Growing a Career out of Community

8 December 2017

After spending many of his childhood summers in Israel at peace and dialogue camps, interning at the White House under the Obama administration, and working on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, Miko Zeldes-Roth ’18 (New York City) says conflict resolution is in his blood. “It’s baked into my identity and my professional interests,” Zeldes-Roth says. “I want to find a way to make a difference in the world.”

As the Global Affairs Fellow for Carleton’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement, he’s well on his way to doing just that. The first CCCE fellow to work on global affairs, Zeldes-Roth has been creating—and implementing—a broad vision for how to get other students organized and engaged with worldwide issues such as refugees, migration, and peace studies.

“The cool part for me is that this is essentially a paid activist job,” Zeldes-Roth says. “I get to do what I love, and it’s also work that I think I’ll be doing professionally, in some capacity.”

As the Global Affairs Fellow, Zeldes-Roth has hosted student discussions, sponsored campus screenings for films such as I Am Not Your Negro, and cosponsored a lecture by visiting Palestinian professor and activist Sa’ed Atshan. He also oversees Carls who volunteer with Paper Airplanes, a nonprofit organization for students to tutor Syrian refugees via Skype, and he works with other campus organizations to increase awareness of important issues. The hard part, he says, is figuring out how to bridge the gap between situations halfway around the world and issues here in rural Minnesota—so he tries to emphasize similarities, such as parallels between the plight of Syrian refugees and the tenuous future of Northfield’s undocumented population.

To him, the CCCE is one of the most dynamic organizations at Carleton. Thanks to his position, he’s pursuing his passion while developing many professional skills including communication, organizing, and networking. Plus, this position gives him the opportunity to think more broadly than a typical internship would, he says. Rather than learning and completing specific tasks designed for an entry-level position in a particular career field, he’s been strategizing to form an overall mission for the CCCE’s global affairs portfolio. “Most 22-year-olds don’t have this much responsibility in an internship,” he says, “or have this much space to bring creativity and imagination to their job.

“I feel I’m being way more prepared for a job I really care about,” he says, “and I feel incredibly lucky.”

Miko Zeldes-Roth '18

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