Interested in pursuing an American degree in France? Learn about options through IAU's degree-granting institution - The American College of the Mediterranean.

Bachelor's and Master's Programs

Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2019

Edition no. 22 
Summer 2019

Table of Contents

On-Campus at IAU Alumni Events Get Involved Giving Back to IAU News from Our Alumni

Do you have any updates or information you would like to share in the next alumni newsletter? Contact or call 1.800.221.2051 to share your store. We'd love to hear from you! 

On-Campus at IAU

2019 ACM Graduation & IAU Closing Ceremony

IAU alumna and former Ambassador Frances D. Cook spoke at the May 10, 2019 commencement ceremony of the American College of the Mediterranean and the Institute of American Universities in Aix-en-Provence. Fourteen ACM graduates from Masters Programs in Fine Arts, International Relations, and Art History (names below), and almost 200 IAU study abroad students heard Ambassador Cook’s call for political, artistic, and social engagement in the world, illustrated with vignettes from her inspiring career as a diplomat and foreign policy advisor. Her first big break, she said, came due to the French-language skills and self-confidence she learned from studying abroad. Arriving as a young officer at the U.S. Embassy, Paris in May 1968, Ambassador Cook noted, “I arrived at the huge U.S. Embassy in Paris, fluent, and very comfortable working in the unique work environment of France, thanks to the French I learned here.” Her ability to play a role at the center of the seminal events of 1968 – monitoring the student riots, working on the U.S.-Vietnam peace talks, witnessing the rocky Franco-American relations of that period – launched her on a diplomatic career that led to several Ambassadorships. This included being the youngest career diplomat to be named Ambassador, and later on the first woman from any country to serve as Ambassador in the Arab Gulf, in the Sultanate of Oman. She said it was now the graduates' turn to join her in “working for change,” telling them, “The wonderful nation of France is now a part of you, and you’ll draw on its richness and depth, its challenges and its lessons, for the rest of your lives.” 

Thank you, Ambassador Cook, and congratulations to the graduates! 

2019 ACM Graduates: 

  • Tryphena Asamoah, Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
  • Larkin Brown, Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
  • Chloe Cummings, Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
  • Nika Lomidze, Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
  • Lisa Mandel, Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
  • Kirsti Stangeland, Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR)
  • Isabel Burnette, Master of Arts in Art History (MAAH)
  • Jenny Cawood, Master of Arts in Art History (MAAH)
  • Benjamin Garza, Master of Arts in Art History (MAAH)
  • Patrick Beeby, Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA)
  • Sophie Browning, Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA)
  • Bill Hindle, Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA)
  • Mary Leone, Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA)
  • Hilary Stein, Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA)

To read the full text of Ambassador Cook's commencement address, please follow this link.  Master's graduates Hilary Stein (MFA), Lisa Mandel (MAIR), and Jenny Cawood (MAAH) each gave speeches to conclude the ceremony. See the full text of their speeches below: 

Interested in more graduation information? Visit IAU's Graduation & Closing Ceremony webpage. 

Summer 2019 Lecture Series
IAU hosts lecture series, symposiums, and conferences each term with speakers from the IAU Faculty, Resident Fellows, Visiting Scholars, local community leaders, as well as experts in fields relevant to the current events of the region. IAU strives to remain active and engaged with the academic and cultural community of the region, and one way to achieve this is by maintaining an open and up-to-date dialogue for the student population.

View the Summer 2019 Lecture Series Schedule here.

Summer 2019 Student Enrollments & Programs
Photos above show (from left to right): students from the University of Oregon's program entitled, "Exploring Identity, Place, and Representation through the Arts in Aix-en-Provence" led by IAU alumna, Dr. Lisa Abia-Smith; Northern Arizona University students exploring the town of Roussillon, France; University of North Texas students sketching in the cloister of the Cathedral Saint-Saveur.

