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Weissberg Career Workshop on Human Rights

This annual workshop, in conjunction with the fall lecture in human rights, provides Beloit College students with the opportunity to learn about and prepare for working for justice and human rights.  Alumni panelists are willing to help current students make the leap from graduation to work.  Contact the Office of International Education ( to connect with these panelists.

Fall 2013 Panel

Human Rights Forum Panel 2013Kelly Allen’11

Kelly Allen (pictured, far right) studied International Relations with minors in African Studies and Philosophy, and studied abroad in Uganda, where she carried out research on social stigma attached to albino people. After graduation she won a yearlong Fulbright Scholarship to study the socio-political status of persons with albinism in Panama as it pertains to those currently persecuted for albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently researching racial disparities in the juvenile justice system at the W. Haywood Burns Institute in Oakland, California.

Elli Simon’07

Elli Simon (pictured, far left) is a 2007 Beloit College graduate, originally from the Chicago area. During her time at Beloit, she created an interdisciplinary major in Peace and Social Action and was a co-founder of the on-campus Peace and Justice House. She also organized multiple human rights events, including a short play on the Darfur conflict, a talk by anti-apartheid activist Yazir Henri and a performance by singer-activist Holly Near. After graduating, Simon did a year-long internship at a human rights organization in South Africa, and worked for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign upon returning to the U.S. She then moved to Washington, DC, and earned her master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. During that time, she worked as a Research Assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace for the Rule of Law program. Her graduate thesis, entitled Official Apologies to Indigenous Communities: A Comparative Case Study of Australia and Canada, was published in the Spring 2013 issue of the Journal of International Service. She currently works as a job trainer at America Works of Washington, DC.

Rebecca Schaeffer’08

Rebecca Schaeffer (pictured, right center) is an immigration legal practitioner with Church World Service (CWS), in Durham, NC, where she assists refugees in applying for green cards, citizenship, and family reunification benefits.  Before that, Rebecca worked as an Employment Specialist for CWS, helping refugees find jobs and learn about American work culture and customs.  After graduating from Beloit in 2008 with an International Relations major and a self-designed Middle Eastern Studies minor, Rebecca interned with the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in Washington, DC.  Following her internship, Rebecca worked for PRM for two years, first in an administrative support position and then as a Refugee Officer responsible for overseeing U.S. government programs for Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons in Yemen.  During her time at Beloit, Rebecca studied abroad in Amman, Jordan and Rennes, France, and she traveled to India during a gap year before starting college. 

Melany Williams’09

Melany Williams (pictured, left center) graduated from Beloit College in 2009, with double majors in International Relations and Education & Youth Studies. These two fields of study culminated in an academic and career focus on education as a human right. Following her graduation, Melany moved from her hometown of Beloit to South Dakota, where she began her teaching career on Rosebud Indian Reservation, known for its poverty and high suicide rate. While on campus, Melany was an active member of Christian Fellowship. As a teacher on the Reservation she has had the opportunity to live out her faith, while serving to provide access to one of the most basic of human rights, the right to education. In partnership with the South Dakota Department of Education and her local school district, she has also had the opportunity to pursue her interests in curriculum development and culturally relevant pedagogy, helping to improve the educational experience of Native American youth. She is excited to return to campus and to discuss career paths with students interested in education and human rights.


Fall 2012 Panel

Alumni Panel 2012Elsbeth Pollack’09

Elsbeth (pictured lower right) graduated from Beloit College in 2009 with a major in Religious Studies.  She currently works as an educator and program facilitator at BorderLinks, a non-profit dedicated to immigration and border education in Tucson, Arizona.

Corey Barber’07

Corey Barber (pictured lower left) graduated from Beloit College in 2007 with a double-major in International Relations and Modern Languages. She is currently global health advocate, Stop TB Forum and German Foundation for World Population (DSW).

Samir Goswami’98

Samir (pictured upper left) Political Science major and Women Studies minor at Beloit. Until summer 2012, he was the director of corporate responsibility, rule of law at LexisNexis, and he is now continuing his work in corporate responsibility as a consultant in Washington, DC.

Colin O’Neil ('08),

Colin O'Neil (pictured upper right) graduated from Beloit College with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Studies. He is currently regulatory policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety in Washington, DC.


Fall 2011 Panel

Human Rights Career Panel 2011Elena Ilina Nicklasson’06, Development Team Associate, Global Fund for Women (pictured, on the left)

Elena is passionate about international security, disarmament and women's rights. She devotes her time to helping NGOs in Russia and the US address these critical issues, and works the Global Fund for Women.  Elena is always inspired by her free-spirited grandmother's lessons on the importance of women's emancipation. Elena majored in Political Science at Beloit College and also participated in the Duffy Community Partnership Program.  She earned an MA in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2008.

