Global After Graduation Panel Offer International Career Paths

By Amy Schoenfeld, Director, International Student and Scholar Services

Group of people posing for a photo

From left: Amy Schoenfeld, James R. Walters, Domenica Sabella, Julia Lieber, Herizo Ramanantsialonina, Tuomas Hiltunen, and Christina Quartararo

March 14, 2024

St. John’s University’s Office of Global Programs always aims to set students’ sights on the possibilities postgraduation that utilize global learning skills gained in the classroom in New York City or while studying abroad. During International Education Week, November 13–17, the office invited five panelists with experience in international affairs to talk about the skills and education needed and their active careers in the field.

Leading the panel was Tuomas Hiltunen, Executive Director of One To World, an organization that fosters intercultural understanding by creating face-to-face experiences among local communities, international students, and Fulbright scholars.Originally from Finland, his unique path took him from the University of London to Columbia University in New York for his Master of Fine Arts degree. Mr. Hiltunen spoke about how his international education, experience, and connections all contributed to unexpected and rewarding positions around the world.

Panelist Julia V. Lieber, Ph.D., is the Outreach and Recruitment Officer with the Fulbright Scholar Program, Institute of International Education. She studied abroad in Paris, France, and earned a Ph.D. in French from the University of Virginia. Now she is involved with bringing international researchers to the US.  Although life in academia was not for her, her data skills have been indispensable for her work with Fulbright. 

Panelist Herizo Ramanantsialonina, Health Programming and Training Specialist, Peace Corps/Madagascar, shared a day in the life of a Peace Corps specialist and how a two-year volunteer commitment can lead to career possibilities. His undergraduate degrees in English studies and sociolinguistics and master’s in corporate communications laid the foundation for the various positions he has held with the Peace Corps over the past 13 years.

St. John’s alumni and panelists James R. Walters ’04C, ’06GEd, ’09G, ’14Ed.D., Nongovernmental Organization Representative at the United Nations for the Sisters of Charity Federation, and Domenica Sabella ’11G, former Communications Officer, United Nations World Food Programme, brought a special connection to St. John’s audience members. The Sisters of Charity Federation is committed to charity, justice, and human rights for all. While at St. John’s, Dr. Walters served on the faculty and was director of the Catholic Scholars program and Residence Ministry. The author of two books, he emphasized how each one of us can have an impact on world peace. 

In Ms. Sabella’s decade-plus UN career, her work took her to Italy, Kenya, Somalia, and her hometown, New York City. In the Q&A session, she discussed the complexity of coordinating relief programs in war-torn areas such as Gaza and the need for personnel in government and nonprofits to work in these programs.

It was evident from the lively Q&A that the discussion had sparked students’ curiosity. At the close of the event, students gathered around the panelists to hear more about how study abroad and global learning could lead to job opportunities and the ways they could get involved and get hired.