IAU had a record number of students enroll this summer in its programs in France, Spain, and Morocco. The enrollments for the summer term totaled 496 students, with about two-thirds of those students coming from custom and faculty-led programs. We welcomed faculty-led programs from the following universities this past summer term 2019: 

  • Agnes Scott College
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Belmont University
  • California State University - Fullerton
  • Duke University
  • George Washington University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Princeton University
  • St. John's College
  • Susquehanna University
  • University of Colorado - Denver
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Oregon
  • Washington State University
In addition to hosting students in Aix-en-Provence, IAU also hosted many summer programs and students at its campus in Barcelona, Spain. Students in all programs took advantage of IAU's multiple campuses to enhance field studies and academic visits. Below, students from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln spent six to nine weeks studying in Barcelona taking classes and participating in internships with prominent businesses. These students also had the opportunity to be a part of a field study to observe comparative business practices in Morocco. 


Are you a university professor interested in running a faculty-led/customized program with IAU? Contact Jude Caywood, Coordinator of Custom Programs, for more information about proposals, pricing, inclusions, and possibilities. 

The School of Art Summer Program

This summer IAU and the School of Art welcomed 17 students to the summer Arts Core Program. These students were immersed in art for six weeks with Professors O'Neill Cushman, Pauline Bétrancourt, and Hilary Stein. The Marchutz Core Art Program welcomed students from the following colleges and universities: College of Charleston, University of North Dakota, Westmont College, University of Maine - Orono, University of Rhode Island, Wesleyan University, Allegheny College, Macalester College, and St. John's College. Students had the opportunity to participate in field studies visiting the sites around Provence of Cézanne and Van Gogh, as well as explore the Vaucluse region of France and its architecture. It was a wonderful summer! 

French Honors Program Summer Cohort
The French Honors program welcomed 11 students this summer from 9 different universities, including Franklin & Marshall College, Georgia State University, Mount Holyoke College, Towson University, University of Georgia, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Tennessee, Villanova University, and Wheaton College. The French Honors students vowed to only speak French during their six-week immersion program and had the opportunity to participate in field studies, and discussions surrounding the language, literature, and culture of France. Pictured at left, the French Honors students visit the Pavillon de Vendôme, not far from IAU's Centre d'Etudes Françaises. Merci tout le monde! Bonne continuation!

Alumni Events

Recap: 1967-1968 Class Reunion in Florida


This past May, classmates from the IAU class of 1967-1968 reunited in Florida to reconnect and reminisce on their time together in Aix-en-Provence. One 1967-1968 alumna, Helen Ann (Davis) Spence, wrote a lovely summary of their reunion: 

"Before leaving Aix 51 years ago, the president of our class distributed a proclamation to each of us stating that we had participated in the “French Revolution” (known as la grève) in May of 1968 (see below for a copy of this proclamation). It was a volatile period of civil unrest throughout France. There were demonstrations, riots, major strikes and the occupation of universities and factories.

"One of the repercussions for us was our inability to receive money from home as the banks were closed. As many of us were not living with French families, this brought us all closer together sharing our centimes for food and 'beverage.'

"To this day, the bond between us continues. Nina Pinches Berkheiser and Gerald York planned this recent reunion and did a fantastic job organizing all of the festivities. The reunion took place at the Dolphin Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida. The attendees were Nancy Arnold, Gail Burke, Janice Ciampa Bauer, Judy Bugay Hallgren, Georgia Clark Savinar, Helen Davis Spence, Donna Gano Minard, Nina Pinches Berkheiser, Judith Rice and Gerald York.

"We arrived Thursday, May 16th, and on our first evening, we had a group dinner at the resort. The next day we were free during the day to sightsee and that afternoon, Nina hosted a pool party at her house. Gerald brought out his guitar and played during the evening as we reminisced about Aix. On the final day, we enjoyed a dinner at a French restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg. Back at the resort, there was further musical entertainment as we made fools of ourselves at the karaoke bar.

"It’s wonderful to still have friendships that were created more than 50 years ago in Aix at the IAU."

