Dedication and Passion: Alumna Sophia de Berardinis
Born and raised in Rome, Sophia de Berardinis graduated in Spring 2022 with a B.A. in International Affairs and double minors in Economics and Legal Studies. She’s currently living in Lisbon, where she works as Content Reviewer Analyst at Accenture.
How’s life after graduation?
I’m really enjoying my life as a young worker, yet it would be a lie to say that I don’t miss JCU and university life. Many students like me probably don’t realize until after they graduate how valuable and rewarding college is.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up seeing JCU students walking around the streets of the Trastevere neighborhood, thinking that maybe one day I too could become part of that international community. Coming from an Italian high school, I was looking for an international environment where cultural and linguistic exchange enriches daily conversations. JCU was the perfect fit. The dynamism of the American educational system at walking distance from home!
In Spring 2022, you received an Academic Excellence Award in International Affairs. What classes and/or professors impacted you the most and why?
I am one of those lucky people who have found what they love to study and who do it with dedication and passion. However, if it weren’t for some professors, I probably wouldn’t be as passionate about international affairs as I am today. I’d like to mention Professor Michael Driessen, who followed me in drafting my Senior Thesis; Professor Pamela Harris, who instilled in me a passion for the law; Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro, for whom I was a research assistant and whom I got to know outside class; and the Chair of the Political Science and International Affairs Department, Professor Seth Jaffe, with whom I took the Political Theory course, one of the most fascinating in my academic career. All of them, and many others I cannot mention here, spurred me to deepen my knowledge of the topics and improve the quality of my work. They have always been available to meet, discuss, and exchange views. I believe that with this kind of daily stimulation, learning is easier and more fun.
Why did you choose to study International Affairs and add a double minor in Economics and Legal Studies?
I am an intellectually curious person, and a degree in International Affairs has allowed me to explore the dynamics that govern the world around us through a multifocal lens. Facilitated by the already interdisciplinary approach of the course, I decided to explore the economic and legal nuances related to international affairs more in-depth. Thanks to the double minor in Economics and Legal Studies, I met students from other majors who were very well-trained in these subjects, and this made my learning experience more stimulating and enriching.
Tell us about your research assistantship with Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro.
It was an incredibly fun and instructive experience. As an International Affairs major, I was used to researching and writing many papers, but this assistantship took research to another level. It made me realize how difficult and non-linear a research journey is, and how important it is to conduct rigorous methodological research and collect data in an analytical way. The assistantship focused on analyzing how grassroots social movements operate in Italy in the grey area between legality and illegality, and who the actors who hinder or facilitate the success of these movements are. Together with other research assistants, we drafted a bibliography and studied research methods and data-collecting strategies applicable and useful for the project. I really enjoyed working with Professor Marinaro and the research group, as I was able to learn outside the classical academic schemes, see with my own eyes how a professional works, and have fun while working!
You’re currently working as Content Reviewer Analyst at Accenture. What are your main tasks/responsibilities?
I am currently working in Lisbon on a project for a major social media client. My work consists of ensuring platform security for all users, and balancing ethical and legal concerns with freedom of expression. This is done by reviewing user-generated content, classifying it based on the social media policy, and discussing my decisions with the Client Policy Team in order to improve the policy itself. There are 11 people working with me on the Italian market team and we share our workplace with other teams working for other markets, so it is a very dynamic and multicultural office.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to further pursue my studies, so now I am working on various applications for master’s degree programs in Europe. After Lisbon, I would like to travel a bit more and discover a new country. At the moment, I am very fascinated by Latin American countries, and if my Portuguese improves, I would like to go to Brazil and do some volunteering.