BAIS Alumni Today

Shadia Murad (BAIS, '13)

Shadia MuradI received my BAIS with a concentration in Peace and Justice Studies and a minor in French in the summer of 2013. When I began my undergraduate degree in the fall of 2009, I was a General Studies major with no particular focus. Later, I decided to become a Psychology major. However, I soon realized that I was not interested in the Sciences and wanted to do something that was going to excite me. I happened to hear about the BAIS program from a friend and switched over. That decision and the program changed my life. The BAIS Program exposed me to a variety of disciplines that challenged me academically and helped me to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. With the help of the Program Director, John Hazlett, I was able to customize my program to suit my interests and career goals.

During my time as a BAIS student, I was a member of the Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and The Worlds Affairs Council of New Orleans. I also held the position of Secretary in the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS). I interned for a non-profit organization called Oportunidades NOLA, which provided education and social services to Latin American immigrants in New Orleans. I was also the recipient of the Gilman International Scholarship Award and UNO's Ambassador Award that gave me the opportunity to participate in the Glories of France Study Abroad Program in Montpellier, France.

After graduating, I applied for and was accepted into the Arab Studies Master's Program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Without the encouragement and advice that I received from Dr. Hazlett, I would never have dreamed of continuing my education at such a prestigious school. The BAIS program is truly unique in its curriculum, internship, and study abroad requirements, and its emphasis on foreign languages. It was a program that I stumbled upon when I was looking for direction and meaning, and it provided both. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

 

Brett Netto (BAIS '13)

Brett NettoI pursued a ten-year career in law enforcement before coming to UNO. I worked for several agencies, including the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office, Tulane University Campus Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, and the State of Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice. 

I came to UNO in the fall semester of 2011 and began my degree in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organizations and a minor in History. I also became involved in student organizations on campus. During my time at UNO, I was a Student Government Senator for the College of Liberal Arts, Vice-President of UNO Model UN, President of UNO Model UN, and a delegate at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City in 2012 (representing the Republic of Austria) and in 2013 (representing the People's Republic of Viet Nam). I am also a member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity and Phi Beta Delta Honor Society. In April 2012, I was a presenter at the 7th Annual American Graduate School (AGS) in Paris, France Graduate Student Conference where I presented, as an undergraduate, an original paper titled "International System Polarities and United States Involvement in Asia and the Middle East."  I also studied on UNO's program in Innsbruck, Austria during the summer semester of 2012.

During my time as an undergraduate, I worked as an admissions associate at the National World War II Museum. I am currently the program officer at the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council, where I had previously interned during the fall semester of 2012 and served as a volunteer programmer in the spring and summer semesters of 2013. I am excited about what the future holds for me and my wife Libbie.  I am exceptionally grateful for the opportunities presented to me during my time in the program and especially grateful for the professors I had the opportunity to learn from along the way.

 

Nicholas Marx (BAIS, '12)

Nicholas MarxI received my BAIS in May, 2012, with a concentration in Asian Studies. I had started off my university studies in engineering at another university, but I decided to switch schools and to pursue a degree in a field that fit my interests more. UNO was the right choice for me. I came to UNO in the fall of 2009 and immediately began to make great new friends and to develop relationships with the staff. Later in my studies, I participated in the UNO-Doshisha study abroad program in Kyoto, Japan where I met even more people who shared my interests. This led to many friendships and an internship with a professor at another university. The study abroad opportunity was the first step in my growing interest in the world. I enjoyed reading and learning about different places in classes, but studying abroad gave me my first experience outside the U.S. and in a different culture. The best part about the BAIS program at UNO is the faculty you get to meet and learn from. They are very respectful, caring, and intelligent people who allowed me to focus on my areas of interest. My time at UNO and participating in study abroad influenced me greatly.

