alumni

Nicky Fish, 23, of Oak Park, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Indonesia March 14 to begin training as a secondary English education volunteer. Fish will make a difference teaching basic to intermediate English and providing enrichment learning opportunities through extracurricular and non-formal community activities.

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Hunter Sharpless, originally from Dallas, TX, graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012 with a degree in English-Literature. While at the UI, Hunter studied abroad on the USAC program in Turin, Italy, in 2011. Currently, he is a MFA candidate in nonfiction writing as well as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. Read on to learn how Hunter's time abroad enhanced his calling as a writer, as well as how to make the most of your experiences in a new country.

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Mark Norris, originally from Ames, IA, graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with a degree in linguistics. While at the UI, Mark studied abroad in Reykjavik, Iceland, on the University of Iceland exchange program. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma, and resides in the city of Norman. Read on to learn how Mark's study abroad experience benefited his college career and current endeavors.

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Roberto Paniagua, originally from Westchester, IL, graduated from the University of Iowa in 2011 with a dual degree in economics and political science. While at the UI, Roberto studied abroad in not only Lyon, France, but on the India Winterim program as well. Currently, he is a Business and Industrial Markets Account Manager for Google in Chicago, IL. Read on for a Q-and-A with Roberto to learn about how he applies the skills he learned abroad to his life today.

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Drew Soloski graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with a dual degree in Chinese language and literature and psychology. During his time at the UI, Drew studied abroad on the CIEE program in Nanjing and Beijing, China, which he credits as the “foundation of his major” and the reason for discovering his true passion: international business. He is currently an MBA/MA student at the Wharton School and the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Zadok Nampala, international student adviser at North Iowa Area Community College, can relate to those he's helping because he was once in their shoes. Nampala, or "Z," as he is known around campus, grew up in Kenya and attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and the University of Iowa. Nampala, who has been at NIACC since August, speaks seven languages and frequently uses three of them — Spanish, Arabic and Swahili — when speaking to the international students at NIACC so "they feel at home," he said.

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Luis Germán Vargas, originally from Bucaramangaro, Colombia, graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Today he lives in Cali, Colombia where he works as a Projects Engineer for Colgate Palmolive.

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Originally from Hong Kong, Agnes graduated from the University of Iowa International Writing Program in 2008 as an Honorary Fellow in Writing. Since then, she has accomplished a wide range of achievements. She was awarded the Nosside International Poetry Prize (Special Mention) in 2008 and some of her poems have been translated into German, Italian and other languages.

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Harold Van Beek is an alumnus from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. His family is here with him which includes his best friend and wife, Astrid, their son Laurens, who will attend the University of Iowa next year, and two dogs, Kiba and Mocha.

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Dr. Downing A. Thomas is well-known on campus as the Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs. Thomas is also a professor in the Department of French and Italian in CLAS. He received his doctorate in French Literature from New York University, and took a position with the University of Iowa soon after.

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