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International Communication Professor Priya Doshi Credits the Washington Semester Program for Launching Her Career

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Priya Doshi

Our nation’s capital always interested Professor Priya Doshi, a professor of strategic communications at American University. When she arrived to start teaching in 2007, it was not her first time on American University’s campus. With more than 15 years of experience as an international public relations practitioner, Doshi credits the Washington Semester Program for launching her career.

Having attained her bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University, Doshi knew that she wanted to obtain professional experience in DC. The Washington Semester Program gave her the opportunity to gain experience in a place centered around politics.

“I learned about the Washington Semester Program at the end of my sophomore year at Vassar,” recalled Professor Doshi on her decision to join the program. “The fact that I was on campus but also in a city was so exciting. I had the chance to get to know a whole new place. Through this program, I got my first internship with an American think tank focused on Middle East policy.”

The Washington Semester Program provided Doshi a guaranteed internship and the opportunity to learn from foreign-policy practitioners. She credits her boss from that internship for the three subsequent summers of employment and helping her find her first job after college that launched her international communications career.

Throughout her life Doshi felt as if she were living between two cultures. Born in India and raised by immigrant parents, she struggled to acclimate herself within American culture. Although she was educated in America and spoke with no accent, she still felt like an outsider. Her experiences while growing up gave her insight as to why differences between cultures are so strong.
It was no surprise when she developed an interest in cross-cultural communications.

While studying in the Washington Semester Program, Doshi had the epiphany that culture simply means coming from a different starting point. It also means that what each culture places value and importance on are completely different. She incorporates these ideals in the international strategic communication course and other courses she now teaches at AU.

“I cover how to approach talking about issues in which the general public may not have a real interest. That is something that I bring from both my personal and professional career into the classroom,” Doshi says.

Doshi has had significant experience in the realm of international communications. During her first position after college with the Kuwait-America Foundation she was assigned to a campaign focused on building a relationship between Kuwait and the U.S. through community outreach in DC. She has also had experience with both the Swiss and British embassies because of her unique perspectives on cross-cultural communication and policy. Doshi has spent most of her professional career in DC and is now back where it all started, at American University.

“From getting agency experience to working with a global non-profit, there are many roads that lead to this field,” said Doshi. “I will say that DC is my home, and I absolutely fell in love with it during that first summer with the Washington Semester Program.”