Thank you, Helen Ann! Are you interested in gathering your IAU class for a reunion? The IAU Office of Alumni Affairs would be happy to support your efforts. Please reach out to or 800-221-2051 for more information.


IAU Friends from 1966-1967 Reunite
Friends and classmates from their year (1966-1967) at IAU in Aix-en-Provence, Alice Freed, Cassy Graff, Susan Demersseman, Carol Kalisak Sund, and Demaris Hammond get together every so often, most recently this summer to reminisce about their time at IAU and reconnect with each other. All of the women have remained involved with IAU through receptions or taking trips back to Aix. We love hearing about these life-long friendships! Thanks for sharing!

Get Involved

Return to IAU for a January Term Program

Have you been wanting to get back to Europe with IAU? IAU is pleased to invite alumni to participate in our January Term academic traveling seminars this coming January at a special rate specifically for our alumni. 

3 weeks  •  3-credit course

Double-occupancy hotel rooms : $4,150 program cost + $500 tax-deductible donation


Single-occupancy hotel rooms: $5,150 program cost + $500 tax-deductible donation

Prices include all hotels and visits, some meals, insurance, and transportation between program locations. Transportation expenses to and from the program are not included in the program fees. The tax-deductible donation portion of the fee will go towards IAU student scholarships.

Application Deadline: October 1st

Enroll Now


Wine, Gastronomy & Sustainability of the Mediterranean

France • Spain
December 28, 2019 - January 14, 2020
See the full itinerary and course options here.

Theatre Alive: Theatre in Ireland, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, and London
Ireland • England
December 28, 2019 - January 14, 2020
See the full itinerary and course options here.

American Diplomacy
France • Tunisia • Belgium
January 2, 2019 - January 19, 2019
See the itinerary and course options here.

Interested? Questions? Contact us at 800-221-2051 or via email.

Degree Program Applications Open for the 2020-2021 Academic Year 

If you have been dreaming of returning to Aix, now is your chance! 

IAU now offers master's and bachelor's programs at its campus in Aix-en-Provence, France in a variety of subjects, including Fine Arts, French Studies, International Relations, Art History, and Business through its degree-granting branch, the American College of the Mediterranean. Click below to learn more or begin an application. 

Learn More

IAU/ACM Internship Referral Program

Does your place of work offer internships to students? IAU and ACM are interested in creating an alumni internship network, where IAU alumni could connect with IAU and ACM students to encourage internships in diverse fields around the world. Interested in learning more or discussing collaboration possibilities? Please contact Philip Breeden at

Alumni Ambassador Program

The IAU Alumni Ambassador Program was established in 2010 so that former students could share their study abroad experience with prospective students, faculty, and study abroad office personnel on their home campus, as well as connect with other alumni to keep the IAU network strong. IAU Ambassadors are drawn from all IAU programs, academic disciplines, and class years. 

All alumni are welcome to join the Alumni Ambassador Program. For additional information, please contact IAU Admissions Coordinator, Arianna Zabriskie. To begin an application, please click here.

Host an Alumni Reception

IAU hosts alumni receptions each year in various cities around the U.S. These events rely on the generosity of our alumni and partners, and the city where we choose to hold events usually depends on where we have someone willing to donate their time, energy, and space.

Are you interested in hosting an IAU alumni reception in your city? Contact or call 1.800.221.2051 to discuss possibilities. 

Giving Back to IAU

There are many ways to donate to IAU. Regardless of the amount or the form that a donation may take, IAU is deeply humbled by the action itself. Whether donors wish to honor or commemorate an individual, or contribute to buildings and classrooms through IAU's Naming and Legacy Opportunities, or help ensure the excellence of IAU programs for future generations of students, we invite potential donors to consider and select one or more of the donation opportunities listed below and on the IAU website. We sincerely thank you for your support.

Donate Now

Support IAU on Amazon Smile
Consider supporting IAU on Amazon Smile. You shop how you normally would on, and a percentage of the proceeds goes directly to IAU. 

