Rachel Markowitz BA’08
Overland Park, KS
Program Manager at AMIDEAST
UT Dallas Degree: BA – Political Science, 2008
UT Dallas Achievements
I was a Eugene McDermott Scholar and a National Merit Scholar. The McDermott Scholars Program in particular enabled me to be fully absorbed in my studies at the UTD community. It also got me connected to the greater Dallas area.
I work in international education at a nonprofit focused on the Middle East and North Africa. We serve students all over the region and also facilitate exchange programs to/from the US. I am the Program Manager for a high school exchange program funded by the US Department of State, called the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, as well as for global alumni development at AMIDEAST. I love having a job that so directly impacts the wellbeing of young people in the MENA region and communities around the US. Helping solve problems, come up with new ways to be efficient, create dynamic alumni opportunities, and highlighting our amazing beneficiaries online are just a few of the reasons I love my job.
How do you use your EPPS education in your current profession?
My job requires frequent cross-cultural communication, strategic thinking, and analytical skills. EPPS helped me get started with those skills many years ago, and taught me to be a clear, confident communicator in writing and in person. Having the opportunity to study abroad as an EPPS student also launched my career in the MENA region specifically.
What value has your EPPS education brought to your life and/or your work?
I have a lot of fond memories from UTD in general and EPPS specifically, but I think the part that sticks with me the most is the attention I received from brilliant professors and mentors. The teaching and administrative staff took so many extra measures to make sure I was able to get the most out of my education, including forging one-on-one relationships that continue to impact me today.
Honors/accolades, additional degrees received, and/or previous work/positions held
I received a Fulbright Student Grant in 2008 which led me to move to Morocco, where I stayed for nearly five years. After that, I won a full ride scholarship to study at the LBJ School of Public Policy at UT Austin, where I earned an MA in Global Policy Studies in 2015. In my current job, I have twice won an exclusive annual internal award for a “consistently friendly and collaborative attitude” as well as an annual performance award that is only given to one person at our office each year.
The Value of My Degree
My degree from UTD launched my career by helping me secure a Fulbright grant so I could move to Morocco. Studying political science in particular gave me the tools to engage in development work and policy analysis.
My EPPS Success
The dedicated professors, especially Dr. Champagne, Dr. Dow, Dr. Harpham and Dr. Chevrier contributed to my success.
Advice for EPPS Students
Travel!! We are all experiential learners to some degree, and getting out into a new place to see things for yourself is an invaluable way to increase your understanding of the world, see things in both big picture and in small details, and grow your own sense of self-efficacy. Plus it’s SO FUN!