Elissa Miolene: Alumna Profile


Elissa Miolene ‘15 double-majored in Global Studies and Journalism at Lehigh before receiving a Masters in Politics and Policy through Lehigh’s Presidential Scholars program. She now works as the Communications and Knowledge Management Officer with Alive Medical Services (AMS) in Kampala, Uganda. AMS tests hundreds of Ugandans every month, linking HIV-positive clients to comprehensive care. The group also provides anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to over 13,000 active clients, including 1,000 HIV-positive youth and adolescents.

Miolene’s current project with AMS is an initiative allowing HIV patients to share their stories on recorders; the goal is to share these stories with future patients and the world. The project is called “Positive. Powerful. Alive,” and its goal is to empower other HIV patients by fighting the stigma around HIV. She hopes that the stories will also reach a broader audience and influence the conversation about HIV globally.

Miolene is looking for donations to help advance her project and to help her purchase five recorders. These donations can be in the form of cash or used recording devices similar to an iTouch so the videos can be edited directly on the device. You can contribute to the project on Globalgiving.org.Elissa.jpg


Lehigh Global Studies Student Wins Marshall Scholarship

Klaudia Jazwinska ’18 a global studies and journalism student won the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to attend two years of graduate school in the United Kingdom. Jazwinska  will be pursuing a degree in computational and data journalism at Cardiff University and a degree in international and politics at the University of Cambridge. We are so proud of you!

Spring Registration

Lehigh University spring registration will take place Nov. 13-16. Look at the image below to see what Global Studies courses are being offered. Make sure to get in touch with your adviser to receive your PIN and to discuss which classesGSSpring18 (1) you need to be taking.

Global Studies Travel Grant Winners!


Pictured, from L to R: Matt Cossel ‘17, Katie Morris ‘17, Gili Remen ‘19, Angie Rizzo ‘19, Nia Baker ‘19; not pictured: Tulani Bey and Delaney McCaffrey

Every spring a few students win Global Studies Travel Grants. Our program offers these awards to make off-campus study and internship opportunities more accessible for students. We had an especially strong set of applicants this year, and you can read about the winners below.

Global Studies majors

  • Matt Cossel (GS/Journalism ‘17) will use the grant to defray the costs living in New York City this summer for a highly coveted but unpaid internship with the UN’s Department of Public Information. Matt will plan briefings and coordinate activities with other UN offices. He hopes to learn about the many NGOs (non-governmental organizations) affiliated with UN headquarters. Matt first got interested in the UN during a visit there with the Prelusion program prior to his first semester at Lehigh.
  • Katie Morris (GS/Journalism ‘17) will intern in Washington with the NGO Save the Children, specifically their humanitarian aid and emergency response team. Katie will be doing media and communications work, helping plan for World Humanitarian Day (August 19) and the UN General Assembly meeting (September 12). She will help Save staffers tell their stories about their projects overseas, as well as work on the Every Last Child campaign raising awareness and funds for refugee issues. Katie says, “I’m looking forward to working in a professional environment alongside people with the type of experience I aspire to have.”
  • Gili Remen (GS/Journalism ‘19) heads out in August to participate in the semester-long  CIEE Communications, New Media & Journalism program in Seville, Spain. All her coursework there will be in Spanish, and she will live in a homestay. While in Seville she hopes to take electives on Spanish journalism, political journalism, documentary filmmaking, multimedia, photography. Gili is especially excited for a planned weekend visit to Morocco.
  • Angie Rizzo (GS/Sustainable Development ‘19) will fly to India to intern for six weeks with the NGO Tarumitra (which she has been representing at the UN), working on Tarumitra’s environmental and sustainable development projects. After previous group study trips to Indonesia and Antigua, Angie is eager to travel on her own this summer.

Non-GS majors

  • Nia Baker (Sociology/WGSS ‘19) travels to Dakar, Senegal this fall for a CIEE semester program focusing on language, culture, gender and development. She will be studying French and Wolof and learning about Islam from Senegalese teachers, as well as staying with a host family. “I’m looking forward to studying a part of the world I’ve never been to,” says Nia.
  • Tulaney Bey (International Relations/Economics ‘20) will participate in the Lehigh in Shanghai program this summer, and will do a five-week internship as well as 40 hours of language study to add to the two years of Chinese instruction already under her belt. For Tulaney this will be a chance to get her feet wet and prepare for later long-term study abroad in her junior year. She wants to spend time exploring Shanghai’s cosmopolitan economic center and practicing photography.
  • Delaney McCaffrey (IDEAS ‘19) will join Actuality Media’s summer Documentary Outreach program in Cusco, Peru as part of a team of filmmakers from around the world creating a short documentary about a community member working for positive change. Delaney hopes to gain real-life experience telling stories that matter and preparing for a future in filmmaking.


