Tiffany Ornelas Tool BA’06, MPA’08
Gain practical experience through internships, fellowships, join organizations and travel.
Home: Erbil, Iraq (home base – San Francisco, California)
UT Dallas Degree: BA – Political Science, 2006 and Master of Public Affairs, 2008
Profession: Associate Reporting Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
UT Dallas Achievements
I received one from the League of United Latin American Citizens and another from Sigma Lambda Alpha. These scholarships demonstrated to me that organizations cared about my education.
My role focuses on external relations in addition to internal streamlining of information and coordination within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Honors/accolades, additional degrees received, and/or previous work/positions held
Since UT Dallas, I have: worked with Peace Brigades International – Indonesia, received a certification as a Consultant in Peace and Conflict at the Akademie für Konflikttransformation – Germany, worked with Nonviolent Peaceforce – South Sudan, worked as a Trainer/Field Officer in Gaza and South Korea with Peaceworkers, worked as a Communications and Marketing Assistant with The San Francisco Foundation and I am currently working as an Associate Reporting Officer with UNHCR in Iraq.
The Value of My Degree
Courses I took, especially those with Dr. Jennifer Holmes, allowed me to see the complexity of cultures and the sensitivity needed when working in other countries. The nonprofit courses I took were also valuable, especially when it came to writing proposals and cooperating with donors i.e. government officials.
Especially helpful, was gaining practical experience through community service and participating in several organizations/groups at UTD, positions held: President, Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority Inc.; Student Government Graduate Seat; Graduate and International Student Council Seat; Mentor, Llaves del Exito; Treasurer, League of United Latin American Citizens; Mentor, Success Through Academic Support and Resource and member of the UTD Chess Club.
Advice for EPPS Students
My time abroad has opened my eyes in many ways. As a humanitarian, I highly recommend studying other languages; many organizations require fluency in more than one language. I also suggest for you to learn how governments interact — locally, nationally, and internationally, during the course of your studies. Gain practical experience through internships, fellowships, join organizations and travel.