handy not only when Lieberson started at Allied-THA as an intern—he learned about the position from one of his fraternity brother’s friends, who was working there at the time—but when, after working his way up the ranks to junior publicist, he took over the Allied-THA intern program with another AU alumna. For more than a year, Lieberson and his co-worker drew on friends, acquaintances, and other AU students to staff the intern program. Internship responsibilities range from clipping articles and sending out packages to distributing screening passes for films and working on specific releases. 


“In terms of what attracts AU students, it’s a good intersection of communications, entertainment, and film, but we’re also a large PR firm,” explains Lieberson. “We have over 200 employees; we have 15 or 20 offices. It’s not like a little boutique firm. … The only thing we do day to day is clips; other than that, everything is different.”


Now as a full publicist with seven clients including Universal Pictures, Summit Entertainment, and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Lieberson spends more of his day planning press tours and events. Time management is key, says coordinator Jenna Irish, SOC/BA '11, whose responsibilities include working public film screenings, helping prepare reports for studios that include audience feedback, and pitching story ideas to press members. 


“When I was an intern, the things I was concerned about getting done and my responsibilities were nothing compared to here,” Irish says. “The amount of stuff you’re working on is intense.”


But the intern program is engaging because it provides chances for students to come up with their own kind of promotional ideas, Lieberson and Irish both say. If an intern comes up with an idea for a partnership with a local business to promote an upcoming film, they’re encouraged to pursue it—“you get out how much you put in,” Lieberson notes—and that kind of leadership and dedication to a project will look good on a resume. 


And so far Raakkel Sims, SIS/BA '13, has put in a lot. Although her previous internships have been more directly related to her academic focus on international relations—including her internships with the White House in summer 2012 and Finland’s Foreign Ministry while she studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium, in fall 2012—her internship with Allied-THA has provided her more insight into marketing methods and targeted writing. Those skills may come in handy during her internship with the Department of State this fall, Sims says, and for her eventual career goal of joining the Foreign Service.


“It’s really broadened my capacity to think outside of the box,” says Sims, who has worked on campaigns for films like “The Big Wedding,” “Safe Haven,” and “The Purge,” of her internship. “I know I can apply marketing to different SIS aspects; if I’m writing a report, I know how to word it in a certain way so the person reading remains interested.”


The large contingent of AU interns have helped bring a sense of familiarity and comfort to her experience with Allied-THA, Sims says, and she would encourage any student—movie obsessed or not—to consider an internship with the firm for the chance to improve and develop creative thinking, public speaking, and research skills. You may even be small enough for Sims’ favorite part of the job.


“I’ve done a lot for the movie ‘Despicable Me 2,’ and there have been a lot of appearances of the Minion costumes, which I am fortunate enough to be short enough to fit into,” Sims says with a laugh. “So when I think of Allied, I think of the Minion costume. I always volunteer to do it because that’s a fun thing to do. Everyone can be creative—you don’t have to just be a marketing major or minor to be here.”

Tags: Career Center,Career Development,College of Arts and Sciences,Film,Film and Media Arts,School of Communication,School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: A2B2556E-02DA-6509-501FEDC8D2599404
Media:
newsId: 9DB90A93-AA13-E425-634F22C41698F2DC
Title: AU Student Gives Back Through Federal Work Study
Author: Roxana Hadadi
Subtitle:
Abstract: Mayra Rivera, CAS/BS '13, has taken advantage of FWS opportunities to promote healthy living.
Topic: Student
Publication Date: 12/17/2012
Content:

When Mayra Rivera, CAS/BS ’13, was a senior at Bell Multicultural High School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., she was No. 2 in her class of 173 students. But as the daughter of El Salvadorian immigrants and with her mother a small business owner, Rivera wasn’t sure if she was going to apply to college.  

“I never heard of American University, even though I live here in Washington, D.C.,” Rivera says. “But during my junior and senior year, we had a representative from AU come over and give us a presentation, and I started thinking about it.”

Rivera applied to AU, and, thanks to a competitive financial package, she accepted. Four years later, with multiple federal work study (FWS) positions under her belt and a passion for working with children, Rivera is taking advantage of an assortment of student employment and volunteer opportunities both on and off the campus. As a first-generation student, Rivera is changing her family’s expectations about a college education and blazing a trail for her younger relatives while still finding ways to give back to her community.

