Alumni SpotlightNews Post

Please give a current update on yourself (college/graduation year, major, grad school, work/career, family, other interests, service or hobbies).

  • Graduated Pepperdine University in 2017 with a major in Public Relations and minors in Spanish and Nonprofit Management
  • Following undergrad, I accepted a job with World Vision’s US Government Relations and Advocacy team. Over the course of ~5 years, I worked on several different policy portfolios on the team, including child protection, education, and gender equality. As a policy advisor at World Vision, I worked closely with members of Congress and the U.S. interagency to increase foreign assistance and to advance foreign policy for the children around the world.
  • After reading a lifechanging book called the Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, and seeing the challenges of implementing global child protection programs in the face of conflicts, climate change, violence, and other disasters, I became intrigued by resilience studies and the impact of childhood adversities on lifelong development. I pursued a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in Child and Adolescent Development, with a focus on early childhood mental health, and graduated in 2021.
  • In 2022, I accepted a contract job for the U.S. government, working as a policy advisor at the U.S. Department of State in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI). In this role, my focus is specifically on preventing and responding to gender-based violence and on advancing girls’ rights and empowerment.
  • In 2022, my spouse and I bought a house in Northern Virginia, just outside DC, and had a baby, Lincoln, who will be 2 in May.
  • Our careers are both pretty busy and having a toddler at home leaves little time for hobbies J But we have enjoyed getting to travel internationally for work and for fun – checking lots of new countries off our bucket list!

In what ways did your Geneva education/training prepare you for the work you are doing now?

  • My Geneva education prepared me with some of the most important tools like how to reason, how to write, how to research and look for answers.
  • I think the close-knit community of parents, teachers, coaches and students that existed when I was a student instilled confidence and gave me the foundation to pursue a career that aligns with my calling and gives me a deep sense of purpose.
  • In undergrad, I found many of my mandatory prerequisite liberal arts classes in college to be duplicative of what I learned at Geneva, which freed me up to do things I enjoyed. Ultimately, those extracurriculars, like volunteering with an organization serving refugees, auditing language courses, and working in the Pepperdine Volunteer Center, pointed me towards the career I have now in international development and human rights.

Please describe the most significant value you learned from Geneva.

  • As a student in some of my most formative years, Geneva was a safe space for me, where I was encouraged to be open-minded and think critically about issues from multiple angles, including when it comes to my faith and walk with God. This is something I’ve been able to carry with me as I’ve grown and learned more about the attributes of God and his love for all people, everywhere in the world. Since I graduated, Geneva has grown and evolved in many ways, but I hope that the value of critical thinking, including welcoming diversity of opinion, and encouraging multiple perspectives, as foundational skills for life and for understanding the character and deep love of Christ for all people, are values that will hold true for future students.

How would you encourage a Geneva Rhetoric School student to make the most of their Geneva years?

  • Read all you can and don’t miss out on the richness of the material you are being handed. The books and the authors I was introduced to in Rhetoric School are still ones I love and come back to today.
  • Get to know your teachers/faculty/coaches. Geneva has a habit of finding some of the most wonderful and caring individuals, who are truly invested in your success. Being in a small community is a unique privilege that may not be your reality forever, so take advantage of it!

Describe Geneva in one word. Explain.

  • Geneva was a foundation for me in my most formative years—for my spiritual growth, mentors and friendships, and for instilling a lifelong love of learning.

What are your future career goals and how do you feel prepared for them?

  • At the moment, I love what I’m doing. I don’t know what will come next, but I’m enjoying the chance to work with brilliant colleagues and play a small role in influencing U.S. foreign policy for girls around the world. In the future, I’d like to work in more of a leadership role in the humanitarian and development sector, whether inside or outside of government.

How are you impacted by your work now? What is something you have learned/are learning about yourself and God’s world?

  • Working on issues of gender equality is deeply personal, as it is for many of my colleagues. Oftentimes, that fact makes the work energizing and motivating. At other times, seeing the plight of women and girls in so many places around the world, and the general backsliding of human rights at large, can feel overwhelming and hopeless. As I seek to stay engaged and not dissociate from real human stories, the “imago dei,” I feel the return of Christ and the restoration of this earth to be a more desperate plea than ever. I to continue to have the opportunity to meaningfully shape policy and support greater resources for marginalized populations globally for the glory of God, and so that those who are suffering, feel forgotten, are abused, or are silenced may “taste and see that the Lord is good” and that God’s love for them endures forever.