BAIS Alumni Today

Hugo Garza (BAIS ’16)

HugoIn 2016, I received my BA in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organizations with a minor in Political Science. During my years at the University of New Orleans, I took advantage of the opportunities the University offers by participating in a one-year study abroad program at the University of Graz, in Graz, Austria from 2014 to 2015. I had previously studied German for several years and had the opportunity to improve my level of German to an advanced B2-level while living in Austria. During that period of study abroad, I focused on learning about international and European law as well as European politics and international relations. The experience greatly expanded my experience and knowledge of international affairs.

I was also a member of UNO’s Model United Nations delegation in 2013, representing Viet Nam, and in 2016, representing Australia. The National Model United Nations Conference in New York City is one of the most enriching experiences I had at UNO, and it greatly increased my understanding of how diplomacy is conducted and expanded my knowledge about how the United Nations operates.

I enjoyed my time studying at UNO and the education I received from my professors there. After graduating from UNO in 2016, I was able to pursue a full Master’s degree abroad for 2 years in Chinese Politics and Economy at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, which is ranked among the top 5 universities in Mainland China.

I’m currently living in China and enjoying the impressive city of Shanghai. I believe that among the most important things in life are the experiences one gives one’s self and the stories these experiences allow one to tell. Living in Shanghai provides me a different story every day. The education I received in the International Studies program at UNO gave me a strong intercultural competence and the ability to adapt easily to other cultures. I’m profoundly grateful for the opportunities the International Studies program provided me. I strongly recommend this program to all students interested in learning more about international affairs and eager to expand their views and knowledge of the world.

Svetlana Pizzati (BAIS, '14)

Svetlana PizzatiA native of Russia, I have lived in New Orleans since 2006. I graduated Cum Laude from the University of New Orleans in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in International Studies. My concentration was in Diplomacy and International Organizations, and I also obtained a minor in Spanish. When I first came to UNO, I wasn’t sure which major to choose, but when I discovered the BA in International Studies (BAIS) Program, I never looked back. BAIS gave me the tools I needed to become an independent leader, and it allowed me to follow my passions. The Program’s extraordinary professors, its remarkably diverse student body, and its fun, yet academically rigorous, approaches to learning about leadership and diplomacy, made for a very enriching educational experience. I was also pleased with its many affiliated opportunities, such as the Model United Nations (MUN) Club, which allowed me to develop my public speaking and put to use my diplomatic and negotiation skills.

I am particularly grateful to the BAIS Program for its mandatory 120-hour internship requirement, which I fulfilled during my junior year at the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council (NOCDC), a nonprofit that connects local government, nonprofit, business, and academic professionals with their international counterparts through international exchanges and other programs “one handshake at a time.” After finishing that internship, I returned, in 2015, to assist the Council as Projects Assistant during a very busy period, and that led to my current position as a Program Officer at the Council.

I will forever be grateful to my outstanding professors at UNO and especially to the BAIS advisor for his guidance and support throughout my four years at UNO. There is no doubt that the BAIS degree helped me to become the person and the professional that I am today. I am certain that my career path won’t stop here, but I am well prepared for what lies ahead. I highly recommend this program to everyone who is interested in international studies, and I especially recommend it to international students.

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.


Michael Bentley (BAIS, ’13)

Michael BentleyPrior to my studies at UNO, I had a career with a Fortune 500 company in New Orleans where I worked as a mid-level manager. I had always been very interested in the field of international affairs, so after six years in that career, I came to UNO to get a BA in International Studies degree in order to move from management in the private sector to international relations in the public service sector.

While pursuing my degree, I majored in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organizations. I joined the BAIS Model United Nations Club and I had the opportunity to represent UNO at the National Model UN Conference in New York City in March of 2013. Our UNO BAIS team won the Outstanding Delegation and several Outstanding Position Paper Awards, which were the highest honors attainable at this academic competition. During my time at UNO, I also interned at The World Affairs Council of New Orleans where I gained indispensable skills about the operational aspects and day-to-day goals of a non-profit organization. I tenaciously dedicated most of my time to earn the highest academic grades in all of my courses in order to get accepted into a nationally recognized masters degree program.

My perseverance eventually resulted in my admission into the 6th nationally ranked international affairs program in the United States. I am currently pursuing a masters degree with a concentration in International Economic Affairs at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.  The BAIS program at UNO has given me a solid academic knowledge base that prepared me for the intensity of graduate school. During the fall 2014 semester, I interned at the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration in the Office of Trade Negotiations and Analysis. I will remain personally indebted to the Director of the BAIS program at UNO, Dr. John Hazlett, as well as the outstanding faculty who contribute to the program’s course offerings for the academic guidance and support that they provided to me during my time at UNO.   

