BAIS Class of 2011 Alumni Update

If you are member of the Class of '11, but not featured here, send us an update! And don't forget to "Like" our BAIS Alumni Facebook Page!

Kristina AltmanKristina Altman
(World Religions and Spiritualities, European Studies)
After I graduated, I went back home to Russia for a few months, then decided to return to San Francisco and pursue my career here. I received a BA in International Studies, but my interest began to sway towards startups. Within 2 weeks of returning to San Francisco, I found myself at CoffeeTable, a catalog aggregator iPad app (like an online shopping mall of catalogs). I was hired as an Account Manager, and spent almost two years there. After an unfortunate turn of events, the CoffeeTable team was off in search of new opportunities. I was then off to my next startup, which I found a few months after. I am now currently working as an Account and Email Manager at Plum District, an e-commerce website for mom's and their families (think Groupon for moms). I can definitely say I have found my passion in the startup world: so much excitement, rapid change and growth intellectually, as well as, in your career. It's unpredictable but that's what makes it fun! (8/3/13)

Sahar BalaSahar Bala
(Peace and Conflict Studies, Middle Eastern Studies)
After I graduated, I immediately took a huge leap and moved to Washington, DC to pursue my career in international affairs. I spent two months job searching, making connections with professionals in the field, and getting to know the city. I accepted a job as a staff assistant with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) a month ago. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys and works on a number of policy initiatives, like fighting xenophobia and racism of all forms (including the backlash against American Muslims after 9/11), supporting qualified Asian Pacific Americans to be appointed as judges, and advocating for equal opportunity in education and the workplace. So far I'm loving life as a young professional in DC and I would highly encourage other BAIS majors to consider coming out here after graduation! (04/13/12)

Jerry DavisJerry Davis
(Global Politics and Societies, Middle Eastern Studies)
After graduating in the Spring of 2011, I began the Masters in International Studies (MAIS) program at USF in the fall of 2011. I finished the program in 2012 with the intention of moving back to Egypt to participate in post-revolution Egypt. Being an Egyptian-American I was drawn back to Egypt to live, where I have resided since. Since returning to Cairo, I have engaged with the business sector, exporting of niche products, got involved in coaching football, or soccer, while I have primarily been employed as a Programme Associate for the Democratic Governance team at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office in Egypt. My role with UNDP Egypt is to support Democratic Governance projects on enhancing electoral administration, establishing one-stop-shop legal aid offices, transitional justice, and anti-corruption. It has been a year and a half since I joined UNDP, and I must say that the experience and exposure I have received most certainly prepares me for my next step in my career and this journey of life. I still think about USF and THE city fondly. I am confident in saying that the education I received from USF continues to drive and inspire my beliefs in social justice and equality. I hope to continue to grow in the field of development, gaining the experience needed to understand the most beneficial interventions for creating peace, development, and stability. (8/10/14)

Erica ErnstErica Ernst
(World Religions and Spiritualities, African Studies)
Towards the end of senior year, I was unsure which career path to pursue within International Studies, so I immediately continued on to graduate school to narrow my professional and academic focus. I chose to stay at USF with the Master's of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) program. During my studies, I worked as an administrative/program assistant for the San Francisco Interfaith Council. For my Master's thesis research project, I traveled back to Burkina Faso, the country where I studied abroad in 2009 with Santa Clara University's Reading West Africa program. In Burkina Faso, I worked in rural libraries run by Friends of African Village Libraries, to research which types of books were most popular and what the local perceptions of the libraries were. Upon graduation, I interned with the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED). I also put my newly gained expertise from my Master's thesis to use writing grant proposals while I volunteering at the non-profit, Worldreader. Recently I've accepted a position as the Assistant Development Manager for Worldreader and I'm looking forward to working in this field in a full-time and (paid) capacity! (11/1/13)

Lizzie GuerraLizzie Guerra
(Global Politics and Societies, African Studies)
I have spent the last two years teaching English abroad. My goal to perfect my French language skills brought me first to France to participate in the Teaching Assistant Program for the French National Department of Education. I spent 7 months teaching in a primary school and eating baguettes in the south of France. Not ready to return home to the USA, I decided to continue on my journey through the Francophone countries and found myself in Rabat, Morocco where I taught English at AMIDEAST. Though teaching English has permitted me to travel and live abroad, my passion for international conflict resolution has remained a driving force in my post-undergrad life. An internship at Search For Common Ground Morocco, an American NGO specializing in conflict resolution, satisfied my desire to stay connected with my studies and interests.

I will return home to the USA this October, but not before completing the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, a 5-week Catholic pilgrimage across Northern Spain. While traversing “The Way,” I hope to get in touch with my Catholic roots and reflect on the next few steps of my life's journey. I am also the author of a travel blog, Nomad, in which I share my personal observations of the cultures I encounter whilst abroad.

