Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas
Major: International Studies
Minor: Asian Studies
Academic interests: social movements, political demography, and human rights
Extracurricular activities: President of Society of World Affairs Today (SoWat), President/Director of Contents Under Pressure Improv Troupe (CUP), Chair of MidSouth Model UN Conference, Order of the Lynx, IS Peer Academic Mentor, Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society, Mortar Board Honor Society, McCoy Theatre Costume Shop designer, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee Immigration Services Intern
Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.
I would not have come to Rhodes if it hadn’t been for my brother. Quentin ’13 would call home his freshman year at Rhodes just bursting with excitement about his theatre classes, the intramural basketball team he’d joined, and his dorm’s weekly parties to watch The Office. He insisted I take a tour of Rhodes, and the rest is history. My brother is the reason I got into theatre through costumes and CUP. He is the reason I interned in Jordan through the Buckman Institute. He is the reason I have high blood pressure. And I am grateful to him every day.
How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes College?
I am much more confident since beginning Rhodes. As a scholar, I’ve become more confident through the immense challenges--and the support—I’ve received from the international studies (IS) department. Through Model UN and academic conferences, I have honed my ability to think critically and express myself through writing and public speaking. I am more confident in my creativity through my experiences in the theatre department as a costume designer and improv’er. I’m confident in my leadership after leading through SoWAT and the Order of the Lynx. Through my internship with Caritas Jordan, an NGO that administers humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants living in Jordan, I am so much more confident in myself as a person. Living in Amman, I had to learn a completely new language and adjust to a culture I had never experienced before. I was working with the poorest people in an extremely volatile region, but I kept going because I knew it was what I wanted to do, and Rhodes (particularly the IS department) had prepared me to take on the challenge. My internship in Jordan expanded my adaptability and engagement with the world morethan I ever thought possible.
How have you been able to incorporate your experience as a Mertie Buckman International Internship Fellow back into your IS involvement at Rhodes?
After my internship with Caritas Jordan, I came back to Rhodes with a drive for human rights. The people I served in Amman had endured horrors I couldn’t imagine. I felt it was my duty when I got back to get people’s attention focused on abuses that occur every day all over the world (including in the United States). Through SoWAT, we have hosted events that highlight human rights issues, such as Hysteria in Syria (where I spoke on the refugee crisis in Jordan). I also wrote a paper on the Syrian refugees in relation to Jordan’s national security, which is going to be published in the Journal of International Relations, Volume 16.
What are your post-grad goals?
After graduation, I plan to continue my work with human rights. Too much of the field of international relations and studies is dedicated towards traditional military definitions of security. I want to encourage people to look at human security as national security, where the safety of the individual collects to form a secured state and not the other way around. Whether I am able to pursue this vision by joining an NGO that works to secure all individuals or through other projects, I want to work to make human rights a concern of national security.
Compiled by Caroline Ponseti ‘15