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Program helps female scholars make global impact
February 9, 2015Tweet
The JFEW/SUNY International Relations and Global Affairs Program is looking to diversify leadership across the world by developing strong and knowledgeable women. Female students don’t have to be the traditional international-relations student to apply to the program − they just need desire and passion to make an impact.
“When you look around the world today you can see, yes, there are women heads of state, women in business leadership roles, but how’s that breaking down diversification-wise?” said Erin Jennings, senior assistant director of student experience at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. Jennings is also the former campus liaison for the program.
“They’re the groundbreakers and we would like to build upon that success by inspiring young women today to pursue those kind of careers, to think of themselves as global leaders in all sectors,” Jennings said.
The program, sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women (JFEW), runs for two years, starting in the beginning of the student’s sophomore or junior year. JFEW developed the program with SUNY for women. The program is competitive: Only 10 Binghamton University students are recruited for each cohort.
The first year includes mandatory monthly seminars in which students develop a depth of knowledge needed to secure top internships. The scholars are then selected for various full-time internships in New York City the summer after their junior year. Emily Love, international careers consultant and JFEW/SUNY Program campus liaison, said the program does an incredible job of opening opportunities up for students.
“Some of our interns have secured internships at the U.S. State Department, the Clinton Foundation, 92nd Street Y − very big names,” she said. “There are also [opportunities at] other foundations like the Ford Foundation.”
During the summer internship, students meet with Maryalice Mazzara, director of educational programs at the SUNY Global Center’s Office of Global Affairs in Manhattan, and engage in seminars once a week. The Global Center promotes access to global education. As well as meeting with Mazzara, scholars each receive a mentor who is a global leader.
“That mentor is someone who has nothing to do with their internship site, so it’s not just their internship supervisor. It’s another level of support, recommendation and networking,” Jennings said. “It’s a two-year academic program, so there’s always an academic component. It’s not simply experiential; it’s also reflecting and developing for success during the internship.”
Second-year seminars focus on preparation, whether for graduation, graduate school or life after their degree. The students also have two years of scholarship support, with up to $5,000 each year based on financial need and a $3,500 stipend for the summer internship.
It’s not solely a Binghamton program; the University works in conjunction with the team at SUNY Global Center, Stony Brook University and SUNY Geneseo, thus expanding the scholars’ networking even further.
“Students on each campus interact with each other on video conference at each seminar,” Jennings said.
So far, 25 scholars have graduated from the program at Binghamton University. Participants can be any major and involved in any school at Binghamton.
“The JFEW/SUNY Scholars program has given me the opportunity to not only apply, but also expand my knowledge on international relations and global affairs,” said Adriana Morquecho, a senior political science major from Brooklyn. Morquecho is in her final year of the program, and is graduating in May.
“I am truly grateful for the existence of this incredible organization that believes in empowering and educating women so that we may have an impact on the world.”
The program seeks to enrich and develop traits that will be useful to students when they prepare for life beyond the walls of their classrooms. Through collaboration and direct involvement, scholars have the chance to make an impact.
“They’re a cohort,” Love said about the tight-knit bond that students share with each other. “They’re getting mentors. They’re getting mentors in the summer, on the campuses and from each other. They are part of a network. That network connects them to potential future opportunities.”
“We’re very proud of the program and very happy to be part of it,” Jennings said. “It reflects so well on Binghamton that our students are part of the reason why it’s here. (Without) our faculty, our student reputation and the (Fleishman Center’s) reputation we wouldn’t be able to execute this program. That is really how this program came to be at Binghamton in the first place, and we’ve worked hard to keep it here.”