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Thursday, Apr 25, 2019

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Dorcas Anima Donkor joined the African Studies program in the fall of 2015.

Dorcas Anima Donkor joined the African Studies program in the fall of 2015.

Anastasia Karpoukhina, a master’s candidate in the International Development Studies program, heard about the program during her service in the Peace Corps.

Anastasia Karpoukhina, a master’s candidate in the International Development Studies program, heard about the program during her service in the Peace Corps.

Brittni Barranco, a graduate student in the Latin American Studies program who began the program in 2014, is following in her sister’s footsteps at OHIO.

Brittni Barranco, a graduate student in the Latin American Studies program who began the program in 2014, is following in her sister’s footsteps at OHIO.

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Center for International Studies alumni recruit new students into the program


Alumni from Ohio University’s Center for International Studies (CIS) are proud of their ties to OHIO, and many of them are encouraging future generations of students to also consider the University.

In fact, CIS alumni can be found all over the world and have become one of the main recruiting tools for the programs. 

Many of the current graduate students in the center discovered their program and Ohio University through the influence of mentors, coworkers, employers, friends and even relatives who are graduates of the center.

“One of the best recruiting sources for the International Development Studies program is our alumni,” said Bob Walter, director for the International Development Studies (IDS) program. “IDS alumni are all over the world and have proven to be excellent ambassadors for the program.” Furthermore, he stated that each year at least 25 percent of the applicants to the IDS program applied because alumni suggested the program.

Current CIS students Dorcas Anima Donkor, Anastasia Karpoukhina and Brittni Barranco were each encouraged by alumni to look into the center’s programs.

Dorcas Anima Donkor joined the African Studies program in the fall of 2015. She received her bachelor’s degree in Akan from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and a master’s of philosophy degree in communication and media studies at the University of Education, Winneba. At the University of Education, Donkor met Professor Andy Ofori-Birikorang, an alumnus of Ohio University Center for International Studies’ African Studies program, when she took his Theories of Human Communication and Development Communication course. He encouraged his students to consider the international studies programs at Ohio University.

“He told us how the African Studies program shaped his thoughts and knowledge and how it made him conscious and critical,” said Dorcas.

She decided to apply to OHIO’s African Studies program because she looked up to Professor Ofori-Birikorang. Now that she is at OHIO, Dorcas explained that she loves Athens, even though it is an entirely new environment for her.

“I love that the African Studies program is interdisciplinary,” Donkor said. “It has broadened my knowledge on social issues and has also given me confidence, especially in public speaking.”
 
After graduating, she intends to pursue a doctoral degree in media arts at Ohio University.

Anastasia Karpoukhina, a master’s candidate in the IDS program, heard about the program during her service in the Peace Corps. After earning her bachelor’s degree in political science with an international relations and comparative concentrations certificate and a gender certificate from the Western Kentucky University, she served in the Peace Corp in the Republic of Georgia from 2012-2014.

Upon completing her service in the Peace Corps, Karpoukhina wanted to earn a master’s degree, so she started looking into various MA programs. She spoke with Maura Fulton, the Peace Corps Country Director of the Republic of Georgia at the time, about her search. Fulton, a graduate of OHIO’s IDS program, suggested that she look into her alma mater.

“She said that the director, Dr. [Bob] Walter, was a great mentor, influencer and person,” Karpoukhina said. Fulton also attributed her success in finding her first job to Walter’s assistance.

Karpoukhina was impressed with Fulton’s description of the program and the director and decided to learn more about the IDS program and the Center for International Studies. She saw that the IDS program was highly customizable and she was intrigued by the possibility of learning from someone with Walter’s credentials.

Karpoukhina applied to the program and was admitted in the fall of 2014, and today is very happy with her choice. After graduating, she intends to seek a position in disaster and crisis management, disaster relief, or in a non-government organization that incorporates asset-based community development in its projects.

Brittni Barranco, a graduate student in the Latin American Studies (LAS) program who began the program in 2014, is following in her sister’s footsteps at OHIO.

Barranco received her bachelor’s in fine arts in painting and drawing from Ohio University in 2012. After earning her degree, she taught dance and art workshops in Ashtabula, Ohio, and considered becoming a children’s literature author. A first-generation American with strong ties to her Colombian heritage, she also had an interest in continuing her education. Her sister, Chelsea Barranco, began her studies in the Center for International Studies’ LAS program in 2013, and became a large influence on Brittni Barranco’s choice to pursue a master’s degree. 

“Chelsea’s own interests in tropical disease research were catered to with the aid of the program and she was allowed to bring her biochemistry background into this program and pursue it even further…watching her success and enthusiasm for the program had completely sold me,” said Brittni Barranco.

Brittni Barranco, however, wanted to focus on the fine arts and her Latin American heritage and is able to do so through the LAS program. Additionally, both sisters traveled to southern Ecuador in the summer of 2015 through Ohio University’s Tropical Disease Institute; Chelsea Barranco worked with Bellamaria’s water systems and Brittni Barranco facilitated art workshops with three different communities.

After graduation, Brittni Barranco intends to find a job that combines fine arts, culture, and community development. It would not be surprising if, in the future, she shares her experiences in the LAS program and at OHIO with future students, encouraging them to look into Ohio University and the center’s programs.