Barcelona Alumni Updates

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Updates received Spring 2016

James Hootsmans, 2011 Fall – For his whole life, James has been moving from continent to continent with his family. In my 24 years, he has lived in Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. But it was his IES experience in Barcelona that allowed him to really grow as a person. From taking advanced Spanish classes covering topics in Spanish music history, Spanish culture, and food to attending the various IES extra trips to places such as Morrocco, Mallorca/Las Palmas, and Valencia, James truly was able to diversify his understanding of the vastly different sections of Spain and neighboring countries. The IES program also allowed him to take classes in Mediterranean Oceanography, Sustainable Development and other science/policy based classes that were essential for his research back in the U.S. at Colby College and later Texas A&M University. As James starts his environmental science, geology, hydrogeology and consulting career after recently completing my master’s degree in Hydrogeology/Water Management, he reflects, “I appreciate what my time with IES has brought me. It planted the belief that I could very well go into my current industry in water, it allowed me to make connections I will have for life, and most of all, it gave me a platform where I could learn who I really am, what I really want, and most decisively, what contribution I can have for our world. As we learned in the Morocco exchange in 2011, we need to be challenged, and to challenge. I won’t forget this quote: Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Deanna Howes, Fall 2005 - Deanna graduated from Fordham in 2007 and later earned a Master's degree from Johns Hopkins in 2012. She lives in Washington, D.C. and works as the director of communications for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Her love for Fordham, music and travel continue, as she serves as president of the DC Fordham alumni chapter, sings with her local church, and has since studied abroad in Lithuania for a post-graduate summer certificate course.

Updates received Fall 2015

Christian Seasholtz, 2014 Summer - After his trip to Barcelona Spain in the summer of 2014, Christian has been able to share his experience with his peers and has been able to impress numerous employers with what he has done. Christian’s time abroad complimented his current career goals of working abroad and has opened his mind to the reality of working outside of his own country. Currently, he is completing his undergraduate degree this December and hopes to find a job that will bring him abroad again. Working in a hospital in Spain was one of the best times of his life and he learned how to deal with the stress of patient care using a second language, being completely out of his comfort zone.

Updates received Spring 2015

Steven DelVecchio, 2006 Spring – Steven has been working in international education for the last six years, currently as the Senior Assistant Director for International Admission at Fordham University. In this position, he is responsible for the recruitment and counseling for several international regions for the university's undergraduate programs. Unfortunately, one of these regions is not Europe. However, Steven’s supervisor lets him go to Spain if possible as she understands the love of the country and culture he developed while studying abroad. Steven continues his personal travels as often as he can but it's never as often as he would like! The work travel has, however, allowed him do some personal travel. For instance, he will be touring the Middle East for Fordham in April but will stay in the region an extra two weeks or so to visit Petra, Jordan, and Israel. None of this would have happened without the exposure to other cultures he gained while in Barcelona. Aside from a tour of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side and a cruise excursion in Mexico, Steven’s study abroad was the first time he left the U.S. He did not have a passport before that semester and now that passport is full of stamps and visas and has had to have pages added.

Kevin Donofrio (Barcelona, Spring 2007) – Keven and Margaret Lenz Donofrio (Barcelona, Spring 2007), who met during the IES Abroad Barcelona program, recently got married. At the time, Kevin was attending Penn State and Maggie was attending the University of Illinois. They met on the first day of the program during the introductory bus tour of Barcelona. Their groups of friends hit it off right away and they all spent a lot of time together throughout the semester – and eventually started dating abroad. They were also excited to be in the same Spanish class so they could see each other every day and practice Spanish together. After the program, Kevin and Maggie continued to date long distance as they finished up school. Following graduation, Kevin got a job and moved closer to Maggie. They have since gotten engaged, moved in together, and were just married on March 21, 2015. Kevin says, “It's quite possible we would have never met if it weren't for our study abroad experience together. We certainly look back on our time in Barcelona as a very special event and still tie it into our life back at home. Just this week was Dia de Sant Jordi and we still get each other a rose and a book every year to celebrate. We also had Spanish sangria as our specialty cocktail and ate tapas at our wedding and had Spanish music playing for the dinner hour. IES abroad has a special place in both of our hearts, as does the city of Barcelona where we met - and we will always think of those times as being truly incredible. We haven't been able to make it back there yet, but are planning an anniversary trip to celebrate the 10 year mark of meeting over there and can't wait to return. The story of how and where we met is a special one and we love telling people about it when they ask. We also encourage anyone in school to enroll in a study abroad program because it does have the potential to have a much larger impact on your life than one could imagine. Thanks for a great experience and a life time of memories!!!!”

