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Diplomacy Alumna Shares Lifelong Interests in Global Issues
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Amanda TeckmanAmanda M. Teckman, earned her master's degree in 2009 from Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She recently published an essay examining the global health and security implications of the Ebola outbreak in East Africa. Amanda's essay appears on Global Policy.

As an advocate for human rights, public health and social change, writing on global issues is one way Amanda is pursuing her career goals.

She began by writing a scholarly piece as an assignment from her mentor, Yanzhong Huang, associate professor at the School of Diplomacy and director of its Center for Global Health Studies.

"I reached out to him one summer and asked if I could help with any of the research he was doing," Amanda explains. Dr. Huang, who edits the online publication Global Health Governance Journal, suggested that she write a review of a book examining healthcare in Russia. "I didn’t know what to expect," Amanda recalls, "but I wanted the experience."

As a result of Dr. Huang's encouragement, Amanda is working on two more journal pieces, including an article on HIV/AIDS in Russia. "I decided to start writing so that I could apply the knowledge I gained through my education and keep up with my scholarly interests," she explains.

Thinking back on her Ebola essay, Amanda recalls, "I began reading news articles about the natural recurrence of the disease in East Africa, and it prompted a lot of questions, mainly about whether or not a bioterrorist threat existed."

With full access to the University library database, Amanda has been able to research a myriad of interesting topics. "I find topics that need further exploration," she notes. "It's important to me to make sure that my topic is relevant and that my research is useful to policymakers."

Breaking Out of the Bubble

An Ohio native, who grew up in a small town with people of similar cultures, backgrounds and political views, as a teenager, Amanda was drawn to learn more about the world. "I felt like I was in a bubble, but what I wanted was the experience of being a global citizen," she said. A trip to Belize in high school inspired her to pursue a degree in international studies in college. Amanda attended the University of Dayton, concentrating on human rights studies. While in college, she held leadership positions in Amnesty International and United Students Against Sweatshops.

Eager for more cultural experiences, she pursued a French immersion program in Canada honing experiential skills by engaging with people of different backgrounds.

"I knew the immersion would be good for my career because I had to live with a family that didn’t speak English," Amanda explained. "It forced me to learn the French language and Canadian culture."

After graduation, she worked for the National Labor Committee, as an advocate on behalf of sweatshop workers in developing countries. A company trip to Honduras brought Amanda face-to-face with the gravity of human rights issues.

"In Honduras, I was involved in a series of interviews. I saw first-hand the expressions of the workers as they shared the reasons why they were working in such horrible conditions and how it affected them and their families," she recalled.

To further her education and to learn more about global issues, Amanda enrolled in the graduate program at Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

She originally planned to pursue human rights, but Catherine Ruby, director of graduate admissions, suggested another academic track. "She told me that I had already learned the fundamentals of human rights and that a more specific topic such as global health, which is encompassed by human rights, would be a better fit. She was right."

In addition to studying global health, Amanda also specialized in Africa. She interned at the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) and of Uganda (UNA-Uganda), and at the World Policy Institute in New York.

"All of the experiences were equally rewarding," said Amanda. From tracking global UN issues and working with high-level UN officials, to traveling to Uganda for two months to work on development issues and assisting researchers and fellows at the World Policy Institute -- internships helped Amanda develop her passion for global issues.

In the future, she hopes to obtain a research position and to publish more scholarly pieces. "You should never stop pursuing what you really want to do," Amanda says. "Writing articles on timely global issues is my pursuit of a fulfilling career."

For more information please contact:
Elizabeth Halpin
(973) 275-2560


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