Buenas! I’m Elizabeth Tiffany, a senior double majoring in Estudios Hispánicos (Spanish) and a Multi-field major titled Human Ecology that draws from the departments of Environmental Studies and Anthropology. I’m also a Caribbean and Latin American Studies minor! I love learning languages; I speak Spanish and I’m excited to continue learning French and Brazilian Portuguese. I’m from Chenango Forks, near Binghamton, NY. I choose SLU for the study abroad opportunities and the international programming and academic options.
St. Lawrence has allowed me to do many things in my four short years as a student. My leadership experiences just in the last six months have involved being an Orientation Leader, International House Coordinator, CIIS Peer Advisor, Career Services helper, a Research Assistant for Shelley McConnell, and a lab assistant for the new Nature Up North program. Additionally, I am part of planning committees for the Baccalaureate service, the Caribbean and Latin American Studies department and the Gospel Workshop. Also, in my Model Organization of American States course I am the Public Information Office which involves managing all aspects of the team preparation and our trip to DC. St. Lawrence allows me to have all of these diverse experiences because we are a small school with many opportunities which leads to each individual performing multiple roles. This just emphasizes the goal of a liberal arts institution to shape us into flexible and interdisciplinary leaders.
For the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters I lived with my host family in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. My number one goal was to become as fluent as possible in Spanish and I had always heard that studying abroad for a year was the best way to do that; a semester just wasn’t going to cut it. I chose Costa Rica because I was more interested in expanding my knowledge about the Caribbean and Latin America and I wanted to take my courses with Costa Ricans in a typical classroom setting to further my language immersion. Costa Rica is the perfect place to travel on the weekends and I was fortunate enough to receive a CIIS travel research grant that I used to travel throughout the country during my second semester, interviewing and surveying tourists and locals about their perceptions of tourism and the environment.
In my life after SLU, my experience planning and organizing events as well as managing groups of my peers in order to carry out group work and team planning will translate easily to a future career in human resources and communications and therefore a much wider community. I am traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland in September 2013 to enroll as a graduate student in the University of Edinburgh for the Environmental Sustainability MSc program. In my future career I hope to be involved in modifying human systems to make ourselves more environmentally sustainable and efficient. International affairs interest me, so I’ve considered working for the State Department through the Foreign Service in a capacity that I can continue working with people and organizing events beyond the typical duties as a Foreign Service Officer. My SLU experience has enhanced my international communication skill through working with international students and International House, and many different academic departments. I’ve been prepared to work with groups with diverse interests and cultural backgrounds and could easily transition to managing human relations. I’m very good at multi-tasking and monitoring the completion of tasks. My leadership experiences at St. Lawrence have been many and diverse and I see how they have prepared me with skills that translate directly to my future community and social life as well as my future professional career.
Over all, I envision my St. Lawrence experience as a growing tree. My core world view and values are slowly modified by my academic career: in which I study Spanish, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, Psychology, and Global Studies among other subjects. There is a clear continuity between departments due to the at times unseen interconnectedness of our world. Many of my ringed layers are composed of the interconnected communities I am part of on campus. I am the founder and former president of Baila (a Latin dancing club) and my roles in other student organizations like La Sociedad Hispana allow me to work closely with a variety of people and practice group work and event planning outside of academics. The bark of my growing tree includes the many departments on campus that I have worked closely with as a volunteer and employee including Student Activities and Leadership, International Student Services, Career Services, the Caribbean and Latin American Studies committee, the Baccalaureate planning committee, the CIIS Office, and the Nature Up North Program. I flow from group to group, picking up on the universal truths of team work and gathering experiential knowledge that will forever be part of my rings.