Global Studies Program

Our Alumni

Armed with knowledge, perspectives and skills acquired in the global studies program at CLU, global studies alumni pursue their interests and careers that are truly global everywhere in the world. Our alumni are eager to take advantage of opportunities created in the global world and work with people from different cultural and religious backgrounds for peace, social justice, cross-cultural understanding and/or business endeavor.


Kelly Fry '10

"While at Cal Lu, I really had no clue what I wanted to do after I graduated. I never really thought about it either, up until my last year, and really my last semester… I developed a passion for social justice issues while at CLU. Through all the various events that I attended, I think that I realized that I am very privileged, and really wanted to do something with that to help those who were unable to help themselves."

Jessica Weaver '10

"I cannot understate the academic possibilities offered within this department and the potential gravity of their effect on future pursuits. My present occupation is a tangible manifestation of the global interconnectedness that first piqued my interest in becoming a Global Studies major, and seeing certain concepts I learned in the classroom materialize in my daily life abroad is proof of how valid the information taught truly is."

Mari Stromsvag '10

"Here is my favorite quote and I try to live by it: 'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain

Kayla Barnett '09

"I am now at the Monterey Institute of International Studies working on a Masters degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies…. When trying to decide on which program I wanted to achieve my masters degree in, I looked back on the classes that I had most enjoyed or found the most interesting during my under grad, and those where the ones that dealt with terrorism and the effects it has on the global population."


Stories from our Alumni

Kelly Fry

While at Cal Lu, I really had no clue what I wanted to do after I graduated. I never really thought about it either, up until my last year, and really my last semester. Over my last year at CLU, I found my passion. Through Dr. Hoang's International Relations class (and American Foreign Policy), I started to learn a lot about North Korea a part of the world that I really had nothing about, besides that they have nuclear weapons.

Last fall I was introduced to the other side of North Korea's nukes—the humanitarian crisis. I think I developed a passion for social justice issues while at CLU. Through all the various events that I attended, I think that I realized that I am very privileged, and really wanted to do something with that to help those who were unable to help themselves.

Over the course of the past year, I have gotten more and more involved with an organization called LiNK (Liberty in North Korea), based out of Torrance, CA that focuses on bringing light to the issue of North Korean refugees to people like me who had no idea. I am currently working for them as a "Nomad," traveling around the US and Canada to spread awareness about this issue. For the past 3 ½ weeks, I have been at LiNK's headquarters in Torrance, working 13-15 hours/day to book screenings of our new documentary called "Hiding," which shows the stories of 5 refugees who we were able to rescue this summer through the underground in China, so it's been pretty crazy. We actually head out on the road on this Thursday, September 23! After my Nomadship ends in December, I'm not entirely sure exactly what I'll be doing. I would love to continue my work with LiNK, or another non-profit that works on this issue.

Jessica Weaver

As a conversational English teacher currently working at Fu Qiang Primary School in Shenzhen, China, I am deeply indebted to the Global Studies department at Cal Lutheran for offering me the opportunities and knowledge to arrive at this point post-graduation. I arrived at CLU with what I liked to believe was an awareness of world events and an interest in foreign cultures, but I still desired to know more about our increasingly interconnected world. Without a clear idea of how to apply this interest, I enrolled in Dr. Hoang's introductory Global Studies course my sophomore year, which offered an insightful overview of globalization, including, but not limited to, its positive and negative attributes. I see this course as the ultimate persuasive mechanism for those flirting with the idea of being a Global Studies major; it fully won me over.

One of the department's attributes, and one of which I am the most fond, is its inherently interdisciplinary nature. Two of the requirements I was subject to in order to graduate were a minimum intermediate-level study of a foreign language as well as a certain number of courses centered on specific geographical areas such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia. These requirements permitted me to take courses in the history, political science, and French departments while earning a degree in yet a different department. I was already interested in taking courses in these disciplines, but had I limited myself to a single one, perhaps I would have narrowed the scope of my studies at Cal Lutheran.

For example, I was allowed to indulge in history classes which focused on areas of personal interest, like the history and politics of South Asia and Latin America as well as the history of war and conflict in 20th century Europe, but which also counted towards the Global Studies major's requirements for cultural studies. Contrarily, the courses comprising the political science component of the degree introduced a more practical application of my major, as field research was a requirement for multiple courses. During my senior year, I found myself in an International Relations course researching the Korean community in Los Angeles, exploring an unfamiliar culture and city, which I found alternately uncomfortable and exhilarating.

