Vandals Inspired for their Future Careers
Cami Nichols, a junior studying theatre performance and international studies at the University of Idaho, always thought she’d have to make a choice between her fields of study when it came time to have a career.
“I thought I would have to pick one, theatre or international studies, to pursue a career in and the other would have to be a hobby,” Nichols said.
But a summer trip to the Women in Global Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., showed her that creative pursuits and international policy can go hand-in-hand.
It was at the seminar, hosted by the Public Leadership Education Network, that Nichols had the opportunity to speak with Mari Carmen Aponte, the former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador who holds a master’s degree in theater. Exploring local culture and the arts, Nichols learned, are part of a foreign embassy’s function to understand and relate to the people in the country it serves.
Nichols was one of three students who attended the conference in May 2016. Fellow international studies majors Amy Agenbroad and Morgan Hine also found inspiration for their future careers at the seminar, which is one of six annual seminars that focus on preparing women for leadership in the global community. Funding for the students to attend came from the Martin Institute in the UI’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
The students said they were blown away from the very first session.
“Everyone was so intelligent,” said Agenbroad, a junior from Nampa double majoring in finance and international studies. “It was amazing to hear the individual stories of the women’s lives.”
During the seminar, Agenbroad said she most enjoyed the session with Meredith Singer, a government and regulatory affairs executive at IBM. Singer recounted how the company works to fit into different cultures in every country. It offered an example of how finance and international studies can merge into one job.
Hine, a junior from Boise double majoring in Spanish and international studies, was similarly inspired by the professional women at the seminar. She said the environmental panel offered a glimpse into the diversity of jobs in her chosen field.
“I now know what career path I am taking,” Hine said. After earning her degrees at UI, she wants to work with an environmental non-governmental organization, helping women specifically.
But the most prominent piece of counsel the speakers gave to the students was to master a language. They advised that successful women making an impact in the global community today know at least one foreign language and actively use it in their work.
During their time in Washington, D.C., the Vandals also met with several groups of UI alumni to thank them for their support of the university.
“As proceeds from endowments and gifts increase to the Martin Institute, we will have more opportunities to send our students to seminars like this one,” said Bill L. Smith, director of the Martin Institute and Program in International Studies. “This conference, in particular, was a good combination of professional exposure and skill building for our students. Thank you to all our donors for making this transformational experience possible.”