Students for a Better World: The Beyond the Classroom Blog

Stories, Resources, & More from the Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Program at University of Maryland

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American Security Project: An Internship That Matters

Editor’s Note:  Every semester, BTC presents awards to students who have exceeded program expectations.  For the Spring 2013 semester, Kevin Lalama was awarded the Internship Excellence award for his work with the American Security Project, highlighted below.

By Kevin Lalama, BTC Student

As part of my Beyond the Classroom (BTC) experience, and to fulfill my UNIV326 requirement, I am currently interning at the American Security Project (ASP) in Washington, DC. Had it not been for BTC, I would have never applied to a nonprofit organization, I would have never found ASP, and most certainly would never have had the experiences from this semester. My time in UNIV325 last year prepared me for the internship search, interviews, and overall success in the nonprofit sector. Continue reading


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Internship Provides a Real Life Lesson in Engagement and Advocacy

by Andrea Glauber, BTC Student

Since the Fall 2012 semester, I have been working at an internship in the Department of Public Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children. My work focuses mostly on field policy and global development issues, making the experience relevant to my coursework in Beyond the Classroom.

Save the Children’s international policies have recently focused on two topics: 1) Humanitarian assistance in conflict-ridden areas such as Syria, and 2) The international development agenda after the deadline of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). My first task as an intern was to plan a roundtable discussion for 60 members of civil society, featuring a panel of experts on the United Nations’ post-2015 development framework. In July 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons to advise him on the issues that should be prioritized in the future. The discussion emphasized the importance of input from civil society in contributing to the framework, a real-life example of the kind of advocacy and citizen engagement we learn about in Beyond the Classroom. Continue reading

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Documentary Illustrates that a Civic Issue Can Take a “Lifetime” to be Developed…and to End

by Ross Heise and Ken Im, BTC Students

On November 26, BeyoIn my Lifetimend the Classroom’s “Voting as if the Issues Matter” series featured Robert Frye’s documentary film “In My Lifetime.” The film looked at the history of nuclear weapons starting at the early development stages leading up to the dropping of “Little Boy” on Hiroshima in WWII. It was amazing to see that the drop on Hiroshima happened only 21 days after the “Trinity Explosion” which was the very first detonation of a nuclear device.  Soon after Hiroshima, Nagasaki was hit with the second atomic bomb and an estimated 70,000 lives were lost. The film went on to show how after the first uses of the atomic bomb as a weapon by the United States, a new era began that was dominated by fear. Continue reading

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Dr. Jane Goodall: A Lesson in Passion and Perseverance

Dr. Jane Goodall spoke at The Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland earlier this fall.

by Hermela Hailemeskel, BTC Student

“Every single day we live, we make a difference. We impact the world and you have a choice as to what kind of impact we make.”
— Dr. Jane Goodall

I had an amazing opportunity to attend a documentary viewing of “Jane’s Journey” hosted by Beyond the Classroom followed by a televised lecture of Dr. Jane Goodall’s Speech, Making a Difference on October 13. This event was one of my best spent weekends here at the University of Maryland. Continue reading

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Converging Issues: Sustainable Development Challenges and Opportunites in West Africa

Editor’s Note: Beyond the Classroom encourages program participants to identify civic issues that are most important to them.  Through activities, lectures, films, seminars, classes, events, and internships, students learn how they can address those issues through civic engagement, advocacy, and action.  This post is the second in the “Converging Issues” series, which are blogs that examine these issues from student and staff perspectives – including what inspired the authors to get involved in their civic issue and how they were involved or can be involved in that issue through BTC.

The author in the middle of a rice field in Senegal.

by Krista Heiner, BTC Graduate Assistant

As a Fulbright Fellow, I had the opportunity to spend last year researching natural resources management policy in Mali and Senegal, which are two semi-arid countries located in West Africa. My research focused on several communally managed natural resources including  forests,  agricultural land, pasture areas and paths nomadic herders use to move their livestock, and water resources like fishing areas and wetlands. In both Mali and Senegal, a large proportion of the population lives in rural areas and depends heavily on these communal natural resources for their day-to-day survival, which makes their management increasingly important to the region’s sustainable development. Continue reading

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Fulbright Provides Students Opportunities to Study and Teach Abroad

The Fulbright Program allows students to teach and study in many countries throughout the world.

by Krista Heiner, BTC Graduate Assistant

“International educational exchange is the most significant current project designed to continue the process of humanizing mankind to the point, we would hope, that men can learn to live in peace–eventually even to cooperate in constructive activities rather than compete in a mindless contest of mutual destruction….We must try to expand the boundaries of human wisdom, empathy and perception, and there is no way of doing that except through education.” — Senator J. William Fulbright [From remarks on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the Fulbright Program, 1976]

The author in front of La Maison des Esclaves (The House of Slaves), Goree, Senegal.

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill into Congress that allowed surplus war money to be used for “the promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science,” which created the Fulbright Program. Since then more than 318,000 “Fulbrighters” from over 155 countries have participated in the program, which is designed to promote cross-cultural understanding and partnership. There are a wide variety of Fulbright programs that allow undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, and professionals to teach, work, and study abroad in almost every field.

I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Fulbright program last year as a student research grantee, which allowed me to travel to Mali and Senegal for 10 months to study natural resource management policy. Continue reading

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Hispanic Heritage Festival Allows Students to Experience Local Culture

Four BTC students and the new BTC Graduate Assistant, Krista Heiner, (second from the left) at the Hispanic Festival.

by Teresa Millett, BTC Student

College Park was home to the 32nd annual Hispanic Heritage Festival on Sunday, September 16. Each year, Lane Manor Park hosts a Hispanic Festival that celebrates the culture and heritage of Hispanics in Prince George’s County and the DC/Maryland/Virginia area. The half-day long festival attracts up to 15,000 people with live music and performances, ethnic foods, vendors selling hand-made products, games, pony rides, and much, much more. This year I had the opportunity to go and experience the celebration!

There were several different stands representing the University of Maryland at the festival including stands from the Language Programs, Admissions, and the Police Department. Students from the University, both with Hispanic heritage and those without, also came to enjoy the fun. There were several Beyond the Classroom students (including myself!) who got to explore and participate in the festivities. The purpose of the event was to allow students to participate in events in the local community to learn about culture in the surrounding area. Continue reading