Alumni Profile: Lauren Brittany Diaz '11

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Upon graduation in May 2011, I was offered a job with the Procurement Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. Not exactly the path a communication studies/political science major would typically take, but I felt fortunate to have a job and save a bit of money. It was meant to be a summer job, which is normally given to UCLA business majors. However, I exceeded my supervisor’s expectations and was offered a permanent position within the department.

During my last week of work, many of the employees told me that I was one of the better, if not the best, “student” employee they ever had. Each person attributed this to my ability to communicate well within the department, and with other UCLA departments. How ironic. It was my communication studies major, rather than my business administration minor, that set me up for success on my first job in the business realm.

While my experience at UCLA was very educational and insightful, I felt conflicted over the fact that I was not on a path more aligned with my interests. I decided to not accept the permanent job at UCLA and decided to look for something else. What am I interested in? Well, international development, education, empowering women, and hmm… traveling!

My search quickly led me to World Teach. This non-profit organization organizes for groups of college graduates to teach various subjects and host community events in developing countries. Once I decided to apply to this program, I had to choose a specific country to work in. The Ecuador program initially interested me because its members primarily teach English at Ecuadorian universities.

A flashback to one of my most memorable experiences at USD, the Binational Association of Schools of Communication Conference (BINACOM), and I knew the Ecuador program would be the best fit for me. I presented my research paper from Dr. Esteban del Río’s class at BINACOM, which was hosted at The Autonomous University of Baja California, Tijuana. During the two-day conference, students from all over San Diego had the opportunity to converse with students from Mexico. It is truly a bi-national conference.

An objective of the conference is to break down stereotypes students on both sides of the border have about each other and on various issues. I quickly discovered I shared much more in common with the Mexican students than I originally assumed. When it came time to select a specific program within World Teach, I thought about how relatable and inviting the community at BINACOM had been. I felt confident when I applied to the World Teach Ecuador February 2012 year-long program, knowing that my experiences at USD well prepared me to achieve success with World Teach. I was accepted and will embark on this year-long journey in less than a month.
(A special shout out to Dr. Kristin Moran for submitting my World Teach reference form in record time!)
While in Ecuador, I plan to apply to graduate school for my PhD so that I may return to school in the fall of 2013. I would love to eventually become a professor. While I am not 100 percent certain of where my path will take me, I am confident that the knowledge and skills I learned at USD will be practical in any field I pursue. If I could offer any advice, it would be to take advantage of the great professors and resources USD has to offer. Go to BINACOM, even if you feel a little bit out of your comfort zone. The lessons you will learn about yourself and others are invaluable.

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