JMC alumni brings international alumni together

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carrie circosta pic

Danie Minor

Carrie Circosta, associate director of the Alumni Association’s Alumni Relations for International Programs, traveled to five countries in two weeks for two purposes: meeting the international alumni and recruiting new students from different countries.

Circosta traveled to Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. She spent two to four days in each country.

Although she only spent a short amount of time in the five countries, each had a different impact on her.

Kent State, along with other universities such as Purdue University and Bowling Green State University, were a part of this two-week trip to recruit international students.

Marcello Fantoni, associate provost of the Global Education department, chose Circosta to go on the trip after deciding she would make a good fit for the development of alumni relations.

“We went to different high schools, we had fairs that were set up for us and in Kuwait and Bahrain, the U.S. ambassador for those countries actually did a ribbon cutting,” Circosta said. “I got to meet ambassadors for the first time, which was really cool.”

In addition to recruiting new students to attend Kent State, Circosta made it a priority to have a social in each country with alumni who live in those countries.

“What I do is not only try and find our international alumni and re-engage them, I also at the same time educate our current students,” Circosta said. “So, from here on out, an international student should not graduate without at least having some concept of what it means to be an alumni and the expectation of being involved after they graduate.”  

Being involved with your alma mater during post-grad life is an American tradition, Circosta said.

In addition to working for the Alumni Association, Circosta is also the faculty advisor for the student organization, International Mentors, and is currently helping start a new student organization, the Kent State International Women’s Group.

“I advise these different organizations because it is a really great way for me to connect to international students (to) make sure that they have an enjoyable experience while they are here,” Circosta said. “The more you enjoy your time here and you feel a part of the community, then you’re going to be more involved as an alumni.”

The main goal of Circosta’s trip to these five middle eastern countries was to meet with alumni in each one. Not only did she get to have various alumni in each country meet each other during the socials that were held, but she was able to see students she had previously met while studying at Kent State.

At the social in Jordan, an alumni who had graduated from Kent State in 1971, was asked how he found out about the university without the use of an Internet. He said a friend had told him it was a great school, so he was brave and just picked up and came to Ohio, Circosta said.

“From all of this, the goal, meeting with these alumni, (was) to see who was there (and) who still (had) fond memories of Kent State and how we (can) keep them engaged,” Circosta said.

Circosta hopes that future students from various countries who want to attend Kent State will meet with international alumni to get a better idea of the experience.

Unlike most students, unless international students have enough money to take a trip halfway around the world, the first time they step foot on campus is when they arrive for the semester.

Circosta was raised in Ohio and then went on to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2007 and her master’s degree of Higher Education Administration in 2010, both through Kent State.

Prior to being accepted into and attending the university, Circosta was fortunate enough to be able to visit the main campus.

“These international students… they don’t have that experience. They can see everything online, but it is really hard to see if this school is the right fit for them,” she said. “That is why the alumni can step in and not only help with recruitment, but put these students at ease.”  

Moving forward, Circosta hopes to set up more international alumni groups. Currently, there is already one set up in Shanghai, China. 

There are currently 895 students from India attending Kent State. In January 2016, Circosta intends to make her way to India and later to China, Japan and Turkey.

Danie Minor is the alumni reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]