After I graduated, I decided to come back to Japan, not as a student but as a teacher. I work as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in a public junior high school in Japan. This job is giving me yet another amazing experience. What makes it even richer is the solid foundation that UNO gave me in Asian Studies and the Japanese language. Because of classes at UNO, I was able to assimilate much more easily to a new culture. UNO gave me a basic mastery of Japanese that has made communication much easier. It gave me the ability to observe and learn. And it has given me an open mind, something that is absolutely essential for anyone who moves to a new place or culture. I plan to continue my education in the future, and I hope eventually to teach at a higher level. Thanks to UNO, I have the ability and the thirst to travel the world and gain new experiences and knowledge.

 

Sailesh Acharya (BAIS, '12)

Sailesh AcharyaI graduated with a BA in International Studies in May 2012 with a concentration in the International Business Track and a minor in Spanish. Looking back at the four years of my undergraduate life, I feel fortunate to have been a part of the BAIS program. Under the guidance of the program director Dr. Hazlett, and other faculty members and staff, I had the opportunity to take classes that interested me and helped me move forward with my career goals.Besides academics, I was involved in the Model United Nations Club on campus and went to the National Model UN Conference twice in New York representing UNO. I remained actively involved on-campus in Student Government, the International Student Organization, Honors Council, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Beta Delta, and the Golden Key Honors Society. In addition, I was able to participate in UNO's exchange program with the Berlin School of Economics and Law in Germany for an entire semester.

Currently, I'm pursuing a Masters of Science in Family, Youth and Community Science with a focus in Personal and Family Financial Planning at the University of Florida. With a good academic record, campus involvement, and the internship opportunities available to me through the BAIS program, I was able to obtain a Research Assistantship at the University of Florida and a wonderful chance to work with Financial Planners and extension program managers.

Most importantly, through the BAIS program, I became part of the student body at UNO that was driven, motivated, and focused. I got a chance to observe and closely work with colleagues and friends who found fun in challenge, energy in getting involved, and inspiration in experiencing new opportunities. No wonder most of those friends were BAIS students. When you see the people around you striving for success and working hard to achieve their goals, you want to join in and walk the path with them. That's why I am so grateful to the BAIS program for creating this educational environment where all these brilliant and motivated minds could gather and explore the world together.

 

Gioel Gioacchino (BAIS, '10)

GioelGioacchinoIn 2010, I graduated with a BA in International Studies and a concentration in diplomacy and international organizations and a minor in political science. Taking part in the BAIS program was a fulfilling and wonderful adventure. If I could, I would do it all over again!

The BAIS degree was flexible enough to allow me to shape the curriculum of my program. During my second year, for example, I attended a program called 'The Scholar Ship', a learning community on an ocean-traversing ship. I travelled from Greece to Hong Kong with students from all over the world studying conflict resolution and intercultural communication. During my junior year, I was back on the road again, thanks to a DAAD scholarship that allowed me to study and intern in Germany. I lived in Bremen and worked in Berlin for 8 months. At UNO, I felt supported and encouraged to seek out opportunities to travel, experiment, and receive a hands-on global education.

During my time at UNO I built deep friendships and strong professional connections. My experience was enriched by various on-campus student jobs. I worked at the UNO Childrens Centre, at the library, and finally with Dr. Hazlett and the BAIS program. Thanks to these positions, I was able to support myself and participate more fully in the UNO community. Working with the BAIS program, for example, I took part in launching the UNO Model UN program and lead the first UNO delegation to the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City.

During my last year at UNO, I took part in organizing a three-week conference that launched Recrear, an international organization whose mission is to help young people become active in community development practice. It is thanks to the opportunities and ideas that I developed during the BAIS program that I had the inspiration to co-found this organization that I am currently directing.

After graduating from UNO, I completed a masters program in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, I travelled and worked across 6 countries, and I took part in a year-long youth leadership fellowship in Montreal. I look back at the BAIS program as a time of growth, exploration, and learning. For four years, I was encouraged to grow into a fuller me. I am truly proud of my time at UNO.

