Emily Alcock '17 and Kylie Hanschman '17

Emily Alcock and Kylie Hanchsman student story, feature image

Majors: International Studies and Spanish

How would you describe the international studies faculty?

The professors in the International Studies department are hands-on about learning. They always challenge use to expand our global perspective. Their support in the classroom extends to our non-academic life, too. We work and establish relations with many faculty from different disciplines (due to the interdisciplinary focus of the international studies major). By working with a variety of professors, we can further enhance our liberal arts education.

Why did you choose a liberal arts education?

A liberal arts education provides a variety of classes that complement interconnected worldviews. We benefit a lot from this because of our international studies and Spanish majors. It gives us an opportunity to take classes outside of our majors, too. This interdisciplinary focus is important to both of us. As global citizens, we know that a well-rounded education will allow us to better contribute to society.

What do you like best about the campus life at Luther?

Luther is one big community. Everyone is always looking out for others, regardless of how well they know each other. The campus is full of love and you can feel it everywhere you go.

How do you usually get involved in the Decorah community?

There are lots of ways we get involved in Decorah and the surrounding communities. We both help translate at free medical and legal clinics. These clinics serve the area's local Hispanic population. We also go to Postville twice a week through our on-campus Spanish service club, Hola-Enlaces. We teach English as a second language to the immigrant and refugee population there. These experiences allow us to get to know the local community while expanding our global perspective.

As leaders of Hola-Enlaces, we also work with our Hispanic and Latinx peers at Luther. We started selling "Somos Norse" shirts as a way to show that Luther stands with and supports all students. The profits go towards a new fund within Luther's new Coordinated Campus Response Team on Immigration. This team helps international and domestic students with immigration-related emergencies. We help bring awareness of Hispanic immigration policies to campus. Hola-Enlaces has given us the opportunity to work with a variety of people at Luther and in the local community.

Have you been involved in any internships?

Kylie spent the summer before her junior year working at two nonprofits in downtown Chicago. One was with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the other was with CARE USA. Both organizations worked to raise awareness of issues about women's health and development. These opportunities allowed Kylie to gain valuable work experience. It also expanded her interest in international affairs.

Emily spent the summer before her senior year working with Border Angels, a nonprofit in San Diego, CA. She worked with migrant outreach while also leading educational trips. These trips were to locations that supported migrants in the United States. Her work with Border Angels included providing water in trafficked paths from the United States to Mexico. She also brought food to day-laborers and started a food pantry for a local refugee camp.

Both of us held internships while studying abroad in spring of our junior year. We went to Valparaíso, Chile and worked for separate nonprofit organizations. We both taught English and worked with a variety of local programs while there.

What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

Both of us plan to use our degrees in the nonprofit sector. Kylie has a job with Teach for America where she will be fighting educational inequity at a local public school in the Twin Cities. Emily plans to move to Chicago to work in social services while utilizing her Spanish. We both want to go to graduate school at some point, as well.