From Puglia to the UN Agencies in Rome: Meet JCU Alumna Francesca Leone

Francesca Leone

Francesca Leone

My name is Francesca Leone, and in May 2014 I graduated from JCU with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Creative Writing. I come from Taranto, a small town in Puglia, in the south of Italy, that I had never left for more than a few weeks before coming to JCU. It was a huge leap of faith, but one that I am very happy to have taken: in fact, I am now interning for the United Nation’s World Food Programme. At WFP, I conduct analysis and prepare reports for WFP’s fundraising efforts. I also do research on donor background and trends to prepare for international and regional meetings, as well as assist in the preparation of official WFP documents, particularly correspondence and briefing material.

My classes at JCU gave me the academic background and preparation that I needed for my current position. Researching and writing about the political ramifications of a particular event in the context of humanitarian aid or development was especially useful for what I do today. In particular, my course on
Social Science Research Methods with Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro taught me the importance of methodology, a fundamental skill in writing my B.A. thesis. Professors Carlos Dews and George Minot, from the English Department, encouraged and pushed me to be fearless in my creative, and most personal work.

Studying at JCU was also important in terms of creating and then sticking to a schedule, as I learned how to work independently and respect deadlines, two things that are extremely useful in a busy, high-pressure office environment.

But JCU is also about extra-curricular life. I joined the Ipazia Club, which focuses on gender equality, and I served as Secretary. My fellow club members and I organized several events on campus and explored our shared passion for human rights, which of course is still very much a part of my work.

JCU is an incredibly multicultural and diverse place. This has proven strategic in what I am doing now, since I often liaise with people coming from all over the world and I need to be able to communicate with them in the best way possible. To make the most of the JCU’s international dimension, I spent a semester studying at the University of Massachusetts in Boston through JCU’s Direct Exchange program. Thanks to this program, I paid JCU’s tuition and not the much more expensive one of U Mass. In Boston I took classes in politics, literature, and classical studies. In particular, Women, Policy, and Politics was so eye-opening that it became the inspiration for my thesis. My time in Boston was entirely positive: I had the chance to immerse myself in American culture; I traveled, made international friends, and overall had an excellent academic experience.

In conclusion, my time at JCU, the people I met, the classes I took, all shaped me into the person I am now.

Learn more about studying in an American University in Rome!