By Gabriela Carrascal
After three years as a Harpur College student, Dorothy Manevich says she is unrecognizable from the person she was when she started.
"I came in with no idea of what I wanted to do, other than knowing I didn't like science or math," Manevich says. "I just started taking coursework in languages, and then history and political science, and became really interested in them."
The senior from Nanuet, N.Y., developed an interest in international relations and foreign policy, and has used her time as an undergraduate student to find new opportunities.
Manevich, who triple majors in history, political science and French language and literature, was involved extensively with the ESL English Conversation Pairs in the past. This program matches Binghamton University international students with native English speakers to help them with their English proficiency and becoming accustomed to American culture. After having studied abroad in Montpellier, France, Manevich says she knows how a program like this is helpful.
"I can understand that it's scary," she says, "especially talking to people from that country. It's scary and very intimidating."
She also likes the program because it can link two groups of students who may feel separated.
"It's a really good chance to talk to people who have a completely different perspective from me," Manevich says. "It's a chance to interact with them and see how the experience is for them and to learn more about their countries and cultures. That's a big interest of mine."
Connecting with people from other cultures is a theme that runs through her life. After her sophomore year, Manevich did a summer internship with the United Nations University.
"It was surreal," she says. "Every once in a while, I would be in charge of correspondence with an embassy. So I would be calling the embassy of Malawi and setting up an appointment and thinking 'This is not my real life.'"
More recently, Manevich's love of foreign policy led her to co-found the Binghamton University chapter of Dorm Room Diplomacy. The organization aims to get students engaged in international relations issues by hosting a speaker series, having videoconferences with students in the Middle East, and releasing an international relations journal.
Manevich is now president of the organization and says she likes that Dorm Room Diplomacy fosters a community.
"Building a community of students who are all interested in one particular subject has been really rewarding," Manevich says. "I live and breathe this stuff and it's great to talk to students who have similar interests."
In the future, Manevich would like to work at the Department of State. Though she admits a career in political affairs seems like an ambitious goal, she says her opportunities here at Binghamton University have helped prepare her. Manevich sites supportive faculty members and campus resources as keys to her success.
"Professor Dora Polachek is phenomenal," Manevich says. "Almost every opportunity I've applied for, either she has brought it to my attention or written me a recommendation. That's been one of the most helpful things.
"It's easier to believe in yourself, especially when you have lofty goals, if other people think you can do it."
Last Updated: 12/18/13