Nina Mahaleris: A global view

For second-year University of Maine student Nina Mahaleris from Augusta, Maine, UMaine was close to home and provided generous financial aid. Best of all, after the first semester, she also found all the learning and engagement opportunities she desired in the UMaine student experience.

“It definitely surprised me,” says Mahaleris, a double major in journalism and international affairs, with a concentration in French. “I thought going to UMaine would be like it was in high school, but it wasn’t like that at all. I came here and all my professors loved what they were teaching, and they were very passionate and wanted me to learn. On top of that, I’ve been given the opportunities and tools to further my studies and start a career.”

Stefano Tijerina, an adjunct assistant professor in political science and a UMaine alumnus, has inspired Mahaleris. Mahaleris credits him with pushing her to think more critically about global issues and their local impact. In her first year at UMaine, Tijerina gave Mahaleris the opportunity to contribute to his monthly Bangor Daily News blog, “The Glocal,” where Mahaleris has written about the role of media in global politics and religious extremism.

Another essay Mahaleris wrote was recently awarded the 2017 Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Writing Prize. In her winning essay, “Quasi-American: The Segregation of U.S. Citizens by the Hyphen,” Mahaleris examines the issue of racial profiling.

Social justice issues are important to Mahaleris. During her first semester at UMaine, she presented a research project on human trafficking in Maine for a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course.

With her love of writing and interest in global and social justice issues, Mahaleris hopes to go into a career in international journalism. Mahaleris will spend this summer in Canada as one of three UMaine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students accepted into the University of Michigan-Dearborn Ottawa Political Internship, gaining hands-on experience working for a member of Parliament.

Mahaleris credits UMaine’s academic atmosphere with helping her pursue her many interests while challenging her perspectives.

“The students here are very curious. In my journalism courses, everyone wants to learn. And in my political science courses, everyone has very different opinions, which is good. You have an environment that’s very diverse and very opinionated,” she says.

In addition to her courses in communication, journalism and political science, Mahaleris has been involved with the UMaine chapter of Amnesty International. She says the opportunity to make lasting friendships with people from diverse backgrounds has been one of the most important aspects of her time at UMaine.

Asked to describe UMaine in one word, Mahaleris didn’t hesitate: “Engaging.”

Contact: Alan Berry, 207.581.1955