Meet our students!
What better way to get to know our department than to hear from our students?
Featured in this section are current students and alumni that have gone on to exciting work based on the training received in the International Studies program.
“I would say that discussions within the international studies courses are the best part of the program-- not only the discussions held with professors in the classroom but also the perspectives from other students is one of my favorite aspects of the international studies program...”- Leizel Schlott | BA International Studies, 2022
Leizel's time at Millersville
Leizel Schlott of Narrowsburg, NY is an International Studies major set to graduate in May 2022. Transferring from Lackawanna Community College, Schlott received her Associates in Professional Studies in 2019. While currently an off-campus student, Leizel began her time at Millersville in the Spring 2020 semester as a residential student, exploring what the University had to offer. She did not initially start off as an International Studies student. However, after attending an academic informational session, Schlott recalls Government, Policy, and Law Associate Professor Dr. Adam Lawrence discussing the program piquing her interest in the international studies field.
During her time in the International Studies program, Schlott focused on the European Area Study track, with additional foci in Comparative Societies and International Relations coursework. She additionally completed a French Language and Culture Studies minor. Course highlights for Schlott include Cultural Anthropology (ANTH121) and Intro to Global Politics (GOVT251), as they gave a solid foundation for the ensuing coursework to come while incorporating interesting discussion throughout the courses. In fact, course discussion was the best part of the program to Schlott: "I would say that discussions within the international studies courses are the best part of the program-- not only the discussions held with professors in the classroom but also the perspectives from other students is one of my favorite aspects of the international studies program".
Overall, she finds the way in which people are willing to help other people the most interesting part of the international studies field. Schlott notes that "the investments that people make into education are one of the most important aspects of global change. I find the work that individuals put in at the foundational level of global issues in terms of education (ex. Syria, Ukraine, etc.) one of the most special aspects of the international relations field".
Outside of her work in the International Studies program, Schlott serves as the President of the Student Government Association for the 2021-2022 academic year. Schlott worked in the Lackawanna Community College SGA, which allowed for a natural transition into Millersville University's SGA. Initially elected as the Director of Social Affairs for the 2020-2021 academic year, she took on this leadership role to expand on the connections between students and university administration. Additionally, Schlott worked part-time for a Cherokee Nation Businesses Contractor, which partnered with the US Air Force on environmental contracts.
Leizel's biggest piece of advice to prospective and transfer students is "to start looking for internships as soon as you can. Talk to your advisor outside of your registration period because that is where will get the most exposure for career building in the undergraduate setting. Putting in the work outside of the classroom absolutely pays off for your future career in the field".
Following graduation, Liezel would like to incorporate the skills garnered from the International Studies program into the communication/public relations field. In this capacity, Liezel would like to bring a global perspective to organizational structures and utilize those movements into global change.
“The International Studies and Government, Policy, and Law programs are truly the most intriguing and satisfying academic experiences I've been lucky to experience. The programs incorporate other forms of learning into a student's academic repertoire, including simulations, speakers, and more. Whether you are a major or a student taking a general education credit, you will definitely find something of interest in whatever capacity you interact with the department.”- Kristina Diefenderfer | B.A. International Studies/B.A. Government & Political Affairs, 2020 | M.S. Emergency Management, 2022
Kristina's time at Millersville
Kristina Diefenderfer of Quakertown, PA is an alumnus of the International Studies and (the formerly named) Government & Political Affairs departments at Millersville University. Diefenderfer began her time at Millersville as a residential student in 2015, and had quite a few major changes along the way before settling on International Studies, with the eventual addition of Government & Political Affairs. She attributes the interdisciplinary nature of the program as the main draw to the program-- as she notes, there is so much to learn and too little time!
After exploring a myriad of programs, the Intro to International Studies course in Fall 2017 "sealed the deal" for her academic path. During her time in the program, Diefenderfer focused on European and Asian Area studies, Comparative Studies and International Relations. Her favorite courses within the International Studies program include International Law (GOVT351) and Government and Politics of the Middle East (GOVT 323), and Political Research Methods (GOVT401) and US-Middle East Foreign Policy (GOVT455) as highlights of the Government & Political Affairs program.
What Kristina finds most interesting about the field of international relations is the lack of monotony. As global relations and attitudes change on a near-daily basis, Diefenderfer notes that "no two years are the same" when discussing major geopolitical events. This fluidity within the field is one of the aspects that keeps Diefenderfer engaged in the field of global politics. She particularly enjoys reflecting on historic events and translating those outcomes into lessons learned for future geopolitical action.
One of the most notable experiences Kristina recollects from her time in the International Studies program was the 2019 trip to the United Nations and the Delegation of the European Union to the United States in New York City. As she notes, "being able to see these areas in person where large-scale diplomatic discussions are made had a profound effect on me. It gave tangibility to the discussions I had been lucky to experience throughout my time at Millersville". This trip is typically offered every year as a component of the International Organizations course (GOVT352), or with affiliate courses in the department invited to attend.
Diefenderfer's main piece of advice to prospective students in the program is to visit professors during their office hours. She notes that "office hours are for more than just advisement. Those visits established professional relationships with [her] professors, and also gave opportunities to dive deeper into course content of interest". "Essentially", Diefenderfer adds, "don't be a stranger!".
Outside of her work in the international studies program, Diefenderfer served as the station manager and program director of the campus radio station, WIXQ. During her tenure at the radio station, she ran a program entitled "Information Highway", highlighting individuals in various areas such as public education, international travel, and sustainability studies. In December 2018, Diefenderfer had the honor of interviewing Millersville President, Dr. Daniel Wubah, live on-air. Additionally, she served as a media correspondent to the 2020 #VilleVotes campaign run by The Robert S. and Sue Walker Center for Civic Responsibility and Leadership. Diefenderfer is a member of Millersville's chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha.
Following her time in the International Studies and Government & Political Affairs programs, Diefenderfer enrolled in the Center for Disaster Research and Education's Master of Emergency Management program in August 2020. During this time, she focused on the humanitarian, socio-economic, and political components of natural disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies. Diefenderfer will graduate with her Master of Science in Emergency Management in Spring 2022. Following graduation, Kristina hopes to work in political science research, with long-term goals to eventually teach at the collegiate level.