Rivera has plans to use her degree in health promotion to educate children about the power they have over their bodies and choices. The adaptability and individuality of the subject appealed to Rivera.

“You have the power to change your health—to eat healthier, to exercise—and I feel like the reason why a lot of people don’t stick to diets or don’t go and work out is because they don’t know, they lack the education,” Rivera said. “So with health promotion, I’m learning how to implement programs and ways to approach how to make changes today.”

Sharing those lessons with children has been the main thrust of Rivera’s FWS positions with DC Reads and Kid Power. Introduced to the organizations through the Career Center’s Student Employment Coordinator, Tasha Daniels, Rivera worked with DC Reads for a year and then transitioned to Kid Power, where she has been for the last two years.

Students looking for FWS positions or part-time jobs on campus should regularly check the AU Student Jobs website, www.american.edu/studentjobs, keep an eye on list-serv or department emails that may advertise positions, and should be persistent, Daniels says. Look often, both before and during the semester, to see what kind of opportunities are out there, she suggests.

“Finding any job is a process,” Daniels says. “Keep applying until [you] land a position. … Submit professional application materials—resume and tailored cover letter—to increase [the] likelihood of landing a position.”

With both of her FWS opportunities, Rivera has been able to stay local and focused on her educational goals. During her time at DC Reads, Rivera worked with students one-on-one at CentroNía, a bilingual charter school in Columbia Heights—a five-minute walk from her home. At Kid Power, where Rivera both works as a FWS employee and is conducting an internship, Rivera is applying her knowledge about physical health and nutrition while leading whole classes.

“I was able to give back to my community,” Rivera says, and her impact is still felt years later. “The mom of the girl who I tutored at DC Reads works at Target and I also work at Target, and we always talk, and I always ask her questions about her daughter—I just saw them, and she’s grown up. And it’s nice to see they remember me.”

Rivera ensures the students remember her lessons about health, too. Thanks to encouragement from her Kid Power supervisor Shaden Dowiatt, Rivera is involved in the program Veggie Time, teaching students about gardening and nutrition.

“She’s fantastic; the kids really, really love her,” says Dowiatt, SIS/MA ’10, LAMB Site Director for Kid Power. “I think she relates really well to the students; she’s always very positive, smiles a lot, is pretty easygoing. Her passion and her focus is obviously on health education. This year she’s been doing an internship with me—she’s helped develop some of the lessons about nutrition and I’ve encouraged her to share those lessons with the students.”

And Rivera isn’t the only AU student at Kid Power. The organization employed both university alumni and 44 FWS students in fall 2012—about five to six AU volunteers are located at each of Kid Power’s 10 sites, Dowaitt says—and that atmosphere creates an undeniable sense of camaraderie.

“This past summer, we had this close connection,” Rivera says of her AU peers who also worked with Kid Power at their summer camp. “We all hung out at night, we had dinner and stuff together—we created this little AU family.”

And as for Rivera’s own family, they’ve been affected by her college choice, too. Although her mother was initially skeptical of her decision to apply to AU and hoped Rivera would help her with her small business, she’s grown to appreciate that Rivera “wants to do more”—“she’s always encouraging me, and now she brags about me going to college,” Rivera says. And Rivera’s younger sister has followed in her footsteps, and is currently a student at Georgetown University.

With graduation coming up in May, Rivera hopes to volunteer with other health- or children-focused nonprofit organizations and eventually gain employment at one; graduate school isn’t out of the question, either. But for now, she’s staying with Kid Power, hoping to introduce students to healthy recipes and eating habits. Without these FWS opportunities, Rivera says she’s not sure how she would have been able to so effectively prepare for her career.

“I never heard of Kid Power or DC Reads before federal work study, but it’s my interest to work with kids and to help them,” Rivera says. “If it weren’t for [FWS], I don’t know how I would get this experience.”