 

Javier Jalice (BAIS, '09)

Javier Jalice

I received my BAIS from UNO in May of 2009, with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organizations and a minor in French. The BAIS program and its faculty and staff provided me with the tools and experiences necessary to succeed. I began my studies in the BAIS Program in the fall of 2005, a week before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. My goal was to study history, political science, international relations, sociology, and French. The BAIS program allowed me to do just that. Furthermore, the program encouraged me to study abroad and gave me the opportunity to experience what was the best summer of my academic life. Because of that experience, I was able to improve my foreign language skills and to graduate with a French minor. Throughout my four years in the BAIS program I was able to work part-time and still enjoy the benefits of a wide array of class choices at flexible times that always worked for me.

Upon completion of my undergraduate studies at UNO, I enrolled at Loyola University's College of Law in New Orleans where I quickly learned that my BAIS education would be crucial to my success in law school. At Loyola, I became a member of the Trial Advocacy Program in 2011 and advanced with my team to the finals in intramural competition. Afterwards, I was asked to join the Loyola Law National Trial Advocacy Team and to compete in the 2012 American Association of Justice National Trial Advocacy Competition in Los Angeles. I then competed in the 2012 and 2013 LSBA Trial Advocacy Competition, and I served on the Trial Advocacy Executive Board as Vice-President. I was also a Managing Editor and the Symposium Editor for Loyola's Journal of Public Interest Law. In addition, I served as a student practitioner in Loyola's Criminal Defense Clinic. During the summer of 2011, I clerked for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office. And during the summer of 2012, I clerked for the firms Gieger Laborde, The Kullman Firm, and Duplass Zwain. I graduated from law school in the spring of 2013, receiving Loyola University's Spirit of Ignatius award as an "Outstanding College of Law Graduate." After taking the Louisiana bar, I plan to stay in New Orleans and pursue a career in litigation.

I highly recommend UNO's BAIS program to any student looking to receive a solid education. The rigorous nature of the BAIS program provided me with crucial analytical skills that have allowed me succeed. UNO's program is rigorous, engaging, and is also flexible and built around the needs of individual students. UNO's BAIS program will open up great opportunities for all of its students, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

 

Rebecca Finney (BAIS, '08)

 RebeccaFinneyI cannot stress enough the high quality of education I received as a student in the BAIS program at the University of New Orleans.

I began my undergraduate studies in Elementary Education and continued in that field through my sophomore year. During that period, I never actually considered International Studies as a major, nor had I even heard of it. It took the events of a hurricane to change my life's trajectory and to make me aware of the BAIS program.

After the devastation we all experienced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I was one of twenty UNO students (mostly BAIS students) offered a full scholarship from the city of Orléans, France, to study at l'Université d'Orléans for a semester. This experience transformed my life in numerous ways — most significant, however, was the "new" major I discovered — International Studies! For the first time I felt passionate about something and knew I had to switch my major.

As a BAIS major, I chose the Peace & Justice concentration, one of only a handful of students to do so during my time at UNO. For my internship I was able to work closely with Dr. Hazlett to formalize the Peace & Justice curriculum as we know it today. Probably my greatest honor to date is delivering the commencement speech to the College of Liberal Arts in 2008.

As a result of the stellar education I received through the BAIS program, I went on to serve for two years as a volunteer teacher and director of a Community Child Development Center in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Thanks to my semester in France and my French minor, I was soon fluent in Haitian Kreyòl. In 2012, I left Haiti to pursue a Master's of Science in International Social Work at Columbia University, which I will hopefully complete this May 2014. I've since traveled as an educational consultant in Malawi to conduct a needs assessment of secondary education and traveled back to Haiti for on-going visits. I plan to pursue a career in international social welfare and education.

My hope is that the BAIS program is no longer a hidden gem at UNO, as it had been for me. All students considering a career in international development, education, or human rights should seriously consider the BAIS program. You won't regret it!

  

Jennifer Gill (BAIS, '08)

Jennifer GillI graduated from UNO in December of 2008 with a BAIS degree with a concentration in Business Administration. In spite of all my struggles (Hurricane Katrina and taking care of two little ones), I managed to slowly expand my professional experience in the banking industry.

