Hello! My name is Jeanette and I’m the new Americorps VISTA Social Media Coordinator here at Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. I’ll be in handling all aspects of social media, including HRI’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts; blog posts; website; and other online accounts. Now, a little about me…
I was born in Arkansas, but got to Texas as fast as I could and was raised here in the Dallas-area, specifically, Richardson. I have a BA in journalism and women’s studies from Southern Methodist University (Go Mustangs!). I’ve always been passionate about human rights, but taking Dr. Rick Halperin’s human rights course, forever changed my life. I knew then I wanted to be involved with helping guarantee and protect the rights of people the world over. After graduating in 2007, I freelanced with The Dallas Morning News, writing articles on local and international affairs.
In 2008, I studied for my Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in teaching English to speakers of others languages) and went to Pakistan to teach English at an orphanage to children with learning and behavior difficulties and primary school teachers. I’m sure you’re wondering – why on Earth would she go to Pakistan of all places? Well, I’m mixed – my father is from Pakistan and my mother is from the U.S. Growing up, I’ve always volunteered at organizations in Dallas, such as Genesis Women’s Shelter and the Center for Survivors of Torture and felt it was time to give back to my other-side. At the same time I started blogging about life in Pakistan for The Huffington Post, focusing on the everyday, such as the electricity going out every few hours, relationships, and a bomb explosion near my house. After a few months, my family felt the country was becoming too unsafe for me and sent me back to the U.S.
For the next year, I focused on taking the GRE and worked as a communications manager for a Dallas-area private school. All the while my passion for both human rights and South Asia still burned bright. I applied to and got in a graduate program at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where I focused on South Asian Area Studies. At SOAS, my degree focused on the culture, politics, and language of South Asia with an emphasis on Pakistan. In the UK the graduate programs are only for a year. I loved living in London and at SOAS I met so many people from all over the world; it was basically a mini United Nations! My dissertation (equivalent to a U.S. master’s thesis) focused on the identity formation of Pakistani young women and orphans through kinship, education, employment and poverty.
I enjoy reading, traveling, nature, museums, music, theatre, and exploring other cultures. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any comments or questions about HRI! I look forward to connecting with you through social media!