Tags: Career Center,College of Arts and Sciences,Federal Work Study
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 9DD21B2D-0AF9-20B7-BBD9115E33D08AB5
Media:
newsId: D914BBC6-C337-A187-A39663856B8FCAB6
Title: From Mock Trial to Study Abroad, AU Senior Seizes the Day
Author: April Thompson
Subtitle:
Abstract: Eric Fleddermann is proof positive you can have it all as an AU student - from preparing a mock trial case, to editing a peer's résumé, or playing drums in the pep band.
Topic: Student
Publication Date: 12/13/2012
Content:

Eric Fleddermann SIS/BA ’13 is proof positive you can have it all as an AU student. On any given day, you might find the senior preparing a mock trial case, helping a peer write a résumé in the AU Career Center, or laying down a drum beat for the Screamin’ Eagles Pep Band at a basketball game. It’s all part of the rich tapestry that has made up Fleddermann’s “American experience.”

“Being a student in D.C., I can attend court hearings, participate in political rallies, and take advantage of so many other opportunities on a daily basis,” said Fleddermann, a Missouri native pursuing a double major in international studies and business administration, and a minor in Arabic language.

A highlight of Fleddermann’s AU experience has been serving as president of the American University Mock Trial (AUMT) team, coached by School of Public Affairs professor Jessica Waters. The self-proclaimed underdog team made a splash this past semester, beating out national champions at a Columbia University invitational, considered one of the East Coast’s most prestigious tournaments. Fleddermann also took home a top attorney award at the tournament.

“Seeing our team blossom into such a success has been so rewarding,” he said.

His favorite class, Justice, Morality, and the Law, taught by Professor Waters honed his courtroom talent. “We debated controversial legal issues like terrorism, birth control, hate speech, and religious exemption,” said Fleddermann.

“The class taught me to consider all sides of an issue before presenting an argument.”

AU has also offered Fleddermann a gateway to the world. In 2011, he spent six months studying Arabic and business at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, arriving in the heat of the Arab Spring movement.

“I was a child of 9-11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, events that affected me deeply and made me want to better understand that part of the world,” said Fleddermann.

Real-world work experience has also been a part of Fleddermann’s life in D.C. He interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission among other workplaces, but he found job satisfaction working in AU’s Career Center. There, Fleddermann, a peer advisor since sophomore year, undertook data crunching, résumé writing, as well as marketing and outreach tasks.

“It’s been so rewarding to help other students reach their career goals. I also get to use my oral presentation skills I’ve developed through the mock trial team to speak to classes.”

Fleddermann now faces the exciting challenge of deciding where to apply the “arsenal of skills and knowledge” he has acquired at AU. The senior is contemplating government, law and national security among career paths – all great options for a new grad in the nation’s capital.

“My time at American has helped ground my ideals in reality,” said Fleddermann. “We can create change in the world, but it takes time, it’s hard work, and at end of the day, you may not make a grand change but at least you can change individual lives, and that’s what I hope to do.”

Tags: Career Center,Career Center Services,Mock Trial Association,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: D8C8818B-975B-B1B8-058ADFE7B28E0182
Media:
newsId: 36567F12-A965-28BC-8002C26200575E07
Title: Globetrotting Senior Travels the World Through a Series of Scholarships
Author: Roxana Hadadi
Subtitle:
Abstract: Wyatt Gordon, SIS/BA '12, was recently named an International Parliamentary scholar, another achievement among a number of language scholarships he has received while at AU.
Topic: Academics
Publication Date: 12/10/2012
Content:

If you’ve seen the Boren Scholarship brochure, you’ve seen Wyatt Gordon, SIS/BA '12, pictured on the cover. As a recipient of multiple scholarships, including the Boren, Critical Language, and International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS), Gordon has spent just five semesters on AU’s campus and the rest of his undergraduate years around the world.

“To speak a different language, to be able to see the world differently—I think it really enriches life,” says Gordon, who is fluent in German and Indonesian; proficient in Spanish; and can speak basic French.

Gordon’s international interest began as a high school student in Richmond, Va., where he was inspired to spend a year after graduation in Germany to better understand his familial roots. His father, who passed away when he was a child, was German, and Gordon’s cultural exchange was a way to connect with his heritage.