Tracing my personal growth solely during this one academic year when I was thrown into field research displays the overwhelmingly positive changes the experience exacted on me; I certainly would not have been comfortable enough to venture to China if it had not been for the department compelling us to investigate the iterations of Asia existing in Koreatown or in various Asian ethnic enclaves in and around the L.A. metro area. For these reasons, I cannot understate the academic possibilities offered within this department and the potential gravity of their effect on future pursuits.

My present occupation is a tangible manifestation of the global interconnectedness that first piqued my interest in becoming a Global Studies major, and seeing certain concepts I learned in the classroom materialize in my daily life abroad is proof of how valid the information taught truly is. As for my future, I may still be unable to pinpoint its precise trajectory, nevertheless I know that my close interactions with the qualified Global Studies faculty and the breadth of subject matter I studied at Cal Lutheran will impress themselves upon it in a distinctly positive way.

Mari Stromsvag

One of the things I learned at Cal Lutheran is that the world has no limit, and that if you want to understand something, you need to see if for yourself! No matter how many books, and how many documentaries you watch – you will never truly understand the world, a country, a city or a culture unless you feel, smell and hear it! So go abroad, join a club, do community service – it's all there for you, and it is the best learning you will ever get. CLU has unlimited destinations for study abroad, and I dare you to choose out of the ordinary! I went to Hong Kong and it was the best decision of my life, as I now have friends from all over the world, as we were 200 international students there for only that semester, from over 30 countries! From Hong Kong you can go all over Asia for cheap, as well as you will realize that eating with chopsticks is like biking – have you learned once, you will never forget how too! But you don't have to go far to experience culture, as CLU has endless clubs and events that are international, and I can personally say that Chinese New Year's and World Fair are some of my favorites with the food, the people and the entertainment!

Cal Lutheran also offers some exceptional classes in Global Studies, and I love their way of making Los Angeles our classroom through field work! The way we were pushed to go out and do things on our own and to talk to people on subjects that are not only interesting to you, but also to the ones we were interacting with, were truly inspirational! Getting first-hand knowledge and personal accounts are the best way to learn as a student, and it really helped you develop as a world citizen. And it helps with grad school applications and future jobs, as you have the experience to work independently, doing research and interviewing, which are all qualifications you will need in any direction you decide to take.

With Global Studies and Political Science as my two majors (which really fit well together) I knew I wanted to continue with politics and international affairs so I decided to take a master in a new country, as my sense of adventurism didn't end in Hong Kong. With my interest in Asia and Norwegian nationality I ended up applying for a double master at Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris in European and International Affairs with a focus on Europe and Asia in comparative politics. I get to encompass what I've previously learned in global studies and political sciences at CLU as well as deepen my knowledge in the politics of the European Union while I'm in Paris for one year, and I'll look at politics from the Asian perspective next year when I'll be one year at Fudan University in Shanghai. In Europe, politics classes are still very theoretical so I'm very grateful I have field work experience from CLU, as well as an understanding of the American thought process as it is good to be able to evaluate and assess what I'm learning from an outside perspective while incorporating what I'm learning here in France. I love what I'm studying right now, and it's because of CLU that I am where I am today, and for that I'm grateful.

Kayla Barnett

My favorite Cal Lu experiences were being a part of a smaller major that allowed for a personal connection with other students and the professors. I also majored in Political Science, so there was a lot of overlap with both professors and classes, which made the overall learning experience a challenge at time, but also a very comprehensive education. I also really enjoyed the chance to study abroad in this major. I studied in Spain for a semester and it was a great experience! I learned so much about another culture, traveling and myself! I would tell everyone to take advantage of this part of the major!

Some of my favorite classes where the ones that took the knowledge that we had gained inside the classroom and tested it in a practical setting. The capstone for International Studies was one of these classes. It was a great way to learn how the theories really do apply to the practical world.

I was very lucky to receive a position with the City of Los Angeles working on their Million Trees LA program following graduation and this gave me a great chance to test out the professional world. I had interned with the program during my time at Cal Lu, which was a great transition into working with the program after graduation. I learned some great skills and also a lot about my future goals at this position.

I am now at the Monterey Institute of International Studies working on a Masters degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. This is a big change from the environmental arena that I was working in, but its something that I first learned about at Cal Lu. When trying to decide on which program I wanted to achieve my masters degree in, I looked back on the classes that I had most enjoyed or found the most interesting during my under grad, and those where the ones that dealt with terrorism and the effects it has on the global population. And so far, three weeks into my first semester, things are going well! I can see the skills and knowledge that I learned at Cal Lu in my International Studies classes coming through in many of the classes I am taking now.

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