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Meet Jake Mazeitis & Paula Allecia Jones, 2018’s Outstanding Seniors

Every year, Sooner Parents presents awards of merit to “Outstanding Senior” men and women from each undergraduate college. These impressive students must be full-time with at least a 3.25 grade point average. Recipients of Outstanding Senior awards will be honored along with their college deans this Friday, November 16 in Beaird Lounge and recognized at Saturday’s OU football game versus Kansas.

We’re excited to celebrate this year’s Outstanding Seniors: Jake Mazeitis, who was awarded OU’s all-around Outstanding Senior Man, and Paula Allecia Jones, who is the College of International Studies’ Outstanding Senior Woman! Read on to learn more about Jake and Allecia, their experiences in CIS and their goals for the future.

Jake Mazeitis, 2018 University of Oklahoma Outstanding Senior Man

Majors: International Studies / Letters (Constitutional Studies) / Women’s and Gender Studies

What have you been involved in during your time at OU?

During my time at OU, I’ve been involved in a number of student organizations, including Crimson Club, the Me Too Monologues, the Student Government Association, the Student Advisory Board to the State Regents, the LGBTQ Program Advisory Board and Step In Speak Out, among others. I also work in the Honors College, the Graduate College, Student Affairs and I tutor Latin through Action Tutoring. Previously, I’ve also been a tour guide for OU. I studied abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France with the CAS Leadership Scholars, which was a three-week program where we got to see France from the countryside to Paris.

Any other notable experiences or memories from your undergraduate career?

I’ve spent my last three summers at Teach for America, Columbia University, and the Human Rights Campaign respectively, and am hoping to return to the HRC or a similar organization following graduation to continue to do LGBTQ advocacy at the national level.

Why did you choose an International Studies major, and what do you feel you've gained from your studies in CIS?

I chose to be an IAS major because I initially wanted to be a diplomat, but after exploring my options a little further, I realized that I wanted to focus more on domestic policy. I remained an IAS major because I think that college offers this amazing opportunity to learn more about the world around you, even if you aren’t going to commodify that knowledge for the sake of a paycheck. Through IAS, I’ve gained a greater understanding of our relative interconnectedness and, more specifically, how global inequities shape the lives of people across the world.

What are your plans for the future?

Following graduation, I plan to return to DC and work in LGBTQ advocacy for around two years before applying to law school and then either becoming a federal public defender or returning to civil rights advocacy.

Paula Allecia Jones, 2018 CIS Outstanding Senior Woman

Major: International Studies / minor in Spanish

What have you been involved in during your time at OU?

Throughout undergrad I’ve been involved with various CAC executive committees, volunteered with Love Works Leadership and Young Life, interned for the Ronnie K. Irani Center for Creating Economic Wealth and participated in the LEAF program for CIS. I also served as a representative at the PLEN Women and Global Policy Seminar in Washington, DC.

Any other notable experiences or memories from your undergraduate career?

My favorite memories include spending a semester abroad in Puebla, Mexico and interning for the US State Department in the Dominican Republic in summer 2018.

Why did you choose an International Studies major, and what do you feel you've gained from your studies in this major?

Coming into college I knew that I wanted to make a global impact and learn how society, culture and governments were created and functioned internationally, because of my previous international volunteer trips in high school. I wanted to make a well-informed decision about my future international career path. I thought that IAS offered the most well rounded coursework that would empower me to shape my studies to a region or study of interest. My expectations were exceeded. I developed a distinct interest in economics and development in Latin America, I have debated and analyzed global issues that I will be trying to solve in my future career, and I am much more comfortable and concise in my writing and communication. As a student in CIS, I became a confident global citizen.

What are your plans for the future?

My future plans are to spend my final semester interning in Brazil for an NGO that empowers women in politics, and then I intend to pursue a graduate degree in Foreign Affairs.

To learn more about undergraduate programs in CIS, visit our website.

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