Pace student Breanna Romaine-Giuliano ’13 has embarked on many adventures since arriving at Pace three years ago. This summer, it was a voyage around Latin America that changed her life.
A Pforzheimer Honors College and Dyson Political Science major with minors in Criminal Justice, Peace and Justice Studies, and Sociology/Anthropology, and member of Pace’s award-winning Model United Nations team, Breanna is no stranger to engaging in global issues and policy. But for the aspiring international human rights lawyer, it was her short-term Semester at Sea voyage which took her around Latin America in 25 days that not only changed her life, but, she hopes, will help her change the lives of others.
“Before the voyage I knew I wanted to be a human rights lawyer but I wasn’t necessarily sure what that meant. Now my eyes are open to all different types of career tracks that need human rights lawyers, or people working to secure these covenants in all countries,” she writes on her ePortfolio blog.
The ship, which served as both a floating campus with classrooms and as a form of transportation to explore coursework and cultures, focused on the United Nations Millennium Development goals and provided Breanna a unique opportunity to see first-hand how Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru, have begun to implement them.
“I read treaties, went to the ministries in these countries, met with diplomats in Peru, got a connection to the UN. You can’t describe how it helped me,” she says. “It gave me a huge understanding of how the west interacts with east, north, and south. It’s everything I wanted to do and more.”
And for those wary about the cost to attend an international program: “Memories over money,” was Breanna’s motto and her motivation. “Don’t let money be an issue. Apply to every scholarship. I didn’t have the money to go, but I wrote a 45-page appeal letter for a scholarship. I spent hours and I got it. If you want something, go get it,” she adds. “And bring your Pace shirt.”
And now, after barely having readjusted to life on land, she’s already looking to continue making a difference overseas. In addition to finishing up her last year at Pace, serving as Executive Vice President for Student Government Association and the editor of the Honors College newsletter, interning at Skadden law firm, chairing the student board of GOAL USA, and running a $10,000 fundraiser, among many other activities, Breanna is preparing her application for a prestigious Fulbright grant ,that offers fully funded opportunities to research, study, and teach around the world.
“I want to go to Kenya and understand the connection between FGM—female genital gender mutation—and colonialism,” she says of the research she began her sophomore year. “I’m a supporter of under developed countries—helping globally. Everyone’s a human and we’re all in this together.”
After that, it’s law school, where she plans to study human rights law. “I need the education—and then I’ll change the world,” she says.