“It was a way to explore my past but also discover my future,” Gordon says. “I wanted to really see what my heritage was like, to figure out where I was coming from, to figure out where I really wanted to go. … After that, I really started thinking more internationally.”

Upon returning to the United States and beginning his undergraduate education at AU, Gordon’s next adventure was inspired in part by his SIS Cross-Cultural Communications class. While studying Indonesia, Gordon became enthralled with learning more about the country.

 “The more I read about it, the less I seemed to understand … I could not fit it with any of the frameworks the U.S. or Germany had given me to understand the world,” he says.

 Determined to master Indonesian, Gordon began attending free language courses at the Indonesian Embassy and teaching himself the language through books and podcasts. His extra efforts were rewarded with a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Malang, East Java, for two months in summer 2010, where he achieved upper-level intermediate proficiency in the language.

“I just fell in love,” Gordon says. “It’s a beautiful and completely crazy country at the same time. … [Java has] 140 million people, so you can’t go anywhere without anyone.”

Gordon’s Critical Language Scholarship experience propelled him to apply for a Boren Scholarship to return to Indonesia. After six months of preparation, essay writing, collaboration with professor mentors, and help from the Office of Merit Awards, Gordon sent in his application—and received the award, which allowed him to spend his junior year abroad.

“It was just really, really valuable, because I experienced so much more and I talked to so many people, that I now really understand the region; I really understand Indonesia,” Gordon says.  

Upon returning for his final semester at AU, Gordon decided on a trip that would take him full-circle—an International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) would take him back to Germany.  

IPS recipients spend three months working in the Bundestag, the country’s legislative body, and two months studying at Humboldt University of Berlin. Going back to his interest in Germany, Gordon says, just felt right. After turning in his application in late July, Gordon decided to pursue an independent study to learn more about the Bundestag and the country’s social and economic issues. Overseen by associate professor Olga Rojer in AU’s World Languages and Cultures department, Gordon drafted a memo each week of discussions happening in the Bundestag and what those conversations meant for the future of the country—a topic that came up during Gordon’s IPS interview. His knowledge of those politics, Gordon believes, is the main reason he won the scholarship.

“He is a wonderful student. He is truly passionate about language,” says Rojer, who taught Gordon in her Studies in German Film class this fall. “Economics, politics, social issues … German identity, German cultural issues … he just soaks it up.”

Gordon’s strong relationship with Rojer and other faculty members, including those in the ASEAN Studies Center, have certainly contributed to his scholarship success, says Joan D. Echols, Associate Director of the Office of Merit Awards. By being proactive about these opportunities and forming meaningful bonds with his instructors, Gordon set himself apart—and other students can, too, Echols adds.

“When you have success at one scholarship, it gives you a sense of, ‘Oh, I can apply for this, I can apply for something else,’” Echols says of how students can become active participants in the application process. “Wyatt is unusual because he’s really tuned into the scholarship world, and he has developed faculty mentors who share his intellectual interests. Go after class, go to office hours—students need to develop and cultivate faculty mentors because you can’t do any of this without them.”

After graduating in December, Gordon will have a few months off before reporting to Germany in March. For now, he can take a breather from scholarship applications, essays, and interviews, but he is already thinking about what he’ll do when he returns to the United States. He has applied to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Junior Fellows program, and is considering pursuing positions at various think tanks across the country.

In the long run, however, Gordon knows that Indonesia is calling.

“Indonesia is such an important place … by 2030, it will be the seventh-largest economy in the world, and it’s the biggest player in southeast Asia, a huge player in Asia,” Gordon says. “I just feel like Indonesia is so underappreciated, that’s where I need to be.”

Tags: Career Center,Office of Merit Awards,School of International Service,World Languages and Cultures
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 3697B56F-C441-E92B-1A492887409C73A3
Media:
newsId: EA86C3D2-0F60-CF85-0274576ED79DCCB8
Title: AU Students Take on Hot Topics of the Year
Author: Kara Dimitriou
Subtitle:
Abstract: Many pursue internships or research opportunities dealing with historic changes.
Topic: Student
Publication Date: 04/25/2012
Content:

Looking back just a few months, it’s clear that 2011 was a dynamic year filled with several historical and world-changing events. The death of North Korea’s longtime dictator, Kim Jong-il, left people everywhere questioning that country’s future. The European Union struggled to resolve severe economic issues with global ramifications. And the democratic protests across North Africa and the Middle East toppled governments and affected millions. But while the majority of us bore witness to these momentous events through the media, many AU students became active participants through their internships, volunteer positions, and study abroad programs.

