Program: INT Undergraduate
Year of graduation: 2010
Concentration: Social Theory and Movements
How did the International Studies Program impact you?
INT allowed me to combine my varied interests (sociology, psychology, gender, race, sexuality, history, economics, and politics, for example) and gave me the opportunity to explore and discover the interrelated threads between them. I am what you would call a “big picture-person,” and INT helped me to develop theories of society and power that allowed me to contextualize my knowledge and experiences within the “big picture” of our modern world. Every course, every analytical summary, every final paper or thesis that I wrote for the course was a process of discovery that changed my understanding of the world and of myself. INT honed my critical thinking skills and challenged me to develop ever more complex theories and understandings of the world around me.
What are some of your major accomplishments?
As a freshman at DePaul, I started the DePaul Medical Brigade, which was a group of 13 DePaul Students who went to Honduras for a week to set up a free one-day medical clinic in a different rural community each day we were there. By the time I graduated, this rag-tag group had grown into the largest student organization on campus, Global Brigades at DePaul, which now includes 8 different programs, and boasts a membership of over 400 students who travel to Central America and Africa all year long designing and implementing sustainable development projects with their local in-country counterparts. I continue to serve as a resource for the current leadership and do what I can to stay up-to-date and involved in the organization.
What are you doing now?
I recently completed my first year in-country as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. I am a Rural Health and Sanitation extentionist, which means that I work on projects and teach courses for kids, adults, and professionals in and around my community addressing a wide variety of topics including dental health, self-esteem, high blood pressure, parasite prevention, and prenatal care. The irony of my situation is that although I don’t even have running water out here, I have a working cell phone and a decent internet connection!
In the future I’m interested in consulting for or administering international development organizations. I am therefore very interested in understanding the pros and cons of various “development” strategies and operational practices. As one of the largest and most-institutionalized development organizations in the world, the Peace Corps model is one worth fully understanding, both in its strengths and weaknesses. I decided that the best way for me to evaluate this behemoth of a development organization was to jump right in and experience it for myself! It has been a surreal and eye-opening experience. No experience has taught me more about poverty or international development, but more importantly, no experience has ever taught me more about myself and my own culture.
Is there anything you’d like to say to current or prospective INT students?
You will get out of the INT Department whatever you put into it. If you skim the materials, you might get a decent grade. But if you put in the time, the effort, the patience, and the excellence necessary to do good work and complete your courses, you are going to reap a wealth of personal and professional benefits that will stay with you after graduation and beyond.