This summer the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women-State University of New York International Relations and Global Affairs Program granted five juniors a $5,000 annual scholarship. This makes Geneseo the third State University of New York school to offer this scholarship, the other two being SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Stony Brook. Geneseo winners include juniors Maydelis Minaya, Rachel Colomban, Ariana Lippi, Emily Mathews and Nicola Mohan.
The scholarship guarantees each recipient a paid internship for the next two summers in addition to the scholarship.
“It’s centered around New York City, so only people who live within a certain radius of Manhattan are eligible for the scholarship and internship,” Colomban said.
Internship opportunities include but aren’t limited to working with the State Department, Peace Corps and Human Rights Watch.
“[The internships] very much depend on what you’re interested in,” Mathews said. “I was really surprised because I was really helped through the process by the program coordinators and I wasn’t really expecting to get as much support as I did.”
In addition to the summer opportunities, these recipients participate in monthly educational seminars and Skype in with members of Binghamton and Stony Brook’s programs.
“We go through these webinars and we listen to all these really influential people in international relations and global affairs,” Mohan said. “We’ve met authors who’ve written really important IR books. We’ve read numerous articles. We also do a lot of homework for it; we have papers to write.”
Since the program is in its first year, the five women do not receive class credit for their work, but according to Mohan, it is something the program is working to obtain in the future.
“The program not only puts us in contact with a lot of speakers and a lot of pioneers in the field, but it also lets us meet women from Binghamton and Stony Brook that are interested in the same things,” Matthews said. “Over the summer when we all come together, we kind of have an orientation before we go out into the different internships we have in New York City.”
Although the recipients are excited about the possibilities this opportunity creates, not everyone sees this as such a positive experience.
“When I told some people about this program, they said that it was unfair and that it was favoring women and not giving other people a chance,” Lippi said. “I can’t stress enough how absolutely fair I think this program is because women do not have representation in the global system, especially in the developing world. The impact of that fact is disastrous and it causes a repression of so many people around the world.”