Who Am I? Jenn Valjenn

Hi! My name is Jennifer Dowdy, or Jenn, and I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh.




I was born in El Paso, Texas and have lived in several places since then, due to my parents’ employment in the US Army. Having moved around a lot as a child, I’ve grown to love travel and have always known that I want to do something that involves working around the globe in different areas and cultures. I have a passion for animal and human rights, and would like to work to protect them internationally and domestically.

Professionally, I would like to work in the international spectrum to support and promote human rights, especially in humanitarian crises and human security issues. I decided to pursue a career in law because I feel it would be an invaluable asset for my understanding of the operations behind how to promote and protect human rights. I am particularly interested in working with issues in Europe and Africa because I feel there are a variety of problems regarding human rights that occur in these regions. I am particularly interested in Africa because it has historically been prone to conflict and crises and I feel that there is more that can and should be done to help those affected who can’t or won’t be helped by their own governments. To potentially avoid politics acting as a barrier to international aid, I would like to work with or for non-governmental organizations (NGOs); however, my dream job is to work for the United Nations.

Therefore, at Pitt, I am studying political science (major), French (minor), and Transatlantic Studies (certificate) with a focus in International Relations. I am a member of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, the Model United Nations, and the Student Alumni Association. I have also participated in the Emerging Leaders living learning community, in which I took a semester-long weekly course on how to operate in a group setting and have developed my communication and leadership skills.

This summer, I will be participating in the International Internship Program in Paris. I chose this particular program because it will give me invaluable work experience for the future and it will enhance my personal experiences by immersing myself in another culture and environment. The location and placement both fit (hopefully) with my professional and academic goals, so I felt pursuing this program was the perfect choice for me.

I hope during this experience to develop my professional skills in an office environment, something that up to this point, I have not experienced. I also expect to further advance my French skills, which is especially important to me because I plan to work in an environment which may require the use of French. This summer, I would like to develop myself further and become more independent, confident, and professional so as to become not only a better candidate for law school and future jobs, but also to become a better person and the best version of myself possible. I am honored and excited to be able to experience life and work in Paris, France and I can’t wait to start this new journey!