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Camel of the Week: Mia Haas-Goldberg

Meet Mia Haas-Goldberg! This incredible Camel of the Week is a senior who doesn’t let the serious nature of her studies stop her slightly-wacky personality. Mia is an artist who plays the cello, ukulele, and writes spoken word poetry. As if that wasn’t cool enough, she also starred in a soccer commercial when she was in eighth grade and has biked across Israel. Mia was gracious enough to take time out of her hectic schedule to talk to HC about research she conducted in Tunisia, her honors thesis, and her experience as a member of the Mellon Foundation Iran Crisis Simulation that took place in Colorado. 



Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA

Class Year: 2016

Major: History and International Relations

Minor: French 

Center: CISLA 

Extracurriculars: Exec boards of Amnesty International and TEDx, Club Soccer, CISLA/IR Student Advisory Board, WE Initiative, and Coffee Grounds barista

We hear you were recently in Colorado for the Mellon Foundation Iran Crisis Simulation. Can you tell us more about the role you played in this simulation and what the environment was like there?

During the simulation, I served as Assistant to the President for Public Affairs which didn’t mean much…until I was told to hold a press conference outlining our policy recommendations to the professors present. We spent two full days pretending it was the year 2021, responding to crises surrounding potential Iranian non-compliance to the JCPOA, which included false Israeli intelligence and a hostage situation. Living in the barracks with USAFA cadets was probably the best part of the experience–I will be forever grateful to my host for allowing me to pester her with question after question about life in military school and the correct arm sequence for pulling a parachute. It was also really intriguing to hear the perspectives of West Point, Navy, and Coast Guard delegates on foreign policy while debating in the simulation–many of the academy students were ardently against the use of the military while so many liberal arts students wanted airstrikes and boots on the ground.

During your semester abroad in Tunisia you conducted a 70 page research paper on youth perceptions of domestic fundamentalism. What was it like to speak with peers who grew up in a culture so different from your own?

Their lives really weren’t that different, to be honest, except for the fact that everyone seemed to speak at least five languages. During the course of some 15 interviews, I debated the best Friends episode, spoke with a medical student who also served as lead singer in a heavy metal cover band, and discussed the portfolio implications of a photography student. I asked a lot of questions about life under the previous dictator, Ben Ali, and what it was like to live through the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Everyone had an opinion on politics and how the country should progress but the lack of jobs for college graduates in Tunisia was a huge source of annoyance. Sometimes the interviews were challenging because of the language barrier–one interview was translated from Tunsi to French to English–but overall, I had a great time meeting students who were going through similar life transitions. One of the most random conversations I had was with a guy who sat next to me at the Senegal-Tunisia African Cup qualifier match–he translated the chants, helped me avoid being hit by impromptu flares, and chatted about his life in university.

Did your junior internship in France contribute to the development of your honors thesis regarding French media portrayals of the Algerian War?

My original CISLA proposal ultimately became my honors thesis and shaped my internship decision. While I didn’t do a lot of writing at CDHA (le Centre de Documentation Historique sur l’Algerie), I learned a ton and saw some weird stuff. I mostly assisted with curating the exhibit “Doctors of Colonization,” translated French penal code, and waded through mounds of University of Algiers soccer trophies, old street signs, photo albums, and maps. Once I even catalogued bust. No one in the office spoke French and everyone was either 35 or 95 years old which made for quite an interesting experience; by the end, I had a whole new horde of grandparents.

How long have you been working at the Immigration Advocacy and Support Center and what kind of work do you do there?
The center is in New London, across the street from Washington Street Cafe, and run by Mike Doyle who is the main attorney. Several other interns from Conn work there and do a range of activities: from translations to legal editing to organizing fundraising events. I began in September and it has been a great learning experience, as well as a wonderful resource for the New London community! 
What advice do you have, for freshman and seniors alike, for juggling a multitude of interests (both academic and recreational)?
Prioritize your activities, manage your time, and make sure you allow yourself breaks to decompress. Once something stops being enjoyable, make sure to recognize that–there are plenty of other things that would serve you better. For those who run on caffeine and no sleep, it always helps to take a break and do absolutely nothing; not even a productive, resume bumping nothing, just nothing. For those who hesitate to get involved for fear of lowering their academic standards, just remember that you won’t be surrounded by 18-22 year olds for the rest of your life (unless you are a professor or something). People can teach you crazy and amazing things if you choose to engage.  
Susannah is a senior at Conn Coll finishing up her Psychology and English double major with her Religious Studies minor. Susannah loves finding new music on Spotify, watching romantic comedies, and practicing yoga. Fresh out of the oven cookies are her greatest weakness rivaled only by her love of online shopping.
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