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 while being enrolled in 18 hours each semester. From August 2013 to June 2014, I was 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. Currently, I reside in Roanoke, Virginia and I am attending Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech) where I am pursuing a Masters in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) with a specialization in Governance and Capacity Building. I will complete this degree in May 2015 and then begin a PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization at Virginia Tech with a tentative completion date of May 2018. 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. It is because of these experiences in the BAIS Program at UNO that I want to enter the professoriate upon completion of my PhD.


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.


Elizabeth McNab  (BAIS, '11)

emcnabI always knew I wanted to be involved with international matters. Initially when I began my studies at the University of New Orleans, I majored in Anthropology but after a while, I came to feel it was not the exact fit I was looking for. Eventually, after taking a variety of courses and through consultations with the Director of International Studies, I decided to make the switch to BAIS. I could not have been happier with my decision. The BAIS program offers several different concentrations, depending on the student's particular area of interest, whether that is a specific region of the world or diplomacy or something else related to global issues.

I received my Bachelors in International Studies with a concentration in Asian Studies and spent much of my time at UNO learning about the cultures, languages, histories, and politics of Asia. After making the switch to BAIS, as part of the degree program, I was required to take 18 credit hours in an Asian language. The language I chose was Mandarin Chinese, and although UNO did not offer the final high level courses I needed, this requirement prompted me to seek out opportunities to study abroad in Nanjing, China and to immerse myself in intensive Mandarin studies. I returned to UNO having renewed fervor in my education as well as a deepened interest in languages themselves. I decided that I wanted to become a language teacher, obtained certifications in TESOL and Business English, and started a small English as a Second Language program in Slidell, Louisiana.

In the Fall of 2013, I enrolled in the Applied Linguistics graduate program at Georgia State University. In this program, I am learning how to build ESL materials and curricula based on the very latest research findings in Second Language Acquisition. I hope to go on to complete research on spoken prosody and develop better materials and methods for teaching languages. However, none of this would have been possible if not for the exposure and possibilities opened up to me by my BAIS degree and the careful guidance provided by the program at UNO.  The BA in International Studies is an excellent degree program that provides a solid foundation in international issues and global awareness. BAIS not only introduced me to the possibilities in world languages, but also provided me with the historical and political backgrounds that serve as a foundation for understanding sociolinguistic and historical linguistic issues. This foundation has been integral to who I have become and what I hope to accomplish in the future, and I cannot thank BAIS and UNO enough for this invaluable knowledge and experience.


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.


Tatiauna Holland (BAIS, '10)

TJHollandI graduated from the University of New Orleans with a B.A. in International Studies and a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in May 2010. During my studies at the University of New Orleans, I was recognized as a University Merit Scholar and Taylor Foundation Scholar. While a university student, I worked as an immigration services counselor with Oportunidades NOLA, a non-profit organization, dedicated to assisting Latin American and South American immigrants obtain necessary documentation to enroll in school and secure employment.

Upon graduation from the University of New Orleans, I attended Southern University Law Center on a partial academic scholarship. While a student at Southern University Law Center, I was awarded a scholarship by the Louisiana Judicial Council for a persuasive article on Article IV of the US Constitution and Foreign Child Adoptions. I was also recognized as an Oral Argument Award recipient and CALI Excellence in Criminal Law Award recipient. As a third-year law student, I served as a student attorney (permissible under Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX) in Southern University Elder Clinic. In this role I represented indigent elderly in succession and probate matters.

Prior to starting The Law Office of TJ Holland, I worked as a staff attorney at a large personal injury law firm in South Texas and served as an intern law clerk to Judge James Stewart of the Louisiana Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. As a law clerk, I drafted the majority opinion in a criminal law appeal, which resulted in the reversal and vacating of a legally insane defendant's murder conviction.

I would recommend the University of New Orleans' BAIS program to anyone interested in understanding history, political relations, and economics from a global view. The BAIS program fully equipped me with the necessary analytical skills to excel academically and professionally.


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.


Ines Sigel (BAIS, '07)

InesSigelI graduated with a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organizations in 2007. The program was rigorous, yet flexible, and allowed me to really focus on the subjects of my interest. During my academic career at UNO, I studied abroad in Innsbruck, Austria through one of UNO's many excellent international programs. The year I spent in Austria was definitely the highlight of my studies, and I highly recommend anyone interested in international careers to study abroad.

Following graduation, my first job in the field was with the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council (NOCDC), where I was part of a team working on promoting "Citizen Diplomacy" by arranging programs for international movers and shakers who visited the U.S. through the Department of State's professional exchanges. After four years at the NOCDC, I was hired as Program Coordinator in the Division of International Education at UNO, where I worked on international student exchanges and the University's summer program in Prague.

My current job is in the Mayor's Office of Trade and International Affairs (MOTIA) in Houston, Texas. MOTIA manages the City of Houston's global relations and international initiatives that support economic trade and development of the region.

My BAIS degree prepared me well for a career in International Affairs. I was provided the tools and guidance necessary to develop the skills for the career I wanted. I highly recommend this program to any student interested in this career path.


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.