As an intern with the Washington, D.C.,-based Committee on Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), Rosa Park, SIS/BA '12, continued working through the 2011 winter break--even on Christmas day--as her organization responded to the global shock wave caused by Kim Jong-il’s death. Now in her second semester at HRNK, Park helps manage the organization’s social media outreach, while also conducting research and submitting daily press summaries.

“Kim Jong-il's death was definitely a huge milestone,” says Park. “There is a lot of speculation right now because so little is known about Kim Jong-un, the successor. We have to analyze the information and infer what exactly is happening in a society where there are so few who know what is actually going on.”

Advocacy groups and Western governments have long regarded North Korea’s regime as one of the world’s worst violators of human rights. Although many are skeptical that this power shift will lead to any major improvements within the impoverished country, groups like HRNK are putting on external pressure for reform. Working with such an organization at a time of major change and excitement has reinforced Park’s goal of pursuing a career in human rights.

“Taking on this internship is one of the best decisions I’ve made,” says Park. “Since I’m Korean-American, I have a personal connection to the issues that are happening, as well as a deep interest in human rights.”

While interning with the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) in Brussels, Belgium, during the summer of 2011, Greg Wells, SIS/MA '12, worked on a variety of issues grabbing headlines that year. Wells attended conferences regarding European Union (EU) security, the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and concerns pertaining to the Arab Spring as the conflict in Libya raged just across the Mediterranean Sea and NATO led airstrike campaigns there.

In one assignment, Wells helped develop ATA’s Wikistrat Global Grand Strategy Competition. This month-long competition brought together graduate students representing top-ranked universities and think tanks worldwide to simulate how 13 countries might respond to five key security issues: global energy security, global economic rebalancing, international terrorism, the Chinese-American relationship, and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. The goal of this competition was to receive fresh perspectives on topical issues and foreseeable global challenges. Through this internship, Wells gained new insight into the media’s portrayal of world events.

“Often times the media latches on to smaller aspects of larger issues,” says Wells. “Sometimes we don’t know the big picture on what the rest of the world is doing… The U.S. seems to portray the Arab Spring as a new phenomenon, but in reality the situation has been fermenting for some time.”

Wells’ experience in Belgium influenced his own research completed for an independent study, titled "NATO's Evolution and the Curse of Collective Action." Wells is continuing his research to focus on the future role of NATO in U.S. foreign policy.

Last spring, David Burkhart, SIS/BA '12, was three months into a semester studying abroad at The University of Aleppo in Syria when the protests there suddenly forced him to evacuate.

Burkhart had heard stories about protests while at Aleppo, but it seemed like a distant event. “Then a protest occurred within my university,” says Burkhart. “I witnessed it. [Foreign students] had to leave the protest area that evening and were given 36 hours to get on an airplane to Frankfurt, [Germany].”

Earlier this month, approximately one year after the violence against protestors erupted in Syria, the government and resistance forces agreed to a ceasefire.
 
Burkhart returned to the U.S. to finish his classes online. But he soon grew restless, wanting to be a part of the history unfolding in the Middle East. He went to Beirut, Lebanon, to study Arabic at a private institution and signed up to volunteer as an English teacher in Hezbollah-controlled suburbs.

“The place I taught was very close to a Palestinian refugee camp, which housed 20,000 people in one square kilometer,” says Burkhart, who is now back at AU to complete his final semester. “To hear their views on society and life and to see how international development took place are experiences I couldn’t get at home.”

Burkhart’s Arabic courses have helped him to connect with people and events in the region. He describes “language as the path to understanding the people,” and his growing fluency contributed to his decision to move to the Middle East after graduation this May.

The students’ internships and volunteer experiences not only lead to career opportunities. The resources made available by American University and Washington, D.C., often allow students to partake in momentous experiences and become active participants in history.