Support IAU on Amazon Smile

The Yamina Boudellal Diversity Scholarship

In honor of Yamina Boudellal, for her forty-six years of untiring and devoted service to the students of the Institute for American Universities, a scholarship fund has been opened to assist students in studying abroad with IAU. Yamina's love of IAU will always inspire us!

Funds from this scholarship will be used to attract outstanding students from diverse backgrounds who are traditionally underrepresented in international education.

Since the scholarship fund was created in May 2017, we have raised over $15,000 to help send underrepresented students abroad! Contribute now to support this effort. 

Donate to the Yamina Boudellal Diversity Scholarship

IAU Legacy Giving: The Mont Sainte-Victoire Society

IAU is extremely grateful to our alumni and other supporters who have remembered the Institute with a gift in their will. The Mont Saint-Victoire Legacy Society is an association for donors who have included IAU in their estate plans through a planned gift or other charitable donation.

For more information about remembering IAU in your estate plans, please contact 
Kurt Schick, Vice President of U.S. Operations.

Giving Tuesday
Mark your calendars! Giving Tuesday 2019 is December 3, 2019

It's never too early to start planning your giving plans for Giving Tuesday.  As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, IAU will be participating in Giving Tuesday, Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and after the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Consider IAU in your giving plans this coming giving season!

News from Our Alumni

IAU Alumni Secure Post-Grad Opportunities in French and Beyond

Our incredible recent alumni have had success in their endeavors as they move on from IAU and their undergraduate careers. Here are just a few examples of what our alumni have been up to: 

  • Martha "Lizzie" McIntosh (Summer '17) published an article in The Bitter Southerner about a sculptor in her region of the United States South. Read the full article here.
  • Julia McDaniel, who won the Spring 2015 IAU Atelier d’Ecriture Prize for her creative nonfiction essay “Getting It Right,” will be on full scholarship at the Helen Zell Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Michigan this Fall 2019.
  • Nyssa Muheim (Spring '13) has secured a job as a French teacher at a secondary school in London.
  • Dylan Ashton (Fall '16) will be headed back to France on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant and will be teaching at Lycée Jacques BREL in La Courneuve, France.
  • Morgan Gallagher (Spring '18) was selected on a Fulbright Advanced Student grant to research environmental studies at IRSTEA in Lyon. Her research topic will center around “Consequences of River Intermittency for Microbial Greenhouse Gas Production."
  • Jayme Rhoads (Spring '16) has been awarded a Fulbright grant.
  • Emily Wieder (Fall '17) will continue her studies at the doctorate level at the University of Iowa, where she will work toward her doctorate in French/francophone studies. 
Congratulations and best of luck to all of you!

Drew Lewis ('17) Conducts Research on Students of Color in Homestays Abroad

IAU alumna Drew Lewis' time in Aix-en-Provence influenced her senior sociology research paper. She explains more below:

"I studied with IAU in Aix-en-Provence in the Fall of 2017. It was by far the most memorable semester of my college career. I was thrilled to be in such a quaint and intimate location, where I could immerse myself in the southern provençal culture and improve my language skills as a French and Anthropology/Sociology double major from Denison University in Ohio. I met a group of lifelong friends from various parts of the U.S. and made meaningful connections with the faculty and staff at IAU.

"When I was abroad, I noticed that a common topic of discussion among my friends and I was our fluctuating feelings on living in a homestay. My peers at IAU thus inspired me to dedicate my senior research project in Sociology to studying the discriminatory experiences of students of color living in European homestays. As an African-American woman, I felt that it was necessary to highlight this issue in higher education opportunities that may not be recognized very often. I transferred the narratives of underrepresented students from various abroad programs through qualitative and quantitative research methods, to correlate to a broader scope of societal implications that are a result of the contemporary social, cultural, and political climate in Western European countries. I anticipate that the findings from my study can positively influence how off-campus study offices at collegiate institutions address social issues that their students of color may face abroad. Moreover, I hope that the results implement changes to the housing processes at abroad institutions with host families. I have since graduated from college in the Spring of 2018 and currently plan to start law school next Fall. I will continue to make strides in my communities to advocate and shed light on pertinent issues."

