Hannah Lawrence '13
Please tell us a about yourself (can be brief) and where you are now today.
I graduated from UNH in May 2013, and am now working in my dream job as the Manager of Institutional Partnerships at Just Vision, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the power and reach of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity and equality for all.
Did you have another major and/or minor at UNH? What impact did studying a language have on your other field/discipline?
I graduated with a dual major in Political Science and Justice Studies, with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Women's Studies. Studying a language enhanced my other disciplines and opened up unique opportunities (in addition to the Middle Eastern Studies minor) to collaborate between my passion for politics, feminism and the Arabic language.
Language instructor/professor who made the biggest impact and why?
From day one, Ruwa Pokorny was the most dedicated language instructor I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. I had transferred to UNH in the middle of a school year, and Professor Pokorny ensured I caught up and was ready to start before the first day of classes even began. She was always encouraging us to use the most of our language experience, promoting different language scholarships and opportunities and helping organize the Arabic Club, where we would watch films in Arabic and learn about Arab culture. Professor Pokorny would use her prep time to help me practice my reading and speaking skills, and helped advocate, develop and direct a 3rd year of Arabic, which was absolutely crucial for us students applying to graduate school and fellowship opportunities.
What is your favorite memory from abroad?
I was very fortunate to have traveled and conducted research abroad in Egypt through an IROP grant. My favorite memories involve being fully immersed in such a beautiful culture and being able to learn from my Egyptian instructors, colleagues and friends about the day-to-day developments occurring as a result of the revolution.
Why language was important to your UNH education? How has your language major/minor benefitted you?
Studying Arabic was the most important aspect of my education at UNH. Through my language study, I obtained a research scholarship (IROP) while at UNH and received a full merit fellowship for graduate school at NYU. I contribute my language study to being the single greatest contributing factor to my success post-grad.
High-impact learning experiences while at UNH (e.g. study abroad, URC or other undergrad independent research --SURF, UROP, IROP, experiential learning, internship, etc.)?
IROP and URC were amazing learning experiences! I'd highly recommend to all students at UNH, regardless of major.
If you could talk to a prospective student, what would you tell them about the value of majoring in a language at UNH?
Today, it is one of the most important skills you can obtain. Whether you believe in the crucial importance of learning about cultures around the world, or are interested in having a competitive edge in the job market after graduation, majoring or minoring in a language is an invaluable thing to do.
What are your goals for the near and distant future?
Continue to hone my Arabic speaking skills during work trips to Palestine and to travel more often (both in the US and around the globe).