Tags: Asia,Career Center,Career Development,Europe,Graduate Students,History,Human Rights,International,Internship,Job Searching,Middle East,Political Science,School of International Service,Study Abroad,Undergraduate Students
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: EA9D6C7D-E794-F161-60496F1046DDF52E
Media:
newsId: 6436D69E-E721-1804-56061AE044049B6D
Title: Students Work to Empower Women
Author: Kara Dimitriou
Subtitle:
Abstract: Worldwide, AU students are helping to create new opportunities for women and strengthen their voices in society.
Topic: Student
Publication Date: 03/30/2012
Content:

The theme of Women’s History Month 2012 is “Women’s Education - Women’s Empowerment.” The National Women’s History Project (NWHP) maintains that when students help to educate others, they can help empower women worldwide.

Rebecca Hollingsworth, director of youth outreach and education for NWHP, works to inform people about women’s contributions to society and to inspire future accomplishments.

“There are people who don’t think we need these months [honoring special groups]” says Hollingsworth. “But we can spend our lives so busy, going from one thing to another without ever stopping to ask, ‘who am I?’ Women’s History Month allows us to highlight aspects of ourselves and each other as a means of both self and group empowerment.”

Many AU students are paying tribute to women’s history and advocating for women’s issues year round, at home and abroad, through inspiring jobs and internships. 

Quinn Smeaton, SIS/BA ‘13, pursued an internship with the Moraa New Hope Foundation while studying abroad in Nairobi, Kenya, in the fall of 2011. A key focus area for this organization involves helping young women prepare to achieve successful futures.

During her four months in Kenya, Smeaton worked on two projects. The first, “Go-Girl Financial Literacy Project,” aimed to teach girls about the importance of fiscal savings. Smeaton also helped the foundation organize events to celebrate the girls’ progress in the program with music, dancing, and food. These so-called “Fun Days” were designed to create an additional, more light-hearted incentive for the young girls to continue on with their work, says Smeaton. This mix of training in applicable skills with jovial community-building events seemed to work, as 791 girls signed up for the program during Smeaton’s internship.

Through the second project, “A New Beginning, A Brighter Future,” Smeaton reached out to women involved in commercial sex work in the Kenyan towns of Majeago and Lunga Lunga. Many of these young women are forced into this kind of work due to extreme poverty and lack of opportunities. This project provides such women with start-up funds, personal financing, and workshops that allow them to become entrepreneurs and pursue a new path in life.

“We helped give them skills they can use for the rest of their lives,” says Smeaton. “Many women abroad don’t have the same opportunities we have here. We were able to give girls opportunities to change and realize they are capable of doing more.”

Like Smeaton, Tory Cwyk, SIS/MA ‘13, used education to inform and empower women.

She completed two consecutive internships with the Women’s Foreign Policy Group (WFPG), which highlights the contributions and voices of women leaders - past, present, and future - in international affairs. There, Cwyk was able to combine two of her principal interests: foreign policy and women’s issues.

Cwyk met many prominent individuals in international affairs as she organized events with influential female ambassadors, authors, and legislators, like Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“Since WFPG is a small organization with only two paid staffers, interns are able to really get involved,” says Cwyk. “We are given a lot of responsibility, which enables us to learn more than at many other internships.”

She also helped compile and research the women who made it into the foundation’s annual “Guide to Women Leaders in International Affairs.” This 53-page publication, available through the organization’s website, showcases prominent women in international affairs.

“It’s very empowering to give women a voice, making sure they are represented,” says Cwyk. “This organization creates a great environment to speak out and be heard.”

Smeaton and Cwyk’s internships are directly related to the theme of this month, “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.”

“If you want any say in the world, you need education,” says Hollingsworth. “Knowledge is empowering and leads to self-determination, which allows for options in the future. Internships are a form of empowerment.”

These students are not only empowering themselves, but also those they are helping and educating through their efforts. Additionally, they're building upon the rich history of women’s past accomplishments.