Great job, Drew! We can't wait to see what you do next!

Regiane Ocampo ('18) Found Inspiration with IAU in Barcelona

Regiane Ocampo, an IAU student from Summer 2018, shares below how her time with IAU in Barcelona impacted her ceramics and sculpture practice. 
Read on for more from Regiane.


"My name is Regiane Ocampo. I was born in Brazil and moved to the United States in 2010 for an exchange program to study English. I immediately identified with the culture and New York would become the place I would marry my soulmate and call home. Three years ago, I took my first ceramics class in college and completely fell in love with clay. Ceramics became my biggest passion and aspiration. Since then, I have taken ceramics and sculpture classes every semester, all of which have been incredibly rewarding and I enjoy every minute of it!

"Currently, I am in my senior year at Lehman College in NY, pursuing a BFA in Ceramics/Sculpture. Knowing how important the thesis year would be, I thought it was a great idea to take the IAU Ceramic Sculpture course in Barcelona and Florence during the summer. My hope was to find some inspiration for my new body of work as I geared up towards my thesis show at Lehman College, and my solo show at the National Arts Club.

"Barcelona and Florence are both lively and charming places with an incredibly rich history and culture, as well as the home of some of the greatest architects, artists, and sculptors of all time. Being able to see such works in person allowed me to draw them from my own live observation with artistic detail. It offered me the opportunity to contemplate details such as the marks left by the artist’s tools on the surface of sculptures, which are very informative as they are reminiscent of the artist’s intentions and of the process of modeling the shapes. My time with IAU renewed my creativity and enthusiasm to keep challenging myself. It continues to give me the motivation to work hard throughout this year until my first solo show!"

Thanks for sharing your story, Regiane!

Kathy Brodsky ('66) Shares Newspaper Clipping of Classmate's New York Times Article About Aix

IAU alumna ('66) and children's book author, Kathy Brodksy, shared with the IAU alumni affairs team this newspaper clipping (at left) from one of her classmates, Carolyn Siegel, who wrote an article for the New York Times (published January 12, 1966) about her time in Aix-en-Provence with IAU. Carolyn's father was an editor at the New York Times at the time. Thanks for sharing, Kathy! 

To see the full article in the New York Times archives, please follow this link.

Sophie Leininger ('06) Visits Aix

Sophie Leininger (IAU Alumna Spring 2006) came back to Aix-en-Provence to visit and stopped by IAU to say hello. She is pictured here (at left) with her favorite French professor, Muriel Cros, her host mother, Malika Khadraoui, and IAU's Chief Financial Officer, Kristin Mylander-Ouerfelli. Sophie was sad to miss seeing her rt Professors during her visit. She said that Marchutz's holistic teaching method changed her life. Sophie now lives in Oakland, CA and works as an artist. Thanks for stopping by, Sophie!

Gail Starr ('68-'69) Recounts Impactful Visit Back to Aix
Gail Starr (IAU alumna '68-'69) was kind enough to share with us a summary of a trip she took back to Aix-en-Provence in 1998, 30 years after she was a student there. Read on for her impressions of the town and what had changed and remained the same in her beloved Aix-en-Provence.

