Alumni Stories: Zoe Hammes (International Studies Graduate, 2016)

I graduated from UWM in December 2016 with a BA in International Studies with a focus in International Politics and World Affairs and a minor in Women and Gender studies. I studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy and participated in a summer program at the United Nations in NYC. Also during my time at UWM, I was a public affairs intern with Planned Parenthood. Currently, I am working in development and alumni coordination at Department of Surgery for the University of Wisconsin Hospital.

My International Studies degree gave me a multitude of skills that made job searching really open ended. I decided what skills I wanted to market from my degree – which is the beauty of an interdisciplinary major like International Studies. From the diverse classes I took and the many skills I learned from them, I was able to market myself well to employers and mold these skills to different job opportunities.

Now, working in a hospital, I am meeting a variety of bright professionals who are helping me explore post-undergraduate study options. I am using this opportunity to help me decide between law school, a masters degree, or a PhD and having a a network of professionals who have taken all of these routes is a fantastic opportunity. I also volunteer with organizations that matter to me in my free time, which is also giving me experience and exposure that align with my passions.

Overall, my experiences at UWM truly helped me decide graduating early and taking time between graduation and my next academic step was the right decision for me. Talking and asking people what their paths were was extremely important to me. Everyone from my UWM professors to ambassadors from the United Nations or even people in hostels in Europe helped me see the kinds of routes I can take. Keeping in touch with all these people I met from my UWM experiences during this transition time was crucial to helping me solidify my next step.

Go Panthers!