GS senior wins prestigious award for Middle East study

We would like to congratulate, Toni Isreal ’17 who has been awarded a David L. Boren Scholarship. Isreal is triple majoring in Global Studies, Africana Studies and International Relations/Modern Languages and Literature (IR/MLL).

The Boren Scholarship is highly selective and awards undergraduate’s financial assistance to learn an uncommon language that is considered critical to U.S. foreign interests. The award is contingent on the student completing one-year of service in the federal government.

Isreal will be studying Arabic at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan. While there she will have the opportunity to learn the Levantine/Jordanian Arabic Dialect. Isreal plans to continue her work volunteering with refugees and will work on her thesis for her IR/MLL degree. She is considering focusing her thesis on the political economy of violence.

She says, “I am grateful for this amazing opportunity as it is something I have been working towards since my sophomore year in high school, at The Madeira School. My studies at Lehigh have also encouraged my intellectual curiosity about the global processes affecting areas of conflict in the Middle East.”

Last summer, Isreal was awarded a Global Studies travel grant to take an advanced-level Arabic class in Washington, DC. While at Lehigh she has taken an array of Arabic classes and has studied abroad in Morocco and Oman.

Congratulations Toni, we can’t wait to hear all about your experiences!


What I Learned from Completing the GS Independent Study

By: Katie Morris, ’18

In life, we spend a lot of time asking why. Why me? Why now? We question the way people talk to us, we question the way people act and we question people’s motives. As humans, we are constantly in pursuit of answers. I became invested in the refugee crisis because I wanted to know why people, specifically Americans, are so afraid of the millions of refugees being forcefully displaced from their homes. I wanted to know why and I wanted to change their mindset surrounding the topic.

Through this internship, I have learned that not only do I need to change people’s minds but I need to educate them. My responsibilities for this internship are to promote the education of refugees. But I found that this was hard to do on Lehigh’s campus because much of our campus don’t know what a refugee is and without this knowledge they have no desire to support their education. So, I took a different approach. I decided to educate the campus on what it means to be a refugee. So instead of developing educational sources for refugee’s I was creating educational resources for students. My plan is that once I can get our campus engaged with the topic of refugees I can move forward in working on the education of these refugees.

One of the first events I held was a small screening of the film, Salam Neighbor. I was surprised by the number of people that came and was even more impressed with the dialogue that followed the film. We had at least five people who were engaging in the type of discussion that I wanted to facilitate on our entire campus. From here, I got the idea to escalate this event and have it reach a broader audience. For four months, I worked tirelessly to secure funding, negotiate a contract, develop an itinerary and so much more in order to screen this film on the biggest stage at Lehigh and have filmmaker, Zach Ingrasci there to give a keynote and participate in a question and answer.

The planning of this event was far more difficult, time-consuming and educational then I could have ever imagined. I was constantly putting myself outside of my comfort zone and working in areas that have never been my strong suit. I became increasingly comfortable pitching my event to people and asking them to sponsor my event. I have never liked asking people for me but the more I did it, the easier it became. Every day I was learning something new because I was being forced to do it without preparation. I was thrust into this new world full of contracts, rules and security concerns. Throughout this process, I had a lot of support but I was typically the only student among a large group of adults. I worked hard to make sure that my voice was heard and that my vision for this event did not get overshadowed.

Besides negotiating the speaker and budget I was also in charge of over 80 club members. I wanted to make them feel included but also had to manage who they were talking to and what they were say to ensure that everyone was on the same page. During one meeting, I had a club member tell me that I was taking on too much and that I wasn’t allowing them to do enough. This was a wake-up call for me. I like taking control of situations and I like having things done my way. But my club members comment brought to my attention that my way isn’t always the best way and that I needed to be more open to other people’s ideas as well as allow my members to do more tasks on their own.

This is how the idea for a Meet and Greet with the filmmaker was developed. I sat at a table with four other club members and we debated on the idea that we were spending so much money on this event but weren’t giving anything back to the refugees. We came up with the Meet and Greet to raise funds for the refugees. I largely allowed two of my club members to run this portion of the event which was a huge step for me in learning how to delegate and realizing that everything does not have to be done my way.

