"The ability to communicate easily in the language of the country, to go to the media, to conduct your meetings with senior corporate colleagues, or government officials, is invaluable."
— Stanley Roth, Vice President - Asia, Boeing Company

Alumni Going Global

bozza2Anthony Bozza, Medill ’94
An initial interest in African and Middle Eastern history and literature led to a career writing for Rolling Stone Magazine; for example, he wrote a biography of Eminem. At Northwestern, Bozza was fascinated by his professors’ knowledge, including Ivor Wilks, the famed British Africanist, and Olakunle George, a professor of African literature who’d been a writer himself in Africa. Bozza’s interest led him to pursue a concentration in African and Middle Eastern history. He later used his history and story-telling background and applied it to the music industry when Rolling Stone hired Bozza as an unpaid intern. “I loved writing history papers,” Bozza says. “Essentially what I started doing at Rolling Stone was writing history papers, just about music.” Bozza’s first book was on the rapper Eminem, and it is still his proudest work as a writer. Read his full story here.

SuzukiKeita Suzuki, Kellogg ’09
A journalist with NHK Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, Suzuki had planned to use his MBA to enter the media management field. But his son’s diagnosis immediately shifted his focus to autism and Asperger’s syndrome, eventually leading him to learn from a business model championed by a Danish company. At Kellogg, Suzuki partnered with four classmates to develop a business plan for Kaien, a company that trains and places people with high-functioning autism in software companies and other businesses. In 2009, the company was incorporated in Tokyo. Read his full story here.

SeligmanAndrea Felber Seligman, PhD Candidate in African History ’14
Seligman studied Swahili through Northwestern supported summer work in Tanzania and used her skills to bond with community members. She also learned German, French, and Portuguese. After graduation, Seligman received a Fullbright grant (see our Scholarships page) to research the economic history of African cities. She uses her language skills constantly; Seligman conducts interviews in Swahili and uses Portuguese and German when translating sources. “Making the time to become proficient in a foreign language as an undergraduate was one of the best things I did,” Seligman accounts. In addition, she points out the appreciation of the locals; “Tanzania is a country where most are incredibly excited and grateful that anyone would learn even a bit of Swahili.”

Laura Ashbaugh, Medill ’10
After graduation, Ashbaugh had a Fulbright Fellowship to Jordan for a year, where she worked with Iraqi refugees and continued studying Arabic. Now she is a Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Consultant based in Washington, D.C. She helps companies enhance their businesses while also delivering positive environmental and social benefits to their communities. For Ashbaugh, learning Arabic has been a long, but worthwhile journey; “I would advise Northwestern students that learning a language can open up so many opportunities for you, both personally, academically, and professionally. Also, it is important to stick with it and actually become proficient in a language. One or two years of a language will make your study abroad experience more fun, but it is not really enough to make it worthwhile in the long term.”

alumni3Tony Lin, Piano performance, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Psychology ’05
Lin studied abroad in Krakow, Poland while at NU and was able to return after graduation using a Fulbright grant. While at a train station in Poland, a group of hostile teenagers became amazed companions upon hearing Lin’s fluent Polish. Later, Lin used a Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian in Moscow and was a teacher in the Summer Program for Teachers of Russian. Lin is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley and often teaches Polish and Russian to students.

alum4Devon Liddell, Anthropology ’06
After Northwestern, Liddell won a Critical Language Enhancement Award (to study Arabic in Morocco) and a Fulbright Grant (to research Moroccan immigrants in Spain). The combination of English, Spanish and Arabic was very unusual and set her up well for her Fulbright research project. Now she is a management consultant for Accenture, where she expects to be staffed internationally soon given not only her language skills, but her cultural sensitivity.
In terms of studying a language, Liddell says, “Go for it! If you want to be practical, I recommend a widely-spoken romance language, like Spanish. If you’re willing to be impractical, choose a little-spoken dialect like Moroccan Arabic, get off the beaten track, and expect the unexpected. People are fascinating, and the ones who don’t speak English usually have life experiences that are farther from our own expectations.”

HarrisJulia Harris, Anthropology ’07
“Every single one of my experiences abroad took me further into the world of global health,” Harris said, who first joined Northwestern’s Global Health Program in Mexico City as a freshman. Upon graduation, Harris wanted to work in the global health world so she went to Brazil to intern at the National School of Public Health. Her experience in Brazil made her realize that she really wanted to be a physician, and she enrolled in Medical school in Brazil. Harris is now a resident physician at Drexel University’s Hahnemann Hospital. Her advice to those interested in a global career: “If you want a career in global health you have to make it happen. Spend time finding a place, a project or a community that really inspires you and go.” Read her full story here.

HouleBeth Houle, Kellogg ’95
Houle, who began her career at a finance firm after completing her undergraduate studies, soon felt pulled toward a career that would combine solid business principles with social good. She decided to pursue an MBA at Kellogg, and today she directs the Women’s Opportunity Fund (WOF). Houle is also Vice President of Marketing Strategy for Opportunity International, the parent organization of the WOF. The nonprofit makes microloans, primarily to women, in 25 developing countries, including Uganda, Colombia, Russia, and the Philippines. The organization boasts a 98 percent repayment rate. Read her full story here.

Benjamin Harris, Health Education ’10
A biology major, Harris studied public health and social development in Chile and Brazil. He used his global experiences to teach STI and HIV workshops to Chicago Public School students. Read his full story here.

Paul Fichter, McCormick ’94, Kellogg ’97
Two years after leaving Northwestern, Fichter launched a firm that manufactures distinctive tap handles for breweries. He outsources the detailed production work to China, where his company runs a factory with 450 employees. Read his full story here.

Steven Preston, Government ’82
“It was an entirely different set of world views and an entirely different set of opinions toward America than I’d ever been confronted with,” says Preston of his study abroad experience in Germany when the Berlin Wall still stood. He followed his passion for politics and eventually became the former head of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Read his full story here.

Phyllis Billington, Philosophy ’49
A Northwestern philsophy major, cover girl model, and musician, Billington studied music at Brussel’s Royal Conservatory on a Fulbright scholarship following graduation. She met her husband-to-be on the boat. Read her full story here.