 "I spent my junior year 1968 in France, studying in Aix-en-Provence. During the year of living and studying in Aix, I took a variety of classes and struggled to learn to speak French every day. I remember the smell of freshly baked baguettes, and the tart taste of the red vin de table which was the cheapest affordable wine, and the hot French mustard served with frites. I especially remember the Saturday excursion programs put together by the Institute almost every weekend, in which we visited almost every major historic towns and areas of Provence. These included visits to Cistercian and Norman churches, and seeing the Roman ruins at Nimes, Arles, Orange, Pont du Garde among other places, all within a few hours of Aix. My path to school led through the center of Aix, along the cobblestoned streets, and through the arch under the huge clock tower located next to the Mairie; narrow enough for just one car to pass. There were several large open squares where the weekly market was held, selling everything including books, flowers and vegetables, and antiques. I loved the shops in Aix, the small North African couscous restaurants, the Cours Mirabeau which was the central avenue of the town, lined with huge plane trees, fountains and sidewalk cafes. I think I lived in the cafés when I was not in class. I even went hiking with a group one weekend climbing up Mont St. Victoire, which Cezanne made famous in many of his paintings.

"Thirty years later in October of 1998, I took a tour to Southern France called the "Route de Cezanne". I was looking forward to spending three days in Aix as part of the itinerary, and armed with my 35 mm camera I took lots of pictures. In 1968 I had a small 124 kodak which took very bad pictures and I really was pleased to be able to retrace my steps through the town and have some great pictures to remember this trip. In addition to visiting Aix, the tour visited Arles, St. Remy, Les Baux, and Avignon. In Aix, I noticed much more traffic, more upscale shops, but many of the same landmarks, fountains, cafés, etc. I spent my program-free day wandering around the town. It happened to be market day, and I spent most of my time taking pictures and looking at the fresh produce and either antiques or the provencal handicrafts. I also stopped in briefly at the Institute just for a look (how did I ever go up and down the stairs to the cave?) and it seemed that little had changed in 30 years.

"I searched out a small restaurant where I wanted to sample some of the regional cuisine. I ordered a half bottle of crisp white wine, and a plat provencal, a mixture of fresh salads and vegetable dishes, served together for a "light" lunch. A basket of fresh French bread completed the meal. Wonderful! Sometimes I take out my lavender potpourri I bought and just the smell takes me back to Provence."

Alumna Margaux Moze ('18) Presents Research at AAWE Conference in Vienna

Wine Studies graduate and IAU alumna, Margaux Moze (Fall '18), gave a presentation at the American Association of Wine Economists in Vienna, Austria. The title of her research is “Brand Reputation and Perceived Quality of Champagne for US Millennials.” Her study was carried out in the fall semester of 2018 in Aix-en-Provence. Margaux was chosen as the only undergraduate and her presentation attracted professionals from around the world. Following Margaux's presentation, the working paper will be peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of the American Association of Wine Economists. IAU is thrilled to support Margaux in her conference presentation and this great display of IAU's commitment to student research.  

"Then and Now"

Brent Beery ('96)
Joanne Kauffman ('64)
Grace Escamilla ('08)

For our "Then and Now" features, we ask two open-ended questions of our alumni: 1. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself; 2. How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward? Here, Brent Beery ('96), Joanne Kauffman ('64), and Grace Escamilla ('08) tell us about how IAU influenced their lives after their time abroad.

Brent Beery ('96): "Then and Now"


Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself? 
"I studied at IAU in 1996. I'm originally from Maryland. Currently, I live in China - I've been here for 20 years. I did an MBA at Oxford, and also worked in Copenhagen. I work in venture capital investing in agtech with a mission to support the development of new technologies that allow the world to increase its food supply while decreasing the environmental impact of producing that food." 

How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?
"My time at IAU made me fall in love with travel and living abroad. Classes were great and I learned a lot at the school. Every day that we didn't have class, my friends and I set off for somewhere new. We did winter break in Morocco, spring break in Greece, weekends in London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Oslo, and many other places. The IAU professors suggested small villages and out of the way places for us to visit that were the best parts of France. The family I lived with made the most amazing dinners every night of the week and I have been in love with good food ever since. Because of how exciting I found living in Aix, after IAU I went back to the States for 9 months to finish university and then I set off for China. Since then I've only been back to the States to visit."

Thanks for sharing your story, Brent!