Prior to the film screening, we held one more event which was an advocacy event. We gave students white boards and asked them to write why they stand with refugees. We then took their picture with their answer and posted it all over social media. I was disappointed by the amount of negative responses we received but also the amount of people who didn’t know what it means to be a refugee. It reinforced the overall lack of knowledge that Lehigh students have regarding refugees and the ongoing crisis in countries around the world.

The film screening and keynote address of Salam Neighbor were the first steps in the right direction for our campus but there is still a lot that needs to be done. Next semester, I will be working on a film series based on the topic of migration that will be hosted in Arts Quest. I will also be working to host more speakers who can explain the refugee crisis and who can generate interest surrounding the topic. We plan to continue our fundraising efforts and are hoping to host a rivalry fundraiser with the No Lost Generation chapter at Lafayette.

This internship has been a far more impactful experience than I could ever imagine. In just four months I grew my club to over 80 members, hosted three events and raised over $1200 for the local refugee resettlement agency. This internship has taught me the value of money, persistence and connection. I became increasingly aware of the impact that money has in the world and on people. The more sponsors I received the more demands and commitments I had from these sponsors. Some sponsorships came with specific requests and regulations regarding their money. This is something that I have not had experience with in the past and was an important lesson for me. I began to understand the power that money can have over people, projects and organizations.

My persistence throughout this internship is what made my events successful. I worked tirelessly to ensure that we reached the goals which we set for ourselves. Our overall goal  as a club for this semester was advocacy and fundraising surrounding the refugee crisis which we certainly achieved. My persistence regarding sponsors is what enabled us to host the screening of Salam Neighbor in the first place.

Lastly, the connections that I have gained throughout this experience have been invaluable. After the event, I was approached by a set of filmmakers who want to work with Lehigh to screen their film, After Spring, here next semester. I would have never developed this connection without this internship. I also met Professor Muhannad Suleiman who has become a valued colleague and will be introducing me to key figures in the local Syrian community. Through this internship, I have met people who are willing to take time out of their life to help me make this internship and the events associated with it a success. The assistance that I received from yourself, Sarah, the office of interdisciplinary programs and so many other people has been invaluable.

I am looking forward to using what I’ve learned this semester to further my efforts to educate Lehigh on the refugee crisis. The skills I learned this Fall semester are things that I could never have learned in a classroom. This internship gave me the chance to put myself out there and to learn by doing. I could not be more thankful for this experiences and the opportunities that it has provided me. I will continue to search for answers regarding people’s apathy towards the refugee crisis and will work to encourage students to be more curious and to look outside of Lehigh’s walls.

Sasha Clark goes to Morocco

Sasha Clark ’18 spent her summer interning in Ifrane, Morocco with an organization called the Greenside Development Foundation. Her service internship was arranged through America’s Unofficial Ambassadors. In a blog post reflecting on her experience Sasha writes:

Maybe the reason that I could not sleep on my flight to Morocco was because I did not expect to be able to order food in Darija [Moroccan Arabic], or I feared that I would not be able to make friendships and relationships with people I could barely communicate with. Now, I can hold conversations with locals I meet at work, in a restaurant, or at the market. I have made friendships with people I can only slightly communicate with. I did not expect to be moved as much as I have been by the genuine level of human kindness people have for one another here.

Sasha received support from the Global Studies program to fund her travel to Morocco.

Congratulations Sasha and welcome back!

Tübingen Update


Yesterday, we met with Karin Amos who is a Professor of Educational Science at the University of Tübingen. Amos discussed the refugee students who are studying or applying to study at the University. Amos told us that there are approximately 40-50 refugee students studying in Tübingen but this number is unconfirmed because refugees sign up as international students and do not always identify as refugees. The town of Tübingen currently has 280 refugees but has promised to take 1000. The rest of the refugees may still be coming to the town or may have returned to their home countries. Originally, it was thought that many of the refugees would be prepared to enter university when they arrived. However, this has not been the case and according to Amos only 10-15% of the refugees have had the educational level needed to apply. The university is very lenient with the documents that refugees are able to provide and do not require them to have the same documentation as German student. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for refugees is the language barrier. There are very limited German as Second Language (GSL) classes and many professors are unwilling to teach these classes. The University has also found that many of the refugees are unaware of the courses offered by the university and they are working on developing resources to spread information around the city. We are hoping to meet with some of the applicants over the course of the next few weeks and get a feel for their experiences.