BAIS Peer Advisors

In an effort to strengthen advising and retention, and build cohesion among the students in the major, the BAIS program created a Peer Advising program. Peer Advisors are current BAIS students who volunteer their time to share their expertise and provide basic information about the major, especially to new students. They hold drop-in office hours twice a week where they help students develop a four-year plan and provide referrals to other services on campus. Additionally, Peer Advisors sit on the BAIS Faculty Student Advisory Council, which meets monthly to discuss program issues and plan program events. Peer Advisors serve as leaders and exemplary students in the BAIS student community and gain valuable experience in collaborating with faculty and staff.

Fall 2014 Peer Advisors


Lauren AbuAli is a senior, majoring in international studies with a concentration in international economics and a double minor in Latin American studies and film studies. She was a member of USF women's soccer for her first two years at USF. She first became interested in international studies and Latin American studies in particular after having gone abroad freshman year for a short service trip to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic with Here for Kids International non-profit. She has had the opportunity to study abroad twice in Latin American, the first time in Costa Rica to work at a conservation center during the summer and the second time this past spring in Argentina to study public health. She loves language, culture, travel, and film, and one day she hopes to incorporate media and international affairs or potentially looks to join the foreign service! 

Peter Banyai is majoring in International Studies with a concentration on Global Politics and Societies and minoring in European Studies and History. In his first two years at USF, he was on the Men's Soccer Team. In his first year as a Peer Adviser he organized the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide. During the summer, he travelled to Zambia through the Zambia Today program. His number one thing to do is traveling because he gets to know more people and cultures which is essential, especially on this field. In the future, he hopes to become a human rights lawyer.

Sabrina Belara is a senior at USF majoring in International Studies with a focus on Cultures, Societies and Values and minoring in Latin American Studies. During the spring and summer, she interned for Baseball Without Borders. Upon graduating she is going to drive down to Chile from California to gain a firsthand experience of Central and South America. After her travels she plans to either relocate to another country or return to USF to pursue a Masters of Arts in Teaching: Urban Education and Social Justice.

Angelina Demirbağ is a junior at USF majoring in International Studies with a focus on Peace and Conflict and is minoring in Middle Eastern Studies and Legal Studies. After studying Arabic for her first 3 semesters, she hopes to travel across the Middle East and Arab world to learn more about the region and learn the local Arabic dialects. Peace and justice is one of her passions and has spent her last two summer and winter breaks volunteering at Mediation Services of Maui in Hawaii to help resolve communal and familial issues that are unsolvable in court. For graduate school, she hopes to study Security Studies and eventually go to law school. 

Phillip Gibson (most just call him Phil) is an International Studies major with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies and a minor in Africa Studies. In 2011, he lived East Africa for six months to work with various education based organizations and returned to Uganda last summer with the Global Service Learning Fellowship Program through the McCarthy Center to work with street children. In his first year as a Peer Advisor he collaborated with recent USF Alumni, Kate Armstrong, to organize a panel discussion around the issue of children who live and work on the streets both domestically and abroad. He hopes to pursue international social work after graduation, but also has his eye on inter-faith communication/reconciliation opportunities. He comes most alive either surfing down at Ocean Beach or climbing some rocks out in the High Sierras.  

Roxann Guthman (Senior) - Global Politics and Societies, Latin American Studies

Katie Hobbs is a sophomore majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Environment and Development. She has not yet declared a minor within International Studies, but is currently deciding between Latin American Studies and European Studies. However, she is also pursuing a minor in Music. With three semesters of college level spanish classes and many years of practice with the language, she hopes to study abroad and use her skills to learn more about different cultures. In particular, she hopes to explore the connections between the environment and economic status of a country, as well as how different aspects of culture, like music, can impact them. After college, Katie’s ambitions are to one day become a part of the foreign service.

Adriana Levandowski is a sophomore at USF majoring in international studies with a focus on Peace and Conflict Studies and minoring in Middle Eastern Studies and Legal Studies. During the summer, she interned at the San Francisco Democratic Party and coordinated their high school fellowship program. Adriana hopes to pursue a career in either international or human rights law. 

Jillian Smith is a senior at USF majoring in International Studies with a focus on Peace and Conflict Studies and minors in African Studies and Environmental Studies. Jillian is currently studying Swahili with the hopes of eventually traveling abroad to east Africa. She plays rugby at USF and works on campus at the Koret Health and Recreation Center, but is currently working on finding a potential volunteer or internship position with an international organization or non-profit.

Astrea Somarriba is a senior double majoring in Psychology and International Studies and double minoring in Latin American Studies and the Fine Arts. She spent the past fall semester in Bologna, Italy, where she was able to intern at a house for troubled girls and work alongside social workers, entirely in Italian. Her spring semester was spent in Managua, Nicaragua, where she conducted research on the struggles of sex workers in a patriarchal society. She has also participated in USF sponsored immersion trips, such as the Arrupe Peru trip to Lima and the Erasmus trip to Thailand and Cambodia. In the future, Astrea would like to work internationally and do art therapy with young women who have been sexually exploited. For now, she can be found around campus, primarily at the Gillson front desk where she works as a Community Assistant, or wherever there is coffee.

Juliette Suarez is majoring in International Studies with an emphasis on Peace and Conflict Studies, and minoring in Middle Eastern Studies. During the Spring 2014 semester, she studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco in an Arabic and Area Studies program. Upon her return to USF from intensive traveling throughout northern Africa, Asia, and Europe during the summer, Juliette will be focusing her energy on completing her Senior Honors Thesis on the psychology behind conflict and peace, with a focus on Buddhist conflict in South-East Asia. Juliette was a field manager for Environment California, an instrumental non-profit organization behind San Francisco’s recent ban on plastic bags and plastic water bottles, and currently works in a vegan restaurant. Juliette is committed to a career in promoting justice through the advancement of human rights, inter-cultural learning, and environmental sustainability. She aspires to either enter the field of academia or law after many years of traveling the world and teaching English as a second language. 

Jazlyn Taylor is a senior International Studies major with a minor in African Studies. She spent last fall semester in Cape Town, South Africa teaching an art class at a women's shelter. During the spring semester, she studied abroad in London, England and interned at a domestic violence prevention organization. After graduation, she plans to travel a bit before settling into a career in the nonprofit sector.