Gettysburg is Global: Alums live and work around the world
A policy and research advisor in the Government of South Sudan, a public relations professional in Bermuda, and the president and CEO of AIG’s businesses in Japan. What do they all have in common? A Gettysburg College education.
Gettysburg College prepares students to be leaders and active citizens in their professions, communities, the nation, and the world. Many students get their first significant taste of our increasingly global society while at Gettysburg – through course work with faculty, study abroad opportunities, service projects, and more. For many, that taste is merely the beginning of exciting and productive lives and careers abroad.
Joe Tucker ’03
Academic focus: History major
Location: Juba, South Sudan (formerly Belfast, Northern Ireland and Sudan)
Job: Policy & Research Advisor in the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs in the Government of South Sudan
Tucker (pictured above, left) received his M.A. in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from the School of Politics and International Studies at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. He then moved to D.C. to take an internship at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), eventually securing a job with their Africa program to manage the Sudan grants program. He started working abroad in 2008, first for the International Republican Institute and then in several roles for the Department of State – all in Sudan. Tucker returned to NED for a visiting fellowship in 2013, and landed his current job later that year.
“My economics and history professors at Gettysburg were extremely supportive,” Tucker said. “They encouraged my academic work on African history and politics, and convinced me that I could continue these interests after school; encouraged me to explore those topics that were seemingly obscure and off the beaten path; and instilled in me the qualities of strong writing, research, and analysis skills that led directly to my success at Gettysburg and beyond.”
Dave Brooks ’83
Academic focus: Business major
Location: Recently returned to the U.S. from Toronto, Canada (formerly Singapore and Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Job: Corporate Credit Manager for Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation
Brooks started his career in the banking industry in Baltimore. In the mid-80’s, Caterpillar started their finance company, and Brooks was hired in their Columbia, Md. office. He completed his MBA at Johns Hopkins while working there, and afterwards relocated several times with Caterpillar: first to Roanoke, Va., then Phoenix, Ariz. before going to Brazil to start a new operation, then Singapore, Peoria, Ill., Toronto, and now Caterpillar’s headquarters in Nashville.
“I am a big believer in a liberal arts education,” Brooks said. “The critical thinking skills and broad base it gives you before specializing in a major is key. Today, many companies are willing to teach the specialized or technical skills they need, however, they want new employees to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills as a foundation they can build on. The liberal arts education provides that foundation.”
Nitzie Flores Hidalgo ’12
Academic focus: Sociology major
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Job: Program coordinator in Mexico for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mexico’s Return, Reintegration and Family Reunification Program for Victims in the United States
After graduating from Gettysburg, Flores Hidalgo wanted to pursue a Master’s degree at a prestigious Mexican school, and was accepted into the International Studies Masters program at the, Escuela de Gobierno y Política Pública (School of Government and Public Policy) in the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Using networking skills she learned at Gettysburg and contacts she made in graduate school, Flores Hidalgo then pursued an internship with IOM, which led to her current job helping victims of human trafficking.
“The liberal arts focus [at Gettysburg] was amazing because it has helped me analyze and comprehend the types of issues that affect everyone. This has been essential to my work because it has enabled me to work collaboratively with State institutions and understand every aspect of the issues in question,” Flores Hidalgo said.
Elizabeth Tee ’94
Academic focus: Classics major
Location: Bermuda (formerly London, England)
Job: Managing Director of Troncossi Public Relations
At the beginning of her career, Tee moved to London to pursue a career in public relations. She worked at Westminster City Council promoting environmental projects and at Ogilvy & Mather PR in their financial services department. She then moved back to Bermuda, where she grew up, as the first PR Officer at the Bank of Bermuda, and in 2000, she founded Trancossi.
“I think the [Gettysburg College] Honor Code had a profound impact in the way that I run my life and my business today. I aim to live my life and run my company with the utmost integrity. It's a trait that I value greatly and I think that it was ingrained in me at Gettysburg,” Tee said.
Nancy Kupfer ’81
Academic focus: Political science major
Location: Hong Kong (formerly Zurich, Switzerland and Singapore)
Job: Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Marriott International Inc.
Kupfer (pictured above, left) is the first to admit that her career path would have been impossible to forecast. She never anticipated living outside of the U.S. for almost a quarter century. She worked on Capitol Hill in D.C. after graduation and then went to law school. During law school, she spent a summer in Singapore, which included Asian legal studies and an internship at a local law firm. Kupfer fell in love with Asia. After law school graduation she clerked for a judge in New Jersey, but in 1989 she moved to Singapore and worked at two law firms, and then joined Marriott in Zurich and now Hong Kong.
