Read about this month’s International Studies Alumni Spotlight. Alumni were asked to share how their International Studies major or minor has influenced their path after graduating from the University of Michigan.
BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); BA Psychology; minor, Community Action and Social Change ‘16
Hometown: Beverly Hills, MI
University of Michigan Affiliations: Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), KOA Pre-Law & Public Policy Professional Fraternity, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), Geneva International Students Program, Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) for INTLSTD 101 course
“After graduating from the Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS), Laurel pursued her Masters of Social Work at the University of Michigan. Starting out as a Master's student with an International Studies background, she was able to focus on global social work by briefly serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa before finishing her last year of her Master’s degree. While Laurel has always had a knack for psychology, the International Studies major allowed her to expand on her ambition to see and understand other parts and people of the world, while at the same time enhancing her critical thinking skills through a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective. Exploring these very complex and challenging world issues and events through PICS forced her to look at the world through many lenses. When entering the field of social work, Laurel was well prepared to break down the individual, community, and policy-related challenges that people and countries face in modern society.
Laurel felt she would not have achieved her dream of joining the Peace Corps without the internships, courses, and relationships she sought in the PICS community. After finishing her degree, Laurel aspires to carry out Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) prevention work with civilian trauma survivors in conflict areas—a mission that was inspired during her International Studies 101 class six years ago.”