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University of Idaho Alumni Office - Moscow
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875 Perimeter Drive MS 3232
Moscow, ID 83844-3232
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Vandals Make Their Mark
By Amanda Cairo
From Janet Hawkins Morris’ (’87, BS Finance) trek in Antarctica to Steven Amstrup’s (’75, MS Wildlife Management) award-winning polar bear research above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, the world is a smaller place for the Vandal network. Vandals have left an indelible mark around the globe.
As Vandal alumni head back to Moscow for this year’s Vandal Pride Planet Wide Homecoming celebration, it is important to remember their impact around the state, nation and world.
“We love welcoming our alumni back to campus to celebrate Homecoming with our current students,” says Tim Helmke, associate director of Alumni Relations. “Many of our 95,000 alumni are making significant impacts where they live and work across the world. We are thrilled to include them in our Homecoming celebration and honored to recognize how widespread the Vandal family is.”
Donald Bruce Andrus, class of 1972, started university like any other freshman, but took a international detour to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in India, working in small farm irrigation techniques and rural road construction. He returned to the UI to graduate with a sociology and anthropology degree.
Having experienced the international lifestyle, Andrus became a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State in Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations before settling in Quebec, Montreal, Canada, where he currently lives.
For 33 years as a foreign service officer, Andrus built on the skills he learned at the UI: sound judgment and critical thinking, social, and language skills, to interact with thousands of people of different countries while overseas to meet the needs of U.S. citizens and of foreign citizens wishing to do business with, visit, or otherwise interact with Americans.
Andrus credits the University of Idaho for offering classes that fed his interest in the world around him, meeting American and foreign friends alike, and helping him arrange a sitar concert performed by a friend he met through the Peace Corps..
After earning a UI bachelor’s degree in German and international studies in 2004, Ariana Dickinson-Hargus headed to Hanover, Germany, to teach English as a second language. After three and a half years, she began attending medical school, which she is close to finishing.
“My education at UI helped prepare me to communicate with people from all over the world,” says Dickinson-Hargus. “My experience at UI helped give me the confidence to dream big and the persistence to keep going during my six-year medical program.”
Living abroad, she says, allows her to be a U.S. representative and goodwill ambassador. With the help and support of professors who not only taught her classrooms lessons, but encouraged her goals and dreams, she felt fully prepared to live in a foreign country.
“I am still overwhelmed at how much support I was given while studying in Moscow,” says Dickinson-Hargus. “Nine years after graduating, I still receive emails of encouragement. UI was not just a place of knowledge. For me it was a place of growth and discovery.”
When Gary Stubblefield graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in botany, it was his Navy Commission from NROTC that took him all over the world. For 21 years, he served as a Navy SEAL officer performing combat and training operations in support of national security interests.
That led him to his second career: providing security management to many private and U.S. government projects, including helping reduce the threat from radioactive materials being stolen or sabotaged.
Graduating from the University of Idaho provided an initial launch pad for his careers, an educational foundation to complete a post-graduate education and an opportunity to come full circle to serve on the Martin School Advisory Board.
The university isn’t just sending out students to explore the world through study abroad opportunities, service learning and careers, but it is also bringing the world to Moscow to spread Vandal roots in other communities.
Gulnur Esenalieva graduated in 2007 and is using skills she gained at the University of Idaho with her students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She came to the UI from her home country to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership.
“Having the opportunity to live in a new culture and learn at the University of Idaho helped me to bring new experiences into my school in Bishkek,” says Esenalieva. “UI opened a new learning world to a Kyrgyz woman from a small country. Vandal means live, learn and share.”
And while being a Vandal has made an impact on her, she too leaves a legacy on her students, helping them to open new doors and explore the shrinking world around them.