Tags: Africa,Career Center,Career Development,Graduate Students,Internship,Leadership,School of International Service,Study Abroad,Undergraduate Students,Women's Issues
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 645767F0-D0C4-26D8-FBA1EEB5D8770A41
Media:
newsId: 81EB1A2E-ADC2-3905-46A3D95E52CCC122
Title: AU Students Study Abroad Through Gilman Scholarships
Author: Kara Dimitriou
Subtitle:
Abstract: Studying abroad can be costly. But with financial assistance through a Gilman Scholarship, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Topic: Academics
Publication Date: 02/15/2012
Content:

Studying abroad can bring a lot of benefits: immersion in a new, exciting culture; the opportunity to master a foreign language; and an enriching academic experience with career benefits. But it can also bring some hefty financial costs. So, how can students lighten their debt load while still enjoying dim sum and lo mein after class in Beijing?
 
The Gilman International Scholarship Program provides students who might not otherwise be able to afford studying abroad the ability to take part in such a life changing opportunity. The goal of the Gilman Scholarship Program is to assist undergraduates pursuing their education in non-traditional countries (i.e., not Western Europe or Australia). Students from all fields of study are encouraged to apply.

This semester, six AU students are abroad on Gilman Scholarships. Abigail Ewart, SIS/BA ’13, Sophia Higgins, SIS/CAS/BA '12, Shelby Jamerson, SIS/BA ’13, and Marti Lankford, SOC/CAS/BA ’12, are studying in Egypt, Chile, Kuwait, and Taiwan, respectively. E.J. Thomas, SPA/BA ’14, and David Rubin, SIS/BA ’13, are in China.

Thomas chose to study in Beijing in order to prepare for a career as an international corporate lawyer focused on China.

“I’ve found class time and my legal internship here to be the most valuable experiences since going abroad,” says Thomas. “I’m learning so much about where I want to go with my career and, more importantly, about doing business in China.”

To apply for a Gilman Scholarship, students must prepare an essay, a service proposal, the official application form, and provide their school transcripts. For Thomas, the Office of Merit Awards (OMA) greatly aided in the development of his application.

Thomas says that Liz Romig, merit awards coordinator for OMA, “was a huge help in looking over my essay and suggesting a service proposal.”

David Rubin also chose to study in Beijing. He was awarded a Critical Language Supplement in addition to the Gilman Scholarship. This financial grant was only awarded to 50 students engaged in learning what the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs identifies as a critical language to the future of U.S. foreign policy.

After taking several courses in Mandarin language and Chinese culture, Rubin decided to study abroad to augment his studies with first-hand experience in China.

“I realized that as an outside observer, I would have a difficult time truly grasping my academic interests if I had never visited China,” he says.

Rubin agrees that the Office of Merit Awards is extremely helpful during the application process. He too refers to Liz Romig as a supportive guide throughout the application process.

“[She] not only helped me revise the application essays numerous times, but also served as an on-campus resource and contact for many of the administrative aspects of the process,” says Rubin.

Rubin already feels that his Mandarin language skills have improved since his immersion in Beijing just a few weeks ago. Likewise, he is thrilled with the academics at Peking University. Two courses in particular, “Rural Economics” and “Doing Business in China,” are proving invaluable.

Rubin is also enjoying being immersed in modern Chinese culture.

“It is especially interesting to me to observe how many elements of Chinese culture are currently in a state of transition,” he says. “Especially as many Chinese join the middle class and develop a cosmopolitan, though still distinctly Chinese, identity.”

As a supplement to the Gilman Scholarship, students are required to do a service project upon their return to America. Thomas’ project will involve coordinating an information session about the Gilman Scholarship with the Office of Merit Awards so that more students are aware of the financial assistance available for studying abroad. Rubin will also represent Gilman as an alumnus and student representative at the fall 2012 AU Study Abroad Fair.

Current undergraduates interested in applying for a Gilman Scholarship are encouraged to call OMA at 202-885-1854 to schedule an advising appointment. March 1 is the application deadline for summer 2012, fall 2012, and academic year 2012-2013 programs.

Tags: Awards,Career Center,Career Development,China,College of Arts and Sciences,Languages,Office of Merit Awards,Scholarship,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs,Study Abroad,Undergraduate Students
Suggested Home Page:
Profile: 29CE7F4C-F2C4-A4A2-F3DDA4506573C7E4
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 820346D8-BDDF-C48C-4CE01273AE6EE7B0
Media: