Veronica Ruiz-Krause

Miami's First Graduating GIC Co-major, Has Plans for a Career of Military and Civil Service

photo of Veronica Ruiz-KrauseInterview conducted by Fifi Oginni, CAS communications intern

Veronica Ruiz-Krause, a senior Media and Culture (MAC) major and Global & Intercultural Studies (GIC) co-major, will be the first graduating GIC co-major at Miami University. As a member of ROTC, Veronica has found that her academic path will be extremely beneficial to her future career. We had the special opportunity to sit down with Veronica and ask her a few questions about her academic first.

How Did You Get Started with the GIC Co-major?

"It was my first semester of my senior year, and I had an international studies class with assistant professor of global and intercultural studies Jennifer Cohen. I remember it was my first day, and she was talking about South Africa and how she had done some studying there, and I had actually just gotten back from studying abroad in South Africa as well.

"I just automatically felt a connection with her, and I loved going to the class every day. It made me realize that GIC was what I want to study to supplement my MAC major. The two work very well together because they both have a major focus on culture and how important culture is. In MAC I learned about media processes and institutions as well as how media affects global culture and society. The GIC co-major incorporates both humanities and social science but also focuses on questions related to belonging and culture along with economic and political trends. GIC and MAC share the core purpose of studying culture and how it affects individuals on a micro-level and the world on a macro-level."

Veronica Ruiz-Krause makes a connection while studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

How Did Study Abroad in South Africa Enhance Your GIC Experience?

"I saw a program called LeadAbroad, which attracted me because in ROTC, one of the biggest factors is leadership. So, I was thinking about what I can do and where I can go that's also going to benefit me — not just by traveling experience but also with leadership.

"My study abroad trip focused on leadership aspects as well as hands-on service. We spent time connecting with the community of Sir Lowry's Pass by providing after-school programs for the young students including sports, arts and crafts, music, and dance. I was also paired with a host family to teach me more about life in the township from a first-hand perspective. Our service focused on spending time and experiences with the families of Sir Lowry's Pass.

"I chose to go to South Africa with LeadAbroad because I just think it's such a unique place that not a lot of people go out of their way to visit. I took a lot of classes during the trip on leadership and global perspectives, so those experiences also really pushed me to my GIC co-major. I loved what I was studying in South Africa and wanted to do more of that back at Miami."

What's the Most Difficult Part about the GIC Co-major and Your Prospective Field?

"It's kind of scary. I often think, what can I do to help people? At the same time, I have to make sure that I'm not harming anyone, because some of the humanitarian efforts that we have talked about in my GIC classes have been aimed at helping people, but sometimes they have gone wrong and ended up hurting them instead. So it's definitely difficult to try to find something that is going to be completely beneficial.

"I met with associate professor of global and intercultural studies Ann Fuehrer the first semester of my senior year, and she has done such an amazing job advising me throughout the GIC co-major process. There were a lot of times where I was nervous and didn't know what classes to take. Ann directed me in the right way by helping me take the courses that really benefit me the most. With GIC, there are 7 concentrations and picking them up was kind of difficult, but she helped me realize what I wanted to study. With GIC and MAC I was able to pick concentration courses that I thought worked really well with both majors. Some of the concentration courses I chose were ITS 365 - Law, Violence & Humanitarian Intervention and MAC 446 - Media Globalization."

What Are Your Career Ambitions after You Graduate?

Veronica Ruiz-Krause wore this stole to represent her Mexican heritage.

"After graduation, I'll have 6 months of training within the Army for my Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). After that, I will pick up a job on the civilian side and continue working in the National Guard.

"The GIC co-major incorporates both humanities and social sciences, so I'm trying to figure out what kind of career will help me use these. Before I added GIC, I had always been interested in advertising and public relations, but now I'm trying to see what's out there and what I can do that relates to GIC because it's so important to me.

"The National Guard is helpful because it's very humanitarian-based. A lot of natural disasters occur in the US, and we are the ones deployed to those places. For example, take the hurricanes that happened in Florida last year. My unit was getting ready to deploy, and although we ended up not going, the humanitarian-based work has demonstrated why GIC is important to me. It really goes well with my work for the National Guard."

What's Your Advice for Students Who Are Considering the GIC Co-major?

"A lot of the classes can be really difficult. It's not just the workload, but also many of the topics that I mentioned  that are just hard to talk about: genocide, war crimes, and those kinds of of things. It's not an easy thing to take on, but it's something that I'm passionate for learning about: how can we help people, what can we do, what are we doing wrong in the world, and how can we improve it?

"The GIC co-major, for me, was definitely focused on thinking about the wrongs in the world. Specifically, in Jennifer Cohen's classes, we talked about how we can improve things and if we even can. There's no simple answer to fix a lot of the problems in the world, so it's important to take the time to think about these things and not let yourself be closed off in your own bubble.

"I loved GIC because it forced me to examine topics that I would previously tend to ignore. Sometimes it is easier to pretend like terrible things are not happening around the world when we are not seeing it first-hand. However, just because atrocities do not directly affect us it does not mean we should just pretend it isn't happening. GIC was extremely eye-opening, and it really inspired me to want to find a career in which I can directly interact and impact the lives of others."

[November 2018]