EmilyHecklerEmily Heckler
(Peace and Conflict Studies, African Studies)
Since graduating, I have taken to the road to travel and experience different places as much as possible. I taught English in Central Thailand and worked as an apprentice in a leather shop in the mountains in the north, making boots, bags and other handmade items. Traveling around Southeast Asia ignited a passion for handmade crafts and the beauty that is all around us, despite the obvious socio-political problems so evident around the world. Now, I find myself in Australia, traveling and working in the middle of nowhere in a country that has placed huge importance on the maintenance and respect of the natural environment. Upon my return from Australia, I plan to enroll in a teacher’s certification and masters of education program in my home state of Vermont to continue my education and spread my joy of learning to others around me. (07/18/14)

Zannah Herridge-MeyerZannah Herridge-Meyer
(Peace and Conflict Studies, African Studies)
After graduating USF, I interned at UCSF Global Health Sciences in San Francisco. Subsequently, I was offered a position as a Program Assistant for UCSF Global Health working with medical professionals. In the fall of 2011, I began working with Teach for Health (TFH), a small non-profit based in San Francisco and Nicaragua, as Managing Director. I was given the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua to conduct leadership building workshops and conflict resolution training for the health promoters. Through this work, I have been able to strengthen and reaffirm my understanding of community-based health care and now serve on their Executive Board. Since November, I have been traveling throughout the Middle East and Asia, collecting peoples stories and gaining more global health experience. In India, I worked in an Integrative hospital that serves the marginalized tribal populations. I shadowed doctors and developed educational materials on child development, diabetes, and Ayurvedic medicine. In July 2013, I worked in a community library in Northern Thailand as a Program Developer as well as providing English and leadership training to library staff and local elementary schools. After exploring more of Southeast Asia, I will be heading back to the US to (hopefully) attend medical school beginning the fall of 2014. (07/26/13)

Ashley HoskinsAshley Hoskins
(Global Politics and Societies, African Studies)
After graduating from USF and briefly working in the non-profit sector, I headed to Georgetown's Master in Public Policy program to continue my studies in international development policy. While there I worked as a researcher for WASH Advocates, an advocacy organization focused on improving provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene in the developing world. For my capstone project I conducted research for the federal government on domestic minor sex trafficking, something I first became interested in at USF. I recently graduated and am very excited to embark on my latest professional adventure. I have been hired by Special Olympics to manage their largest public health program for the Africa region. I am in the process of relocating to Johannesburg full time, where I will be able to more easily visit any of our 21 programs throughout the continent. It's been a rewarding experience to learn more about intellectual disabilities in a development context, and I am excited to continue this work from South Africa. (03/20/15)

Noah JenningsNoah Jennings
(Global Politics and Societies, European Studies)
After graduating from USF with my International Studies degree, I participated in the McCarthy Fellows program in Sacramento and spent a year in Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Milwaukee, WI. Now, I am in my third and final year of law school at UC Davis. Last summer I interned in the Santa Clara District Attorney's homicide unit in San Jose, where I had the opportunity to draft motions and prepare cases for trial. This summer, I worked for a firm in downtown San Francisco and will return after I graduate to practice business litigation. I am looking forward to moving back to the city and am excited to see where the study of law takes me. I used my undergraduate background when I worked on a political asylum case for a pro bono client, so who knows what's next! (08/31/14)

Merry KellyMeredith Kelly
(Peace and Conflict Studies, African Studies)

After graduating from USF, where I did a double major in International Studies and French with a minor in African Studies, I spent nine months teaching English on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe while I decided my next step. My goal was always to work in the development sector and mainly complex emergencies, so I made the decision to get my masters at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London where I studied Violence, Conflict and Development. While writing my dissertation, I interned at a London based NGO called Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) working with their projects in Western Sahara and Burundi for six months. 

I started working at the Resettlement Support Center- Africa (RSC Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2014 where I work as a Refugee Caseworker for refugees referred by UNHCR for resettlement to the US. I get travel all over the continent for weeks at a time, working one on one with refugees while I interview them about why they left their country. In the future, I hope to continue working with refugees in Africa or the Middle East and I would like to specialize in refugee protection. (8/11/14)

Erika MyszynskiErika Myszynski
(Global Politics and Societies, European Studies)
After receiving my BA from USF and making a decision to remain within the vibrancy of San Francisco among the artistic, innovative, active throb, I immediately started working for the USF Master's program in International Studies and, soon after, for the English for a Second Language Program. A few months ago, I accepted the position as Managing Editor of the Peace Review journal and I assist with Social Justice Program branch of the Politics Department as well as with the Pre-Professional Law Program. My work with the journal entails correspondence with writers, editors, and our publisher to ensure the editorial cycles progress smoothly. We focus on peace research and sustained intellectual work. In addition, to further satisfy my passion for documentation and to fulfill a creative outlet, I have continued with freelance filmmaking for an array of organizations in the Bay Area that appropriately couples the enhancement projects I do for Peace Review, including expansion of the film recommendations listings our journal features as well as solidifying interviews with active peacemakers that are then transcribed for Peace Profiles. I have visions of pursuing a Master's Degree revolving around peace studies, well-being, permaculture and/or ecology someday in the future. (08/01/12)

Tania ParksTania Parks
(Global Politics and Societies, European Studies)
After I graduated, I found myself pondering the same question over and over again, “Now what?” I had the piece of paper, I had the knowledge, and I had a very vague idea of what I wanted my future to look like. The only problem was that I didn’t really know where to start to get there. After spending some time at jobs that were completely unfulfilling and not at all what I wanted to do, I heard from a friend about an anti-domestic violence agency she worked for called W.O.M.A.N., Inc. It sounded somewhat interesting so I signed up for their training. Participating in that training gave me a clearer sense of what I wanted to do with my life and it soon became apparent to me that I wanted to become much more involved in the mission of the agency. I started out volunteering on the support line and soon became one of the outreach interns. I then became the Executive Director Intern shortly after that and in January of 2013, I was offered a position as the Program Assistant.

I will soon have to, unfortunately, step back from that position in order to pursue an offer from the TAPIF program to teach English in Lille, France for seven months starting in October of this year. I’ve been wanting to return to France ever since studying abroad in Paris in the spring semester of 2010. Needless to say, I’m super excited about this new opportunity and plan to hopefully complete my Master’s there, as well. I still find myself asking “Now what?”, but at least now it’s less frequently.