Updates received Spring 2014

Ashley DeVore, 2013 Spring – Ashley recently graduated from Clemson University, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Economics degree. She will be heading to Duke University in fall 2014 to work on a Masters degree in Economics. Ashley still misses Barcelona and thinks of it all the time!

Jonathan Witt, 2013 Spring – In summer 2014, Jonathan researched fuel cell technology. Then, he will finish his last year of undergraduate studies.

Updates received Fall 2013

Drew Roever, 2004 Fall –  Drew has been a financial analyst for a private wealth management firm in the Houston area for the past six years, ever since his undergraduate studies. He still thinks about his time spent in Barcelona every day, which has spurred his interest in pursuing an MBA. Currently, he is applying to business schools to pursue an MBA full-time in the Fall of 2014, which he hopes will provide him with the leadership background and network opportunities that can position his career on a more international path, and get him back to Spain!

Steven DelVecchio, 2006 Fall – Steven works in international admission at Fordham University, so he has continued his passion for international education first developed at IES Barcelona. He recruits and counsels prospective undergraduate students interested in the university. Steven mostly travels within Latin America and the Indian subcontinent but he makes sure to go back to Spain every year, because it's still truly his favorite country to visit.

Darah Wagner, 2006 Fall – Darah graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Media Arts and minor in Political Science. She came back from Barcelona wanting to combine my love for film & television with my passion for cultures and traveling. I now work in International Television distribution acquiring and selling television from and to all over the world. I haven't been back to Barcelona since studying there, but look forward to the moment I can be back in the most amazing city.

Jim Wall, 2010 Spring – Jim’s experience with IES Abroad was in the spring semester of 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Since finishing his semester abroad, Jim has graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the last two years, Jim has been working in the field of healthcare consulting, which has been a dynamic, challenging, and exciting experience.

Thanks in part to his time with IES Abroad, Jim now speaks fluent Spanish (with a neat accent as Latin American speakers frequently point out), and use it quite often. IES Abroad has also instilled in him a strong passion for learning and travel. He has traveled to 6 different countries since his time with IES Abroad and has many more on his list!

In November of 2013, almost 4 years after his semester with IES Abroad in Barcelona began, he returned with some friends for a 5 day stay. It felt so incredible to return to his 'second home' and be the tour guide for friends who had never been. Not only that, just 15 minutes after checking into our hostel and strolling down Passeig de Gracia, He bumped into an old friend who was a local he met when he was a student! Needless to say his friends were astounded, and so was he. How many people have the privilege of giving a tour in a foreign city, pointing out the best hidden restaurants, telling the history of the place, speaking the language fluently with the locals, and bumping into old friends along the way?

Thank you IES Abroad, for an unforgettable experience that keeps on giving.

Jacqueline Snyder, 2013 Summer –  Since studying abroad in Barcelona, Jacqueline has brushed up enough on her Spanish to fulfill her program's foreign language requirement, and graduate a semester earlier than anticipated.. This semester she is enrolled in Spanish 2002, which satisfies the requirement and with six less hours to complete, she graduates after a year and a half in my program. This May, just under four short months away, she will be graduating from the University of New Orleans with her Master’s in American Literature.


Updates received Spring 2013

Frances Hamker, 2005 Summer – Frances studied business communications at the University of Texas-Austin. While studying abroad she caught the travel bug and has loved the international life ever since. Afterwards, she obtained a Master’s at the University of Texas-Austin in Organizational Communication. Frances joined Accenture Consulting in Houston, Texas and was transferred to the South African office for an international work experience, where she has been for two years.

Inder Dhillon, 2007 Spring – After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2009, Inder pursued a graduate degree in engineering at the University of Michigan. After graduating in 2010, he moved to Chicago to work for A.T. Kearney – a management consulting firm. He was fortunate to travel across the globe and the United States as part of his work, and has recently been accepted to the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to pursue an MBA.

Updates received Winter 2012-13

Lindsay Margolis Mizrahi, 2007 SpringFour years after studying abroad, Lindsay and her now husband, who also studied abroad with IES Abroad in Barcelona, traveled back for their third trip to Barcelona together and got engaged in Parc Guell. Together they continue to celebrate Valentine’s Day, on April 23 for "La Diada De Sant Jordi" and as they do in Catalonia, he will give her a rose and she will give him a book symbolizing "a rose for love and a book forever." 

Updates recieved Spring/Summer 2012

Bradley Miller, 2003 Spring - Bradley married Veronica Soria, Barcelona Spring ’03, in San Jose, CA, on September 18, 2011. Their officiant was Eric Day, Barcelona Spring ’03, and one of the groomsmen was Joseph SkorczewskiBarcelona Spring ’03. They live and work in Minneapolis.