“I feel strongly that a liberal arts education is an excellent grounding for any career. It gives you exposure to many subjects and can be a catalyst to point you toward future studies (like law for me),” Kupfer said. “Students who choose a liberal arts college have a curiosity about the world, which can serve them well in a career like mine which involves understanding different cultures and ways of doing business.”
Bob Noddin ’83
Academic focus: Business administration major
Location: Tokyo, Japan (formerly Manila, Philippines; Bangkok, Thailand; and Hong Kong)
Job: President and CEO of American International Group's businesses in Japan
Noddin (pictured above, second from right) joined Citibank in New York shortly after graduation “thanks to the help of a Gettysburg buddy.” After that, he spent three years with AIG in New York, six months of which were spent on a project in Tokyo. Next, a four-month project in Manila, Philippines turned into four years, and then AIG sent Noddin to Bangkok, Thailand, after which he returned to Manila again. A few years later, he moved to Hong Kong, then Tokyo, back to the U.S., and then finally back to Japan in 2009.
“My Gettysburg experience made all the difference in the world for me and what has now become quite a long international career,” Noddin said. “My four years at Gettysburg fostered a Wanderlust, and showed me how to take that fascination and turn it into an advantage. I've been to 49 different countries on every continent except Antarctica 33 years after my graduation thanks to them teaching me how to tackle the unknown.”
Katie Porch ’02
Academic focus: English major, German minor
Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Job: Economics Officer for the Department of State at the United States Embassy
Porch calls her career path “unconventional,” and admits that she could never answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” After graduation, she took the event planning skills she learned working at the Civil War Institute, and parlayed them into a job with a small policy institute in D.C. Less than a year later, she was ready for new challenges, and began work as a deck-hand on a wooden schooner out of Annapolis, Md. Not long afterwards, a visit back to her alma mater turned into a job as the project manager at the Gettysburg Foundation. Once again, Porch yearned for new challenges, so she and her husband Brent LaRosa ’00 joined the Foreign Service, with the Department of State sending them first to Ghana to do consular work, and then to Kyrgyzstan.
“Gettysburg taught us all is that we could accomplish anything we set our minds to,” Porch said. “I studied abroad with the College's intermediate German program in Cologne. The impact of that semester on the rest of my life was profound. I gained confidence in myself to accomplish things that seemed impossible, like travelling by myself in countries where I don't speak the language. Plus I learned that the world is a fascinating place and that, at the end of the day, people are people no matter where you go.”
Catherine Girman ’06
Academic focus: Health and exercise science major, biology minor
Location: Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Job: Planning and Educational Officer for Emergency Management at Townsville City Council
Girman studied abroad at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville during her time at Gettysburg. She returned to the area shortly after graduation, first traveling the country and obtaining volunteer research experience, and later earning her Masters of Public Health with a specialization in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness at JCU. After working in two roles with Queensland Health, she obtained her current job in her specialized field of disaster management, and even recently became an Australian citizen.
“My experience at Gettysburg, and in particular the opportunity to study overseas, left me incredibly well-prepared to face the ‘real world’ after graduation,” said Girman.
Jeff Jones, Jr. ’01
Academic focus: Psychology and biology double major
Location: Sydney, Australia
Job: Associate Director at Nielsen
Following graduation, Jones went to business school in Australia and completed his MBA in Marketing and Finance. After he received his MBA, he focused on obtaining experience across both client-side and agency roles, so he’d have a first hand perspective of both sides of the relationship. He worked for a marketing agency in Brisbane, Australia, and then as a marketing manager for an e-commerce business. Fast forward seven years, and he was headhunted by Nielsen and moved to Sydney.
“Gettysburg College encourages students to take a diverse variety of classes, from chemistry to marketing to philosophy. This approach enables students to become more versatile and adapt to challenges, which may be outside of their comfort zone. It’s not so much the specific content we learn that’s important; but the behavior, disciplines, and versatility that allow us to distill complex ideas into something of commercial value,” Jones said.
Kavya Kumar ’13
Academic focus: Political science and globalization studies double major
Location: Madrid, Spain
Job: Auxiliare de Conversación at a public primary school through the Spanish government
With the encouragement of Kathy Williams in the College’s Center for Career Development, during her senior year, Kumar applied for her teach abroad program. After learning of her placement in Madrid just before graduation, she volunteered at an ESL center on Long Island, and then took a month-long language immersion course in Seville, Spain before starting her placement.
