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Semester abroad programs lead young alums to careers in international education

Janelle Papay ’10, Ashley Brookes ’11, Kate House ’11, Jennifer Maholchic ’13, Jessica Lee ’13, and Lexi Alm ’13 work in education abroad programs in Greece, France, Denmark, and in the United States.

When six Gettysburg College students embarked on their semesters abroad through the Office of Off-Campus Studies (OCS), they had no idea that their experiences would shape their future careers. 

Study abroad is an integral part of the Gettysburg College academic experience, embodying the curricular goals of engaged learning and global citizenship. Of the graduating Class of 2013, 56% studied off-campus for a semester or longer.

“The combination of facilitated classroom discussion, the everyday challenges of learning to manage your life in another culture, and the process of building cross cultural relationships provide the opportunity for unimaginable growth in a relatively short period of time,” Ashley Brookes ’11 said. 

Read on to find out more about BOLD alums working in international education.

BrookesAshley Brookes ’11

Academic Focus: Globalization studies major with a concentration in post conflict reconstruction and development in sub-Saharan Africa; peace and justice studies minor

Study Abroad: Heston Summer Experience through the Center for Public Service (CPS) and semester abroad in Uganda and Rwanda through the School for International Training (SIT) in Spring 2010

Current Job: Administrative Support Coordinator at the College Year in Athens, Greece

“I already had an interest and a classroom-based knowledge of post conflict transformations in sub-Saharan Africa, but to witness and experience these issues first hand while studying abroad was absolutely invaluable,” Brookes said. 

In her current position, Brookes processes applications and responds to questions from students, schools, parents, and partner organizations.

MaholchicJennifer Maholchic ’13

Academic Focus: International Affairs and French double major; Spanish minor

Study Abroad: Paris, France through IES Abroad in Fall 2011

Current Job: Activities Assistant for the IES Paris program

“Through my study abroad experience and my extensive work with the Admissions Office as a student, I was drawn to working in higher education administration, particularly in International Admissions or in study abroad,” Maholchic said. 

As an Activities Assistant, Maholchic organizes up to three weekly cultural activities throughout the semester and accompanies students on short trips at various different locations in France. 

“Certain aspects about my Gettysburg experience helped me prepare for life after graduation, such as understanding the power of person-to-person contact, knowing that discussions with and listening to others are two of the most important skills to master,” Maholchic said.  

Lee Jessica Lee ’13

Academic Focus: Environmental science and biology double major

Study Abroad: Copenhagen, Denmark through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) in Spring 2012

Current Job: Program Assistant for the Environmental Science of the Arctic and Sustainability in Europe programs at DIS

While abroad, Lee was able to continue her academic focus on climate change and sustainable development through observing and participating in ongoing Arctic ice core research with one of her professors from the University of Copenhagen Center for Ice and Climate.   

“I had a broad environmental studies interest at Gettysburg during my first few years, but my study abroad experience helped me identify specific interests and develop a sense for my future career in education abroad,” Lee said. 

As a program assistant, Lee plans the study tours for the two programs she is in charge of.  The study tours are academic trips across Europe that provides opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of how classroom theories apply to the real world.    

Find out more about alumni in the international education field working in the United States.

AlmLexi Alm ’13

Academic Focus: Religious studies and music double major

Study Abroad: Vienna, Austria through IES Abroad and a gap year in Grenoble, France through Academic Programs International

Current Job: Recruiter in the North Eastern region for Academic Programs International

“I am extremely happy with the life I have made for myself since graduation, and I know that this life is in large part due to my time at Gettysburg College,” Alm said.

As a recruiter, Alm travels to different colleges and high schools for fairs, meeting with students and school administrators. 

HouseKatherine House ’11

Academic Focus: Studio art major; art history minor

Study Abroad: Aix-en-Provence, France through the IAU College (IAU) in Fall 2009

Current Job: Enrollment Advisor and the United States Office Coordinator for the IAU College (IAU)

“Studying abroad allows you to gain an appreciation and understanding for a culture other than your own, allowing for a greater global awareness,” House said.

Currently, House works with students, parents, and study abroad offices in the United States and France to enroll students in the IAU’s programs.

PapayJanelle Papay ’10

Academic Focus: Globalization studies with a concentration in Eco-tourism and German double major; environmental studies minor

Study Abroad: Heidelberg, Germany through the American Junior Year (AJY) in Spring 2008

Current Job: International Programs Advisor at Elon University

After graduation, Papay earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany. Papay returned to the United States and in her current position, she advises students regarding semester and summer study abroad opportunities for all over the world.  One of the programs Papay currently manages is the AJY program in Heidelberg, Germany. 

“Having the opportunity to not only challenge my perceptions of the world, but also recreate the lens through which I understand the world is truly invaluable.  Study abroad is a means though which students can live this opportunity,” Papay said. 

We know there are more Gettysburgians out there who work in international education! Feel free to comment below or comment on our Facebook page.

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

Article by: Samantha Gagliano '14, communications and marketing intern.

Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014

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