As the eighth oldest institution for higher learning in the United States, Rutgers is celebrating its 250th anniversary on November 10, 2016. To celebrate this monumental milestone, I Am Rutgers will be featuring Rutgers’ most involved and accomplished students in a new series, “250 for 250.” This year-long series will serve as a reflection of Rutgers’ diverse student body and status as a premier national research university.
We might not always have the funds, but traveling is one of the best things you can do while in college. We get an amazing number of breaks and, lucky for us, our study abroad program can cut travel costs tremendously. Not to mention, they basically plan out the whole trip for you and help arrange excursions for study abroad students to visit neighboring countries. Jamie Layne, a senior double majoring in History and Political Science with a minor in Italian, has definitely taken full advantage of traveling abroad while studying at Rutgers.
Since moving here from Phoenix, Arizona, Jamie has traveled to Italy, Japan and Ireland, earning her the position of Study Abroad Ambassador at the Center for Global Education. After her first year, she traveled to Urbino, Italy for the summer to learn Italian as part of her minor. The next summer, she visited Kyoto, Japan under the Political Science program, and learned about Japan’s political system and general history. Her most recent trip was during this past spring break to Galway, Ireland for an SAS honors seminar.
Additionally, she works as the treasurer of the Women’s Club Lacrosse Team, is an auditor on the RUSA Allocations Board and was promoted from a referee to Recreation Center Supervisor to administrate games and events happening at our Rec. Centers.
Coming to Rutgers from Arizona wasn’t all smooth sailing for Jamie, despite her adventurous personality. She came from an all girl’s Catholic school and had to navigate an enormous university filled with a mostly New Jersey-based population. However, even with the obstacle of acclimating to college life, Jamie was still able to find her niche with the study abroad program and all her other extracurricular activities.
Taking all of her accomplishments and travel experiences into account, Jamie maintains that her biggest accomplishment thus far was interning in the Washington D.C. State Department, and meeting Secretary of State John Kerry.
I worked on a lot of the economics side. They were working on issues with China and Japan, and southeast Asia in general, and I was like ‘oh I know that kind of thing,’ I traveled to Japan, I can help with this. So I worked on a couple of different memos that actually went up to Secretary of state John Kerry that he actually read, which was so cool.”
Success rarely comes without adversity or hardship, but Jamie’s perspective and ambition remain positive and insightful even through the most difficult circumstances. During her first year at Rutgers, Jamie’s mom was diagnosed with a non-curable form of cancer. While it is under control currently, it took her mom 4 years to get to a neutral point, and in Jamie’s eyes, her mom is her biggest inspiration.
She has really taught me that – even on my worst days – she’s always telling me to just work through it and do the best you can for the day. She would say, ‘Alright I feel awful, I just had chemo today, but I’m going to go walk a mile because I’ll feel better after.’ Take it little by little and you’ll eventually get through it. She has always pushed me to go outside my comfort zone, and has been the one who funded me to go on these study abroad trips even if it meant she had to take out a loan. She is also the one who encouraged me to go to Rutgers. She has taught me to be a powerful person and not to back down.”
After her studying abroad adventures and interning in Washington D.C., Jamie’s passion for international relations only grew stronger. Following graduation, she plans to take the GRE and wants to get her Master’s in International Relations, after she takes a gap year to gain experience in the field. In the long-run, Jamie hopes to attain a job that will enable her to become a U.S. Ambassador someday.
It really doesn’t matter what country it is for me. I would love to learn about any kind of culture. It would be awesome to be the Ambassador of Italy some day, or Ireland, or Spain. I would go anywhere though!”