Joanne Kauffman ('64): "Then and Now"


Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself? 
"I live in the heart of rural Provence where I have had a home since 1971. My first roommate from Aix and I came here that year with her husband and small child to raise goats and to live a pastoral life in what we both considered to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Although I discovered rather soon that I had neither the strength nor the skills to live the peasant life, I fell in love with the house as well as the village and many of its inhabitants, now close friends for whom I have enormous respect and affection. When we ended the goat cheese production, I kept the house but went to work in Paris at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). My daughter was born here and started school in the village. We returned to the United States in 1983. I completed my Ph.D. in political science at MIT and continued to work there as a lecturer and principal research scientist until I retired in 2003...the year my husband and I moved back to the house in Provence permanently. Since then, I have continued to consult with universities in both teaching and advising capacities in my specialty which is global environmental politics and 'sustainable development.'"

How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?
"The year I spent as a student at the IAU and the "Fac" in Aix was simply transformative. My home university had no formal "Junior Year Abroad" program, but the Institute made it possible through a pre-agreement on courses I would take to transfer credits back. It also made it possible to audit courses at the French University in Aix, which provided those of us who took classes there to enrich our French skills and to enter more fully into the French way of university life, while ensuring a continuum with our US-based programs. And what a life that was in the 1960s! This provided an unspoken and unfettered freedom to explore not only another culture but our own personal identity, our responses to new experiences and to new challenges, to find out who was that person I wanted to and would become. What made this possible was due in part to the absence of reliable and regular communication with the familiar and the past. This was after all decades before the advent of the personal computer and the internet, not to mention the cell phone, Facetime, and Skype. My year at IAU was like none other that came before and would influence all those that followed. It opened my mind and my heart to new ways of seeing, thinking and being -- as well as the making of life-long friends. It led me to my intellectual lodestar, "pole nord", compass. Who could ask for anything more?"

Thanks for sharing your story, Joanne!

Grace Escamilla ('08): "Then and Now"


Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
"My name is Grace Escamilla and I'm a 31-year-old citizen of the world. I have lived in 6 different countries since I graduated from university in 2010 and have spent significant time in a couple more, including a year completing my M.A. at King's College London. I'm a lifelong learner, a revolutionary, a wanderer, a fighter, and am committed to seeing the end of sovereign nation-states (and thus the achievement of true universal human rights) within my lifetime. I hold a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Conflict, Security and Development, and am currently based in Istanbul working remotely as Programme Specialist for an Afghan NGO based in Kabul, Afghanistan. We work mostly on private sector development, job creation and entrepreneurship, returnee reintegration and women's empowerment. I absolutely love my job. I speak English, French, intermediate Spanish and Turkish, basic Arabic, and am learning Farsi. I keep active on the side doing research on global governance, partnering with other glocal (global + local) change-makers here in Istanbul and around the world on developing an international community, doing anything related to radical feminism, and dancing as much as I can. I plan to move back to Paris in a few years to make that my permanent home base."

How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?
"To be honest I have never really considered this question, but now that I am I realize that it may have been the turning point of my entire life. I have always been curious about the world, but growing up my family never had the means to travel abroad. My mom always told me to wait until university, where I could study abroad "for free" on my student loans. So I did, and IAU was the result. My time in France opened my eyes just enough to the world outside the U.S. and, though I went back to complete my BA in the States, the minute I had that degree in hand I caught the first flight to Paris with my summer savings and never looked back. My adult life really began at that moment. I studied art at IAU, by the way (Marchutz School of Art), and all I can say about that is--life is anything but a straight path (my career has nothing to do with art). However, I have for a long time thought of my life as a painting--a lifelong masterwork. You do not add things to your life for a scientific result, rather you add them because they fit in with the beauty that is there and the beauty that will be."

Thanks for sharing your story, Grace!

Do you have any updates or information you would like to share in the next alumni newsletter? Contact or call 1.800.221.2051 to share your store. We'd love to hear from you!