ASU alumna intends to spend lifetime connecting people, countries

By

Rachel Bunning

Arizona State University alumna Tiffany Schwartz believes countries should become more interconnected with each other rather than isolated. Creating a career path toward this goal has kept her open-minded, determined and moving forward.

From a young age, Schwartz moved around the country living in places such as Tacoma, Washington, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, made her fall in love with the Southwest and she made her way to ASU on a scholarship to begin studying psychology with the full support of her family.

She joined the psychology program with the hope of pursuing a career in criminal psychology and added a global studies minor shortly after. After a few years in the program, assisting in research, teaching and advising, her path began to change after her first global studies course.

“I fell in love with studying the world and its people,” Schwartz said. “The connections between the world’s past, present and future became extremely apparent. I switched to a history major, ramped up my global studies minor and took a barrage of history, philosophy, world studies and politics courses.”

Schwartz graduated in spring 2019 with her bachelor’s degree in history from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and minor in global studies from the School of Politics and Global Studies. She says she never once doubted her decisions in her education because they were driving her toward a challenging and rewarding career path. 

“I am extremely thankful for the support I have received from countless educators and advisers at Arizona State University,” Schwartz said. “My years spent at ASU significantly shaped the woman I am today, and I am incredibly proud of that woman.”

After spending a summer traveling, she jumped into graduate school at American University in Washington, D.C., the following fall semester to pursue a master’s degree in international and intercultural communication with a focus in international peace and conflict resolution. In studying international relations, she hopes to promote progressive, productive dialogue between groups and to build bridges between borders.

“This program, structured specifically for me in partnership with the university, allows me to take an array of classes and clinics, which are flexible to my educational and career endeavors,” Schwartz said. “My past and present coursework includes in-depth instruction on the many pieces of domestic and international affairs: politics, diplomacy, conflict studies, economics, human rights, mediation, international law, development and global institutions.”

During the first semester of pursuing her master’s degree, she was nominated and accepted as a visiting graduate scholar to Sciences Po in Paris, a famed political institute and one of the highest rated international relations schools in the world.

“I moved from D.C. to France in January and fell even more in love with the world,” Scharwtz said. “Additionally, I was able to secure research arrangements in North Africa and Europe just before leaving for France. These endeavors were unfortunately cut short due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Although her recent travels were cut short, it was not the first time Schwartz traveled for her education. She studied abroad in Finland while at ASU and focused on education research while she was there. 

“My background in the humanities and social sciences allowed me to enter the international sphere with a comprehensive knowledge of a number of regions and cultures as well as a solid theoretical basis in the many facets of international studies,” Schwartz said. “This experience showed me how much I love and value education, and one could argue that my experiences in Finland have been a significant influence in my endeavor for a Fulbright grant.”

Schwartz has been in the process of applying to the Fulbright program since returning from France. With the support from her school, she feels confident she has chosen the correct country to study in next, South Africa.

“I am super interested in South Africa’s rich and diverse history as well the complexities of post-apartheid society which have resulted in the 'most unequal society in the world' label via the World Bank,” Schwartz said. “I believe the exchange of culture, politics and education between Americans and South Africans can be incredibly beneficial in helping both sides create peace within their borders.”

She says if she were to be accepted into the program she will assist in facilitating university education while also creating programming with and for high school and university students.

“It is my goal to engage students in writing, reading and community engagement activities which strengthen their knowledge and interest in domestic and international issues while simultaneously improving their academic and life skills,” Schwartz said. “I believe strongly in promoting global awareness/engagement while also emphasizing the immeasurable value of education to individuals and to society as a whole.”

Her goals don’t stop there. Once she completes her master’s degree and her potential Fulbright, she wants to join the Peace Corps in sub-Saharan Africa and/or pursue a PhD in international education or regional studies. After completing those endeavors, she hopes to eventually return to the U.S. to work with universities or IGOs/NGOs as an international program adviser and youth mentor.

“Generally, I have considered myself to be extremely flexible in my career and plan to take every possible opportunity to explore our planet,” Schwartz said. “I know that so long as I am able to constantly learn from and work with people from all over the world, I will be content.”