Emily Burns’05 , Community Organizer, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Chicago (pictured, on the right)

Emily graduated with a double major in Sociology and Spanish and a minor in Latin American Studies.  While at Beloit College she studied abroad for two semesters in Ecuador and Central America, which sparked her interest in working with immigrant communities after graduating and moving to Chicago.  Emily began her career as a community organizer with a focus on housing issues including tenants rights, access to affordable housing, and foreclosure prevention, and she led a campaign that resulted in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart imposing a moratorium on evictions of tenants from rental buildings in the foreclosure process.  Emily is currently an organizer at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago where she works to raise awareness and mobilize the Chicagoland Jewish community around immigrant rights issues, and is studying for her Masters in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Robert Harris’08, Project Coordinator, Codman Square Health Center, Dorchester, MA (pictured above, second from right)

Robert Harris graduated with degrees in International Relations and Spanish.  After graduation, he was awarded the Christianson Fellowship for international work experience in Peru. There, he worked for the Peruvian Ministry of Health, Partners In Health and a state-run primary care clinic on multiple communicable disease prevention projects in underserved communities in the northern and central coasts. In 2010, Robert became an AmeriCorps Member, working at Codman Square Health Center, a community health center in Dorchester, MA. Robert is now the coordinator for Codman’s Patient-Centered Medical Home Project, where he works with high-risk, chronically-ill patients to prevent emergency room visits.

Elena Nicklassen in ClassNatalia Wobst '05, Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum Coordinator, Atlantic Council (pictured above, second from left)

Natalia majored in Russian and German, with a minor in Journalism at Beloit College. After graduation, Natalia served as International Programs Coordinator at Language Link in Moscow, Russia, an intern at the Foundation for Russian American Economic Cooperation in Seattle, WA, and Communications Associate at Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. As a graduate student, Natalia took part in American Councils’ Eurasian Regional Language Program in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, studying Uzbek intensively and compiling research for her thesis on “Local Impact on Secondary Educational Reform in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.” She earned her M.A. from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, with a concentration Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies, a major in Political Science and minor in Education, in 2010. Natalia has written for the Seattle Times and the Seattle PostGlobe, an independent news blog. 


Fall 2010  

  • Weissberg Human Rights Alumni Panel 2010Anne Koplinka-Loehr’06 worked in Senegal and is completing a masters degree at the School for International Training.  Anne did a self-design a major in African Studies with a focus on language, anthropology, political science, and education. She studied abroad in both Senegal and Ghana.  Subsequently, Anne has worked in Senegal with various study abroad programs, and is finishing her Masters at the SIT Graduate Institute with a focus on social justice education. This fall she is bringing her experience into the classroom as a middle school social studies teacher in Brattleboro, VT.
  • Megan Sievert’03 is a filmmaker whose film, Heart in Place, captures the balance of peace and survival in Malawi.  Megan grew up around the world, schooled in Zambia, Pakistan, Norway, Venezuela and Hungary.   After graduating from Beloit in 2003 with a major in International Relations, Megan was assigned to a Community Health Program with the Malawi Ministry of Health under a Peace Corps initiative. Three intense and fulfilling years later, Megan was compelled to communicate about the cultures of the world using film. She pursued documentary filmmaking at the New York Film Academy and premiering on TV in 2009, Megan's first short film, "Mtima uli M'malo" (Heart in Place), reflects a slice of life in rural Malawi with respect and awe.
  • Michael Woldemariam’06 is currently pursuing a PhD at Princeton in African politics.  His dissertation, titled “Why Rebels Collide: Factionalism and Fragmentation in African Insurgencies” seeks to explain patterns of fission and cohesion amongst insurgent groups in post-colonial Africa. The project relies on extensive fieldwork in Ethiopia and Mozambique, archival sources, and statistical analyses of original and existing data-sets.
  • Jacky Burger’04 worked for the UN mission in Liberia.  She hails from Johannesburg, South Africa and graduated in 2004 from Beloit College where she majored in International Relations and Political Science and minored in African Studies. Jaclyn's work experience includes serving as a Political Affairs Officer for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), as a Background Investigator/Civics and Human Rights Instructor for the bilateral US-Liberia Security Sector Reform program (SSR), and as a Program Assistant for the NEPAD Secretariat's Governance, Peace and Security Program. Jaclyn has peer reviewed for the International Journal of Transitional Justice and serves as a research analyst and country report-writer for Freedom House's Annual Freedom in the World Report as well as its Survey on Trade Unions and Workers' Rights. She holds a MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution with a specialization in post-conflict peacebuilding from American University. 
  • Phil Mangis'05 worked in Thailand and is currently doing graduate work at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in transformative education.  He majored in Political Science, conducted research on the affects of tourism on archeological sites in Peru as part of the Sophomore Year initiative's Venture Grant Program, and studied abroad in NE Thailand during the fall semester of his junior year.  After graduation, Phil returned to Thailand to work with the Council on International Education and Exchange where he served as the Intern.  Phil is now at UMass Amherst pursing a master's degree in international education.  Phil also serves as a board member for the grassroots network ENGAGE (Educational Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange), a coalition of educators, community organizers and returned study abroad students engaged in social justice work.

