Student Spotlight: Melanie Haber ’22

Melanie Haber ‘22

Where were you born and raised?

Miami Beach, Florida

 What attracted you to Drew?

When I was looking at schools, I was looking for a university that emphasized a strong relationship between faculty and students. I wanted to go to small school so that I would feel a more individualized approach to education. What really impressed me about Drew was that it had each of these things as well as all of these amazing opportunities and programs, like the United Nations semester. I also really appreciated being able to get the traditional college experience without being too far away from a major city.

Why did you choose International Relations as a major and French and Middle East Studies as minors?

During my summer virtual orientation, I told my faculty advisor, Professor Sandra Jamieson, my interests and she suggested a class in International Relations. I took International Relations Theory with Professor Timothy Carter my first semester and I was so fascinated. I have always been interested in human behavior and understanding why people behave the way that they do. I found that international relations helps to answer that question in a way that is relevant to my interest in politics.

I chose to pursue a French minor because I have been taking French since middle school. I went to an international magnet school for foreign languages and fell in love with French. I decided to continue it through college because I wanted to make sure that I was closer to being fluent. I chose the Middle East Studies minor because I really enjoyed the subject matter of the classes. I was taking the classes mostly out of interest but then I realized that I had enough credits to actually be able to complete the minor. I really love it!

Have you done any internships?

 I worked as a Teen Center Intern at the Madison YMCA in Fall 2019 and continued as a paid employee for Spring 2020. I planned curriculum for teen programming like Mock Trial and Cooking classes, taught classes to both teens and younger students, and worked on late night and weekend teen programming

I was an Event Coordinator Intern for the Alhambra U.S. Chamber where I worked on planning large virtual events for global education, conducted market research on military family programming and global education conferences, and created a webinar series for International students wanting to study in the US called Upskill Your Life.

I also did an internship for Planned Parenthood North and Southeast Florida during the summer of 2020. I worked on planning presentations on reproductive justice, helped conduct webinars on various topics, and did phone banking against the Forced Parental Consent Bill for Abortions

 Do you have any mentors at Drew?

 Dr. Amy Koritz, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement: Professor Koritz has been a part of my educational journey since I took her Civic Engagement DSEM in my first year at Drew. I have taken plenty of classes with her and have worked closely with her as a First Year Mentor for the Action Scholars program. She has always been there for me and is always willing to write me recommendations for scholarships and internships. I really appreciate everything she has done for me.

Heather Robinson, Director of Campus Experience in Admissions:  I love working with Heather! She is always so kind and so willing to help all of her student employees. I have learned so much from her about how to work in higher education and in high stress situations, like large Admissions events. She has really helped me to curate my public speaking skills. I am so grateful to have her as my boss!

 Have you studied abroad? Done any short or nycTRECS?

I did the first ever virtual Semester on the United Nations in the fall of 2020 with International Relations Professor Dr. Carlos Yordan. Although it was a little disappointing to not be able to visit the UN twice a week, Professor Yordan did a wonderful job of keeping the course both engaging and helpful for our futures. We met with around 20 different guest speakers working all over the world in different fields. It was really interesting to see how each of them had made their way from their education to their current jobs. I truly loved this course and feel that I learned a lot, not just about the UN, but about understanding my options after graduation.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

Personally, I am really concerned about Climate Change. Growing up in Miami Beach, I have seen the effects of the changing climate. Every year, the water floods closer to my home after storms. My neighbors are constantly raising their sea walls to keep out the rising sea levels. Each summer gets hotter and hotter as the planet gets warmer. I am worried about the future of our planet if corporations and people do not start making large scale changes to prevent rising CO2 levels.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew?

  1. Attending Midnight Breakfast during Finals Week every semester. I love getting to eat pancakes in the middle of the night. I also think it’s really sweet that the whole school comes together, even though we are all really stressed out.
  2. Visiting the Brooklyn Historical Society with my Muslims and the West class. We went into the city to see this beautiful exhibit on Muslim-American art. Then we went as a class to have lunch at this fantastic restaurant. It was really cool also that we visited the city on the day of the NYC marathon so we got to watch all of the runners pass through Brooklyn.

Trip to the Brooklyn Historical Society

3. Having my play stage-read as a part of Plays in Process. I took Playwriting in Fall 2019 and worked on my first ever one act play. When the PIPS producers and Professor Rosemary McLaughlin asked to put on my play, I was overjoyed! It was such a great opportunity! I also really appreciated them allowing me to participate, even though I am not directly a part of the Theatre department.

DIPS Improv Line at the DUDS Rocky Horror Show on Halloween

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

 Take your time! You do not need to have your dream job picked out before you come to college. Please, take some time to explore and take courses you may not have normally taken. You may find that you have an interest that you did not know you had.

 What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

 I would really like to work in Counterterrorism. I haven’t  decided what I would want to do specifically, but I am starting my research in this area for my thesis so I hope to end up in this field. I hope that in 5 years I have a job that I love and live in a place that makes me happy, I’m not too particular about any other details!

First Year Orientation with some members of the Orientation Committee

 

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