It was not easy, but my goal was to use my bilingual skills (Spanish-English) in any way I could. In 2007, after my relocation from New Orleans to Hattiesburg, MS due to Katrina, I was given the opportunity to start working for Regions Bank as a Bilingual Mortgage Customer Service Representative. I worked in this field for three years while working on my BAIS degree. One of my duties was to help translate in my department and in the other servicing areas such as collections, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and the mortgage loan origination departments. I also helped Human Resources with the screening of potential bilingual candidates. My exposure to these areas helped me better understand the mortgage field and also gave me an insight into what I wanted to do next. So I set my mind on becoming a Mortgage Loan Originator. It took a lot of work and determination. Luckily, in January of 2011, I was able to transfer from the servicing department to the mortgage processing department as a Mortgage Loan Processor for a portfolio mortgage product. Then, in November of 2012, I was finally given the opportunity to become a Bilingual Mortgage Loan Originator. It has been a tough job but a very rewarding one, and I am enjoying every aspect of it! I know that I would not have done it without the education I received from UNO. And I thank you as well for your academic guidance. Your BAIS program is an excellent program that I feel opens up the door for great job opportunities. The business core curriculum helped me tremendously and I would recommend it to anybody.

 

Flavia Jordan (BAIS, '06)

Flavia JordanI received my BAIS from UNO in 2006. During my last semester, I started an internship with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, which eventually led to my work in a community center focused on bringing support and resources to the growing Hispanic community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Upon graduation, I travelled to France, then moved to New York, where I worked with community centers and at Parent Earth, a food education start-up that produced videos about nutrition and healthy eating habits. My role there as Outreach Coordinator was to engage the community by going to soup kitchens, community centers and schools to get parents and children involved and active in their health and eating habits. In addition, I worked to enact local legislation regarding food initiatives. I also managed the company's social network, reaching out to like-minded organizations and gathering support for events and projects.

In 2011, I began working at the United Nations, and I am currently a staff member in the Staff Counselors' Office. Our office provides psychosocial support for all staff members at headquarters, and many others on Mission, through trainings and workshops, to prepare them before going into the field.

I will now be following up on the work I built towards in my internship by moving to Brussels to pursue a Master's in International Migration at Kent University. I hope to continue learning about issues related to integration and reinforce my French in order to facilitate my work with local communities.

I recommend UNO's BAIS program for anyone wishing to work with others, in both domestic and international affairs. The student community is truly diverse, and my peers gave me great insight into other cultures and viewpoints. The university's teachers were excellent mentors: smart, helpful, and approachable – they are the reason for my success and engagement both during and after the program.

 

Aaron Forbes (BAIS, '05)

Aaron ForbesI received my BAIS from UNO in December of 2005, with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Spanish. This program and its staff have given me many rich and exciting professional experiences, both during and after my undergraduate studies.

In 2002 I was awarded a NSEP Scholarship for 10 months of study at UDEM (Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico). During the summer of 2003 I worked with Mexican university students and village members in the indigenous communities of the Sierra Tarahumara, on a sustainable gardening project. With the encouragement of the UNO BAIS Director and staff, I signed on for a second summer as an intern on the same project. This internship and sojourn in the Sierra Tarahumara helped narrow my interests, and so upon my return to UNO I began to focus my studies on Latin America, cultural anthropology and community development.

Upon completion of my undergraduate studies I joined the Peace Corps (2007-2009) and worked in Benin, West Africa as an Environmental Youth Educator. There I learned French and Fongbe as I assisted in the development of the gardening and agricultural program at a rural youth farm school and orphanage. During this time, I also worked with the International non-profit Unseen Stories, on the filming of a documentary on child trafficking. In 2010 I returned to New Orleans where I was hired as the Founding Spanish Teacher and as an ESOL Founding Teacher at Morris Jeff Community School, which is now a 3rd year public charter school and an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program Candidate School. In 2012 I joined the prestigious Americas Awards for Latino Children's and Young Adult Literature as a Review Committee Member. That same year I also joined WACNO (World Affairs Council of New Orleans) as a board member and as the K-12 Outreach Program Coordinator.

I highly recommend the UNO BAIS program to any student looking for a career in international relations. UNO's program is rigorous, engaging, and is also flexible and built around the needs of the individual student.