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Former LaGuardia Community College Instructor Donates
$60,000 to the College for World View Internships
Long Island City, NY—January 11, 2013—Laurie Norris, a former LaGuardia Community College fundamentals of professional advancement instructor and an intercultural communication consultant, has presented the College with a $60,000 gift that provides student internship opportunities with an international focus.
With the intention of providing LaGuardia students with hands-on experience at international organizations, Ms. Norris and her husband, Clarence Pearson, a global health consultant, are offering these opportunities through the Jean and Laurie Norris World View Internship at LaGuardia, a program established in honor of her late mother, Jean, who had a long association with LaGuardia. Jean Norris was a faculty member in LaGuardia’s secretarial science department and in the cooperative education program.
Each year, one or two students with an interest in international issues will be placed in a four-month internship at the United Nations or a major nongovernmental organization (NGO) whose mission focuses on global issues. The internship comes with a $4,000 stipend.
“This program provides LaGuardia students with the rare opportunity to experience first-hand, the workings of an international organization,” said Ms. Norris, who explained that such internships are usually reserved for masters and doctoral students. “It will help them to develop their global views and to plan for their future careers.”
Three students have already completed internships.
Melissa Dosil, liberal arts: social science and humanities major, worked at the Global Action on Aging at the UN, an international non-profit organization. Lia Martinez-Santamaria and Gili Loew recently completed their internships at AARP’s Office of International Affairs at the UN, which focuses on informing domestic policy on aging issues by researching international best practices and policies through a number of international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization. And this January, Evgeniya Ezhova, an international studies student, will begin her internship at the Business Council for the United Nations.
“The Jean and Laurie Norris World View Internship has proven to be an invaluable experience,” said Lia, who is interested in pursuing a career in multicultural communications. “Being an intern at an office with such an international perspective gave me a good idea of what the future holds for me in this field. I could not be more grateful to Laurie Norris and Clarence Pearson who made this possible for me.”
Gili agreed. “It was a wonderful experience that provided me with a wealth of knowledge,” said the young intern who is interested in a career in international relations or diplomacy. “I learned how the world works, what it takes to affect a nation, and the commitment and hard work it takes to advocate for its citizens, whether it is the poor, women or seniors.”
Gili, who completed her internship this past December, will continue interning at the organization. “There is so much more that I want to learn,” she said.
As part of their internships, the two liberal arts majors and honor students assisted with organizing events. One of the projects involved helping with the organization of the United Nation’s International Day of Older Persons. They also represented AARP during the presidential debate that took place at Hofstra University this past October. Along with assisting with the organization of events, they performed research and took on administrative responsibilities.
“Through this internship program, my husband and I have helped to open new doors for each of these students,” said Ms. Norris. “They are engaged in the world, interested in their futures and already making contributions within their selected fields.”
“Ms. Norris’s commitment to enhancing young people’s world view paves the way for LaGuardia students to engage in an invaluable, hands-on internship experience,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia. “Her generous gift reflects the exceptional dedication of LaGuardia faculty to broadening students’ perspectives both inside and outside the classroom.”
Ms. Norris has a long history with LaGuardia. When her mother worked as a faculty member in the secretarial science department in the 1970s, Ms. Norris team taught an ESL summer class with her. It was during that experience, she said, that she got to know the students and to understand what their needs were. In 1994, she officially joined LaGuardia serving as a special assistant to the dean of cooperative education and international programs as well as the special assistant to the associate dean and executive director of the School-to-Work project. She also worked as a placement counselor and career fair coordinator. Ms. Norris left LaGuardia in 1996, but returned in 2009 to teach a class that trained students in marketing themselves and preparing for the world of work. She also provided student advisement.
The philanthropist, author and intercultural communications specialist has been committed to working toward progressive change. With a focus on aging, her expertise ranges from aging-related issues, including global health and aging in place, to patient advocacy to publishing and design.
Ms. Norris served as managing editor and editorial consultant for a Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Sons series of books on global health. It included Critical Issues in Global Health; Global Health Leadership and Management; Global Health and Global Aging (sponsored by the AARP Foundation); and Urban Health: Global Perspectives (sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine). She researched and wrote a history of the China Medical Board, which pioneered Western-style medical education in China and Asia in the 20th century. She also plays a role at the United Nations serving as an NGO delegate for the Gray Panthers, an intergenerational social justice advocacy organization.
Mr. Pearson is a global health leadership and management consultant and founding president and CEO of the National Center for Health Education.
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.