“There are two major factors that contributed to where I am today: my study abroad experience in Geneva, Switzerland, which made me feel passionate about traveling, learning about new cultures, and becoming an active global citizen, and my involvement in the Globalization Studies department, which allowed me to experience courses in many different areas which helped open my mind,” Kumar said.
Britt-Karin Oliver ’96
Academic focus: Political science major, sociology minor
Location: London, England
Job: Head of International Operations at BTIG Ltd
Oliver never expected to be an expat. The route to living in England started when she did an AFS Year Abroad in Borlänge, Sweden before she started at Gettysburg. That experience, combined with a semester abroad in Cologne, Germany, made her want to travel more. After graduation, she moved to New York City, and then to London to pursue her Master’s degree at Kings College, London. Her former U.S. firm, E-TRADE Financial, re-hired her in London, a role which meant frequent travel to Hong Kong and New York. Oliver then accepted a role in Hong Kong as Head of Client Services for Asia and Japan at BNP Paribas, and has been back in London for five years, now at BTIG Ltd.
“Although I work in finance, my background in political science and sociology from Gettysburg has been the foundation and strength of being able to live and work successfully abroad,” Oliver said. “The professors were always tough, and demanding, but that excellence is what gets you ahead in today's fast past international workplace.”
Jesper Rosenkrans ’07
Academic focus: Economics, political science, and globalization studies triple major
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Job: Head of the European Fuel Trading desk at Maersk Oil Trading
Rosenkrans (pictured above, left) earned his M.S. in Economics from Copenhagen University. While studying, he worked at the Danish Ministry of Finance before taking a job with AP Moller-Maersk as a Business Development Manager in Maersk Oil Trading. He then joined the trading desk as a fuel trader before assuming responsibility for the European team of traders and operators.
“One of the lessons I learned early during my time in Gettysburg is that life is what you make it. I found that if I had the drive, ambition, interest and passion there were really no closed doors in Gettysburg. It really is about making those four years count, and that philosophy continues in life,” Rosenkrans said.
Art Seibel ’80
Academic focus: Business Administration major
Location: Steinhausen and Baar, Switzerland (formerly London, England)
Job: Managing Director of Cristal Inorganic Chemicals Switzerland Ltd
At the beginning of his career, Seibel worked for Price Waterhouse in Baltimore, Houston, and London. After stints at Lyondell Petrochemical, Millennium Chemicals, and Jos. A. Bank, he rejoined Millennium, which had been purchased by a Saudi Arabian company, Cristal, as its CFO. When Millennium opened an office in Switzerland in 2011, he took on his current role of managing director of the new office. Seibel’s time in Switzerland ends this spring, and he and his wife will be moving back to Maryland.
“Early in my career, I often wondered if I should have gone to a more technical school to focus on my chosen field of accounting,” said Seibel. “However, after a few years, I realized that the broader understanding of people and life around me was going to be more important to me in the long run than the technical aspect of my learning. That’s when I recognized the true value of what Gettysburg taught me.”
Kristen Belmonte Slaoui ’92
Academic focus: Biology and classical studies majors
Location: London, England
Job: Vice President, Business Development & Licensing at GlaxoSmithKline
After graduation, Belmonte Slaoui spent almost to a year working in a laboratory at the State University of N.Y. at Stony Brook doing research. It was there that she realized that she wanted to get her Ph.D. and lead a team of researchers in her area of choice – as a severe chronic asthmatic, she wanted to work on understanding why people have asthma. She was accepted to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s Physiology doctoral program, where there were researchers working with the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Research Center. After graduation, she accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2000, she started her job in the Pulmonary Biology department of SmithKline Beecham, which quickly became GlaxoSmithKline, where she has been in several roles ever since.
“Gettysburg was absolutely crucial in creating my current path in life,” Belmonte Slaoui said. “My biology professors – specifically Ralph Sorensen and Kay Etheridge – were instrumental, and supported my asthma-related research interests and helped lead me down the path I am on today.”
These are, of course, just a few of our Global Gettysburgians. If you are an alum that is living or working abroad, let us know what you're up to in the comments below or on the College's Facebook or Twitter!
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Nikki Rhoads, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803
Posted: Fri, 7 Mar 2014
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