Fall 2017 Student/Alumni News

Janelle McDowell
Study Abroad Spotlight: Janelle McDowell, participant in UNF Art and Design Summer 2017 program in Italy (9/16/17)
Recent International Studies graduate Janelle McDowell (2017) participated in the summer study abroad program in Italy led by Debra Murphy, professor and chair of the Department of Art and Design. The group spent one week each in Florence and Massa Marittima, and four weeks in Rome. "We got to experience the historic monuments, architecture and museums that contribute to the culture of Italy," Janelle wrote. "A few of the sights we saw were the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Venice, Naples--including Pompeii and Herculaneum--, and Michelangelo's David. We learned about the history of Italy and the importance that art had within their civilization and how that transcends into today's Italian culture." Photo: Janelle in Florence, atop the cathedral of Santa Maria

 Alumni Update: Rachael Dollarprogram liaison with the International Committee of the Red Cross (9/14/17)  

Rachael Dollar graduated from the University of North Florida in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in French. Her final semester included the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant to Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, founder of the University of North Florida's Public Service Leadership Program. Upon graduating, Rachael began her career in public service working as a staff assistant to United States Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) in his Jacksonville office. After a year and a half, she then made her way to the nation's capital, serving as Senator Nelson's scheduler and special assistant. As of August 2016, Rachael has moved on into the humanitarian field, working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a sister organization of the American Red Cross. Based in Geneva, the ICRC is a neutral, impartial, independent organization working to assist victims of armed conflict. With over 16,000 staff operating in 80 countries (and counting) worldwide, Rachael is the program liaison at the Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada based in Washington. She organizes ICRC visitors from Geneva and the field to North America by creating programs that focus on interacting with the US and Canadian governments, the non-profit sector, and academia. In her short career at the ICRC, Rachael has been lucky to have had opportunities to travel to Amman, Jordan, for training exercises, as well as to provide support to the New York City Delegation to the United Nations. Congratulations to Rachael! 


Theo Mason

Congratulations to Theodore Mason, summer 2017 intern with the UNF English Language Program (9/7/17)


Congratulations to International Studies major Theodore Mason, who interned with the English Language Program (ELP) at UNF in summer 2017. In this position, Theo provided support to the international students from 12 different countries speaking eight languages by responding to inquiries in person and over the phone. He also organized and led some language activities for students after class, and assisted ELP instructors and staff during field trips and out-of-class activities. Irene Silas, ELP director, supervised Theo's work, and reported to us as follows: "During his work at the ELP, Theodore was courteous and friendly. Our international students and staff enjoyed his energy and enthusiasm. He was always ready to help and was willing to provide our students with anything they needed. He worked well as a part of our team and took instruction easily." Theodore received academic credit for this experience through INS4990 International Studies Internship. Photo: Theodore (back row, far left) with the ELP students on an ice-skating field trip.

Camila Gonzalez

Alumni Update: Camila Gonzalez, territory manager for Nespresso USA (9/5/17)


Alumni Update: Camila Gonzalez graduated from UNF in 2015 with a double major in Spanish and International Studies. After graduation, Camila spent six months traveling through Eastern Europe and Morocco. After her travels, she moved to San Francisco, California, where today she is a territory manager for Nespresso USA. In this role, she works with a variety of vendors to ensure daily business operations run smoothly, while simultaneously developing a strong customer network, effectively presenting the B2B products to potential new and existing clients, and closing new business. More generally, she also leads and enhances Nespresso Business Solutions in the office service division, conducting sales presentations and customer trainings. Congratulations to Camila! Photo: Camila in Chefchaouen, Morocco


Bozena Bakula

Alumni Update: Bozena Bakulaclient associate with Bledsoe, Baker, Busch & Associates (8/31/17)

Alumni Update: Bozena Bakula graduated from UNF with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in 2013. Today she is a client associate with Bledsoe, Baker, Busch & Associates, a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Team. In this position, Bozena provides dedicated operational and sales support to multiple financial advisors. She feels that has found her calling in wealth management, a field in which she is able to employ the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills she developed through the International Studies Program. Congratulations to Bozena!

Grace N

Alumni Update: Grace Namchaithotsaphon, summer 2017 participant in Thai American National Internship Program (8/28/17)


Grace Namchaithotsaphon graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in 2015. This past summer, Grace participated in the Thai American National Internship Program in Washington, DC. She interned in the office of Congressman Robert Brady for six weeks and in the Royal Thai Embassy for one week. At Congressman Brady's office, she answered constituent calls, attended briefings and hearings, and wrote memos about specific issues to help inform his vote. "Being at the heart of politics allowed me to learn so much about all the behind the scenes work needed to make policy and legislation," Grace reflected. During her week at the Thai Embassy, she learned how to process passports, visas, and Thai IDs, as well as how to legalize documents going to Thailand. "My favorite part was helping Thai citizens in distress or emergency situations," she told us. Congratulations to Grace! Photo: Grace with Congressman Brady



