From April 4-9, 2018, APSIA Executive Director Carmen Mezzera traveled throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to build up the APSIA community – and to talk with new communities about why studying international affairs is important.
On Wednesday, April 4, she visited the University of San Francisco (USF), where 35% of undergraduates are the first in their families to attend a university. Professor Lindsay Gifford welcomed her to an International Research Methods class, where Carmen spoke to more than 20 juniors and seniors about careers and graduate school in international affairs. Then, Carmen met with Charlene Soriano, Associate Dean for Student Academic Support and director of the Muscat Scholars Program. Charlene shared ways to get more first-generation students interested in the field. Working with the USF Career Center, Carmen also held office hours that afternoon. Students came by to talk about careers in intelligence, working with refugees, and other fields.
The following day, Carmen visited the University of California, Davis. She was welcomed by Nancy Erbstein, Associate Chancellor for Global Affairs, Zachary Frieders, Director of Study Abroad, and Katy Pattison, Academic Advisor for the International Relations Department. It was a great opportunity to learn more about their Global Education for All campaign to “engage all students in global learning and experience before graduation.” They also discussed how students can use study abroad to enhance their professional competitiveness.
On Friday, April 6, Carmen met with Nikki Brueggeman, Education Program Officer for the World Affairs Council of San Francisco – and an alumna of the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies. They discussed the Council’s work to engage Bay Area high school students in international affairs, particularly those traditionally underrepresented in the field. Soon after, Carmen met with Mary Steiner, President of the United Nations Association of San Francisco, to think about ways to engage globally-minded young professionals in the city. Next, Carmen joined advisors for Sigma Iota Rho, the honors society for undergraduates in international relations, for an informal reception. She then met with Jesse Lin and Francesca Ginexi, leaders of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy San Francisco Chapter. To close out the day, approximately 40 APSIA faculty, administrators, and friends gathered for a dessert reception as part of the International Studies Association annual conference.
Finally, Carmen visited the University of California, Berkeley on Monday, April 9. Dreux Montgomery, Advisor in the Global Studies program, shared insights into the growth of this newer department. He also discussed students’ frequently asked questions about the field. Then, Juan Esteva Martínez, Director of the Berkeley McNair Scholars program for students traditionally underrepresented in graduate education, recounted some of his students’ work in international affairs, sociology, psychology, and related fields. He helped to think about ways to engage McNair Scholars as prospective APSIA students and faculty. Later that day, Carmen met with Breanne Tcheng, Bay Area Regional Director for Global Glimpse. Global Glimpse runs “life-changing international experiences for high school students from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods.” Carmen and Breanne strategized about ways to more deeply connect their students and alumni to the APSIA network.
To round out the trip, Carmen moderated a panel with the Cal Career Center on graduate school. The discussion featured three APSIA alumnae: Rachel Flynn, a graduate of George Washington University’s Elliott School and former Network Manager at the Omidyar Network; Dorothy Ngutter, Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy alumna and US State Department Diplomat in Residence for the Northwest; and Elizabeth Torres, Certification Manager at Fair Trade USA and graduate of the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. Panelists unanimously encouraged students to take time to discern which graduate program is right for them, to challenge themselves to master something difficult, and to build strong support networks to aid them professionally and personally.
The Bay Area trip provided a number of insights into ways to involve students from high school through their early professional life in international affairs. APSIA will continue to engage prospective students and partners in the Bay Area. We seek to reach new audiences and help students capitalize on the skills an APSIA education provides.
Parts of this trip were made possible through the 2018 APSIA Diversity Forum series: