Special Assistant to the President & CEO at HIAS (the international refugee agency of the American Jewish community in New York City)
Drake degree: BA in International Relations, minors in Art and Sociology
In addition to Drake’s exemplary academic reputation and unique opportunities (such as the Global Ambassador program and the specialized language-learning classes) I chose Drake because I wanted to feel a sense of community. At Drake I felt like I was part of a community both at the university and in Des Moines.
I received a multifaceted education at Drake. Studying International Relations with minors in Sociology and Studio Art taught me to be nimble, creative and to constantly focus on learning and growing. Today I work at HIAS, an international nonprofit that protects refugees, and my position requires me to wear many hats and adapt quickly; I can see how my education laid the groundwork for taking on this role.
My senior year at Drake a professor encouraged me to get involved at a local refugee center. I volunteered teaching English to refugees from various countries including Burma, Liberia, and Iraq; hearing their stories altered my worldview. By connecting with clients, I realized that this was the population to whom I wanted to dedicate my career.
As a sophomore I had the opportunity to participate in the study abroad program, Semester at Sea. While taking classes on a ship, I circumnavigated the world, traveling to twelve countries. Fieldwork on Semester at Sea reflected the socioeconomic disparities that I had read about in my textbooks. By conducting interviews, visiting schools, and staying with host families, I met people with diverse values, ideologies and lifestyles.
One class that especially stands out in my mind is the history class Modern Mexico with Professor Esposito. Through innovative activities, discussions and debates, Professor Esposito encouraged our class to really engage with the course material and in doing so he brought Mexican politics and history to life.
My academic advisor, Professor DeLaet, and my Fulbright advisor, Professor Zeff, were both excellent in helping me hone and pursue my dreams while at Drake and after I graduated. It is clear that they really care about their students and want to see them follow their passions and succeed.
Ashley Anne Wick
Biological Research Director, Kalamazoo Nature Center
Drake degree: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy (ENSP)
"I attended Drake because I wanted to stay in Iowa but wanted the opportunities of a university with small class sizes where I wouldn't get lost in 200 person lectures. Also, my grandpa, Bob Shores, went to Drake and had always spoken fondly of his time there!"
"I've always loved the environment and had a curiosity for nature. My professors at Drake helped me realize that I could make a career out of looking at nature and asking questions. I'm now the Biological Research Director at the Kalamazoo Nature Center in Michigan and get to do my own research, give public programs about conservation and insects, attend international ecology and entomology meetings, and lead conservation and research initiatives. Internships and research experience I got at Drake were a major factor in the professional choices I had after college. I did research with Keith Summerville and David Courard-Hauri, and worked for Thomas Rosburg on prairie restoration and in his herbarium. So, when I got into the real world, I knew how to design and carry out research projects, manage data, and think for myself. Not to mention that I have a wonderful group of friends and colleagues from Drake who I can turn to for advice or to brainstorm project ideas."
"I am now a biologist, but I specialize in Lepidoptera, mostly threatened or endangered butterflies. My first experience in biology was two years as a field assistant for Keith Summerville and David Courard-Hauri. They gave me support and training, but also enough freedom to troubleshoot in the field. That project produced my first peer-reviewed co-authorship!"
E-N-S-P (said loudly, in chant form)