   Shannon Reynolds
Study Abroad Spotlight: Shannon Reynolds, summer 2017 trip to Europe focused on environmental sustainability and collective action (8/24/17)


International Studies major Shannon Reynolds​ spent a month in Europe over the summer with a program through the University of Florida. The group traveled nearly every day, exploring cities in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. The  program included visits to the offices of several international organizations, including the European Union, the United Nations, and World Trade Organization. These events focused on topics including environmental sustainability and the power of collective action to effect change. Photo: Shannon on top of Mont Blanc in the Alps. 
Rebecca Eppler
 Alumni Update: Rebecca Eppler, student in Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University  
Rebecca Eppler​ completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UNF in 2013. As an undergraduate, Rebecca interned at local non-profit GlobalJax, promoting citizen diplomacy in Northeast Florida, and upon graduating, transitioned to work at GlobalJax for three years, before leaving her position as Director of Programs. Today she is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University, and is earning a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies.  She works as a graduate assistant at the Center for Social Justice at Georgetown University, and is project coordinator for Tastakel Center for Women, a non-profit educating Syrian women in Turkey and Syria. In summer 2017, Rebecca interned at the High Negotiations Office of Geneva in Switzerland as a Georgetown Conflict Resolution Summer Fellow. In Spring 2017, she completed a field work with Syrian refugees course in Jordan. During her time at UNF, her favorite experiences were studying abroad in Germany to learn German and participating in coursework that allowed her to research and present an original policy proposal to members of the federal government in Washington, D.C. Congratulations to Rebecca!  Photo: Rebecca in Jerash, Jordan, in March 2017  


Kat Gramm-Zlotnik  
Alumni Update: Kat Gramm-Zlotnik, Master of Public and International Affairs student at the University of Pittsburgh (8/17/17) 

Kat Gramm-Zlotnik graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in 2013. This fall, she is beginning the Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) program at the University of Pittsburgh. She will be focusing on human security, and will obtain a dual master's degree in social work. After completing her studies, she hopes to find a government or non-profit position combating human trafficking both abroad and in the United States. Congratulations to Kat!

Jimmy Everett
Congratulations to Jimmy Everett, summer 2017 interpretive ranger at Yellowstone National Park (8/15/17)
Congratulations to Jimmy Everett (International Studies, 2013), who worked this past summer as an interpretive ranger at Yellowstone National Park. 


"I was responsible for facilitating intellectual and emotional connections between visitors and the park's natural resources," Jimmy explained. "This entailed designing and giving educational programs about the wildlife, geothermal features, and history of Yellowstone. My duties also included keeping visitors safe by monitoring the movement of large ungulate species, such as elk, to ensure that humans do not approach the wildlife and put themselves at risk. I also worked with youth who were participating in the 'Junior Ranger' program, which was one of the most rewarding aspects of my job." 
After an exciting summer, Jimmy is now in Gainesville. As we announced in the spring, he is beginning the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies program at the University of Florida.

Sara Baranda 2016
Alumni Update: Sara Baranda, summer 2016 intern with Border Community Alliance​ (BCA) and Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense, A.C. (8/10/17) 


In the summer of 2016, Sara Baranda​ (International Studies, 2016) participated in the six-week summer internship program sponsored by the nonprofit organizations Border Community Alliance​ (BCA) and Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense, A.C. (FESAC​). Sara and her colleagues were housed in Nogales (the US side) and received a stipend for living expenses. They witnessed first-hand the strong economic activity between Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona, and learned about the complexities of immigration policy and social justice through such experiences as touring maquiladoras and a produce distributor; witnessing a plea hearing at Tucson's courthouse and seeing approximately 70 migrants receive their sentence for illegal entry into the US; attending meetings with the Mexican Consulate, the American Consulate, and Border Patrol; and volunteering at a soup kitchen where deported migrants received a meal and were given toiletries, clothes and shoes before setting off for home. The group visited a camp located near Arivaca, Arizona, where a humanitarian organization known as No More Deaths/No Más Muertes​ gives migrants temporary shelter, food, and basic medical treatment, and explored towns like Sasabe, which was once a tourist area, and is now a ghost town because of drug cartels that have extorted money from the local population. Sara and the other participants also trekked through the desert to replenish water/food supplies along trails known to have heavy migrant foot traffic, and toured a gymnasium, built by BCA and FESAC, that serves as a safe space for young people and a cultural center.    




Abbie Bernet, July 2017
Congratulations to Abbie Bernet, member of Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset (8/8/17) 

Congratulations to Abbie Bernet (International Studies, 2016), who in June became the youngest Rotarian at the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset. Abbie has long volunteered for Rotary Youth Exchange and the Ponte Vedra club decided to create a special program to allow young people like her to join. "I am so thankful for yet another opportunity Rotary International has provided me with and look forward to serving my community with my fellow club members," Abbie commented.


Photo: Abbie at a recent event with Paula Roderick, who sponsored her membership as a Rotarian and who also volunteers with Rotary Youth Exchange