By Fatima Tauqir
After working with enthusiasm and dedication for the last three years as Student Affairs and Marketing Officer, at NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, in Islamabad, Pakistan, I was highly motivated and engrossed in learning more about the world and convinced of the importance of global perspective. My Director General Dr. Arshad and I contacted a colleague at UNC Charlotte to arrange for a professional internship dedicated to examining and understanding student affairs and higher education in the United States.
On my home campus in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, I am responsible for the management of the student affairs office and activities; developing, coordinating and distributing marketing materials reflecting School and University interest and services; overseeing large events for students including annual Open House, Alumni Homecoming, Convocations, and International Culture Day. I also manage the Alumni Office of the school. As an alumnus of the school’s program (I graduated in 2006 with a degree in Information Technology), I bring specific understanding of the school’s academic offerings and the individual student experience.
Warmly welcomed by the UNC Charlotte community, I immediately took advantage of all the opportunities and within a month had visited with a staggering number of campus departments and units including: Student Union, Student Activities Group, Career Office, Counseling Center, Graduate School, Human Resource Office, Housing and Residency, Continuing Education, Development and Alumni Office, International Office of Students and Scholars Office and Dean of Student Affairs. My meetings provided a platform from which I built relationships and strengthened my understandings of policies, system and rules. Through this experience and interaction I have learned a lot. It has enhanced my ability to think and helped me in diverse perception of things.
Apart from scheduling myself with all these departments with my supervisor Marcia Kiessling every week, I have also been keenly engaged on the UNC Charlotte campus I led a discussion during Graduate Education Week in March and presented about NUST and Pakistan to the campus community in April 16. I took professional development courses at UNC Continuing Education. Lastly as part of my internship experience I worked with UNC Charlotte’s Intercultural Outreach to help connect with a group of MBA students from India.
I attended an array of on seminars, workshops and various other campus activities that are being arranged for the students, faculty and staff. I find people working in a collegial and organized manner. During my interactions I have tried to study and observe how these good quality methods and procedures practiced at UNC Charlotte can be incorporated in my parent university, back home.
I enjoyed the life in the USA, including traveling, shopping and cooking. I have a passion for cooking and trying dishes from around the world and loved seeing the behind-the-scenes-work of the Chartwells culinary team at UNC Charlotte. In my last two weeks in the USA I traveled from lush beautiful greenery of Charlotte to the amazing Golden Gate Bridge of San François to Malibu on the Pacific Ocean, and then to Manhattan in New York, experiencing different yet amazingly diverse cultures in three states of the USA.
My camera was always at-the-ready from my first ever experience with snow and then twice again, to the beautiful colorful spring and in the end to the blazing hot summer, giving me the best six months of my life.
I was recognized at 5th Annual International Women’s Day. I made extremely wonderful and talented mentors and friends and had an experience which I never thought was meant to happen. At the end, I hope my experience will bring about a positive change in terms of innovation in NUST processes that enables maximum support to students and faculty members. Through this internship opportunity I have tried to establish a strong partnership through collaborative exchange programs between NUST and UNC Charlotte.
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to UNCC for providing me this international exposure. It has enhanced my life and polished my professional skills beyond my expectations.