Fall 2009

  • Zsolt Bobis, Fall '06 exchange student.  In 2004 he conducted research on what role the gay marriage issue played in the US presidential election. During his term at Beloit College, he volunteered with the local Democratic Party office and with “Fair Wisconsin,” canvassing for the 2006 midterm elections and for LGBT rights in the state.  He also hosted a lecture on the socio-cultural dimensions of the Canadian aboriginal experience for the Canadian Counselor of Political and Public Affairs in Budapest.  Currently, Zsolt is working as an intern at the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation in New York City, within the framework of the prestigious Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund.
  • Molly Firkaly '04.  Molly majored in International Relations with a minor in African Studies. While at Beloit, she participated in the Senegal study abroad program as well as the Washington Semester, Peace and Conflict Resolution Seminar which Sonia Skidmore, Tom McHale, Zsolt Bobis and Molly FirkalySonia Skidmore, Tom McHale, Zsolt Bobis and Molly Firkalyfocused on Northern Ireland.  She earned a master's degree in International Disaster Psychology at the University of Denver in 2007 concentrating on psychosocial interventions for refugee children, and interned in Sarajevo, BiH with SOS Kinderdorf.  Ms. Firkaly enjoyed working with refugee families for 3 years in the Denver area before moving to Burundi where she currently works as a staff counselor with the United Nations Volunteer program. 
  • Tom McHale '07.  Tom has been active in health and human rights program delivery and research since graduating from Beloit. Tom spent a year as a case manager with Catholic Charities of Camden County working with homeless persons and injection drug users living in Camden, New Jersey. He then spent a year living in Kenya as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. In Kenya, he researched health-related human rights violations in commercial sex workers.  He is now studying Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health.  At Beloit, Tom was active in Model United Nations, Beloit College AIDS Network and as a Resident Assistant.  He spent a semester in Kenya with SIT’s ‘Development, Health and Society’ Program and spent a summer in the Republic of Georgia researching out-of-pocket healthcare payments and participating on a epidemiologic study of cardiac dysfunction as a MIRT Fellow through the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine.  He depended his understanding of the intersection of human rights and health through study in Nicaragua, an internship working with refugees and asylum seekers in New York and an internship with the City of Beloit’s Department of Health.  He graduated in 2007 with a BA in Health and Society and a minor in African Studies.
  • Sonia Skidmore '07.  Sonia  graduated from Beloit with a double major in International Relations and Environmental Studies. Through her studies, she drew a strong connection between issues of environmental justice, resource scarcity, and human rights. Since graduation, Sonia has worked as a community organizer on rural environmental issues in Iowa at the non-profit organization Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. This November she will transition away from that work and travel to work on international water scarcity issues with the Institute of Rural Research and Development in a water poor region of northern India. There she will assist in rural development work by helping local people implement low tech water harvesting and aquifer recharge techniques.

Fall 2008 

Weissberg Career Workshop on Human Rights
Panel, from left to right: Judy
Logback '95, Natalie Chwalisz '07,
Linda Collins '04, and Meghan Melloy
'05 .( photo credit: Josh Moore)

Judy Logback '95 - In 1997, shortly after graduating, she founded the Kallari Association in Ecuador. Now, she is pursuing a master’s degree in forestry and business administration at Yale University. After finishing her studies, she will return to work toward conservation in the Amazon, where she will continue creating sustainable economic development alternatives to logging and extractive industries.

Natalie Chawalisz '07 - During her semester studying abroad with the Beloit Senegal program, Natalie, a comparative literature and international relations double-major from Mundelein, Ill., made a documentary with her Senegalese partner, Mbérou Sarr, that focuses on the contemporary problem of unemployment among university graduates in Senegal. She plans to attend graduate school in peace and reconciliation studies

Linda Collins '04 - Linda participated in the first annual International Symposium at Beloit College on a panel discussing the potential for language acquisition and cultural understanding through study abroad. Linda studied in Tanzania, Ecuador and Brazil as a Beloit College student. She has worked with refugees in Ghana and has a United Nations offer for further work with refugees. 

Meghan Melloy '05 - In ther presentation for the 2005 Student Symposium she discussed the role of humanitarian interventions in restoring sovereign power. Using Somalia as an example, this study focuses on the interactions between the international community and a "failed state," considering issues of sovereignty and international intervention.

These workshops are made possible by a generous donation from the Weissberg Foundation as part of the Weissberg Human Rights Program at Beloit College.