Elena Ilina Nicklasson'06
Name: Elena Ilina Nicklasson
Current Employer: Global Fund for Women
Post-Beloit Human Rights Work: United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Center for Safe Energy (Berkley, CA), Global Fund for Women (San Francisco, CA), Fund for Peace Initiatives (Menlo Park, CA).
Beloit studies: political science with goal of working for an international organization addressing international security and human rights.
Key Beloit College experiences: Living and working/studying in a multi-cultural community (began her studies in Russia) and volunteering in the local community through the Duffy Community Partnership.
Concepts she learned at Beloit College that she continues to use today: poverty cycles, personal ecology (being able to remove yourself from a situation while dealing with tough community issues), using a diary for self-reflection – all introduced to her by Carol Wickersham
Best time to engage with human rights: When you are young and idealistic. It opens many professional opportunities and gives diverse perspectives on the world.
Where to start in human rights: the NGO world, as it provides hands-on experience and a wider range of opportunities to apply oneself than in government and academics.
Cautions: "Go there not for glamour, but only if your heart calls for it." Human rights activists and experts do not make a lot of money; NGO work is emotionally rewarding, but economically difficult. Only choose it as a lifelong career after working in the field for at least five years.
Advice for job seekers: Make sure to do an internship and line up references from Beloit professors and on-campus jobs. Take jobs – and jobs - that teach you to pay attention to detail, work independently, and use office equipment. Know how to use a PC or MAC well, to blog and twitter, to use Word Press and other web-design tools. Publish and present at conferences while at Beloit and after. Write well: if you work in an NGO, you will be writing a lot - reports, proposals, reviews, applications for grants and so on.