Victoria Neff '09
Reflecting on the undergrad experience at PC
The Global Studies program is, in every sense of the word, inspiring. For four years, my Global Studies classmates and teachers were not only my mentors, but also my family at Providence College. These people encouraged and challenged me in ways I would have never thought possible. Although I was also a student athlete, I developed strong relationships with the GST-ers because of our common interests and passion for international issues. Once a week, I would carpool with them to local schools and community organizations where we could volunteer our services. At Jazzman's cafe, we would spot each other reading the Providence Journal and begin chatting about micro-lending in south Asia, the genocide in Sudan, grassroots movements in South America and many other currents events before we realized hours had passed. What I remember most was how involved my GST classmates were, both on-campus and off-campus. I can distinctly recall GST-ers routinely organizing fundraisers for national and international natural disasters, participating in service opportunities in local low-income areas over the weekends, facilitating student forums and lectures on campus, and other PC students duly noting how "active" the Global Studies community at PC was....Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." My four years as a Global Studies student has endowed me with the most important realization, that is, how much one person can truly achieve. I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to the Global Studies program for giving me the skills and tools needed to become a successful leader and the opportunity to make the world a better place.
After graduating, I immediately left for China with the Peace Corps in June 2009. My job is teaching English content courses at Zunyi Medical College in Guizhou Province, which is in the southwest of China. Many of my students come from very poor family backgrounds, are the first in their family to attend college, and almost all of them feel disempowered in the face of China's burgeoning and competitive economy. I try to motivate my students and instill in them the same self-convictions that the Global Studies program has instilled in me: one person can make a difference. I organize women's groups, book clubs, and cooking clubs as a way to encourage self-expression and increase my students' confident levels. Since being here, I have also become increasingly passionate about the environment and sustainable development. I am currently the provincial leader for two organizations, Green English and WID/GAD (women in development/gender and diversity), and have also organized the first ever campus-wide cleanup in Zunyi, an Ecology Leadership Camp at the Woolong Panda Reserve in Chengdu and am in the process of developing a Green English curriculum for higher education institutions in China.
Nancy Andrade '08
Reflecting on her undergraduate experience at PC
My experience as a student in the Global Studies Program at Providence College initiated and fostered my commitment to public service. The program's interdisciplinary nature allowed me to gain comprehensive views of the interconnected issues that face our world through historical, social, cultural, and political lens. The Global Studies and Spanish courses I took coupled with PC's cores developed my thirst for knowledge, and taught me to not be afraid to seek the truth, and question societal structures that breed injustice. The passion and dedication of my fellow classmates and professors were integral to making my experience as incredible as it was. The program's strong promotion of service and action inspired me to be involved in the community. I worked with immigrants and refugees in Providence, and interned with an indigenous rights organization in Cambridge, MA. I am indebted to the program for engaging my curiosity in cultures, providing me with a strong knowledge basis in global issues, and starting what will be a lifelong commitment to social justice.
The travel bug I caught during my study abroad experience in Spain stayed with me until after graduation. I completed an internship with a women’s health center through the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) in Ciudad Sandindo, Nicaragua, and another through ProWorld in Urubamba, Peru. After these experiences, I wanted to continue to work in collaboration with communities on grassroots development projects, so I worked as a FSD Program Coordinator in La Plata, Argentina. During my year in Argentina, I supported interns in their work with a network of organizations working in different development fields to promote sustainable change in under-served communities. Though I was inspired by the power of community-based development, I wanted to learn more about government administration and policy as a tool for change.
Thus, I pursued a graduate degree and am now working for the federal government. I received a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2011, where I focused my studies on Social Policy and International and Development Administration. During my studies at Maxwell, I became increasingly interested in public health, and soon after graduation, I began the three-year Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PHPS is a 3-year training and service fellowship focused on public health program management and leadership. During the first year at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, I worked with the Division of Community Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Influenza Coordination Unit in the Office of Infectious Diseases. I am currently in my 2-year field assignment with the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support in Minnesota serving as the male health coordinator.