BAIS Alumni Today
Shadia Murad (BAIS, '13)
I 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)
I 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
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)
I 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)
I 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)
I 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)
In 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
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)
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
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)
I 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
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)
I 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)
I 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
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)
I 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
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)
I 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.