On February 13-16, 2019, APSIA’s International Admissions and Operations Manager Briana Suarez traveled to Chicago, Illinois to participate in the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) Conference and connect with local universities and organizations.

Outreach to local universities included Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University of Chicago (LUC), and the University of Chicago. Throughout the two days, undergraduate students across the Chicago area attended live information sessions on the best practices in applying to graduate schools. The sessions were coordinated with the help of the International Studies departments at DePaul and LUC and the Political Science department at Northwestern.

Briana spoke on channeling different interests into a career in the international affairs space. Students asked questions about the graduate school admissions process, when to pursue a graduate degree, and the career opportunities available within the field. Specific interests in international affairs ranged from economics, political science, languages, education, criminal justice, and international development. Dustin Clinton, Assistant Director of Admissions for the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy joined Briana at DePaul to help guide students. Students have since followed up with APSIA, seeking personal advice on their careers and wanting to engage with APSIA member schools further.

To support APSIA’s goal of pipeline building, Briana met with organizations that support talented Chicago students in their college readiness, including the Collegiate Scholars Program at the University of Chicago, HFS Chicago Scholars, and Chicago Scholars. Students selected for these programs are mainly first-generation students from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. All aim to expose their students to more options after college graduation through career fairs, workshops, and networking events.
The conversation at each organization centered on how to better reach students earlier in the pipeline, expanding awareness for international affairs among students and families, as well as the resources available to make higher education more accessible to multicultural communities. Briana volunteered to serve as a resource for each organization to begin the conversation on graduate school readiness.

Lastly, Briana exhibited at the 37th annual US Hispanic Leadership Initiative conference at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel. The conference’s theme, “Defend Democracy: Aquí y Ahorra,” brought together an estimated 1,600 students and young professionals, representing 26 states and 144 institutions. She spoke with numerous students and young professionals during the graduate school recruitment event – some who were already interested in pursuing graduate school and a Ph.D. and some who were unaware of the interdisciplinary training APSIA schools provide. A number of students signed up for the APSIA monthly newsletter by the end of the event.

Although the weather was extremely cold those three days, Briana said the warm reception by all of the students and advisors made the Chicago outreach trip a fruitful one. APSIA hopes to continue the partnerships and connections made during this time.