Global Studies Career Panel Featuring Alums - May 25th

UCSB Global Studies Career Panel

Curious about careers in Global Studies? We have a panel of four UCSB Global Studies alums who are happy to share their career and graduate school advice. Please save the date and bring your questions: Tuesday, MAY 25th at 4-5pm via Zoom (register to access the Zoom link). Also, all student attendees will be entered into a raffle for a $60 UCSB Bookstore gift card, and one lucky student will be randomly selected as the prize winner!

Panelists Include:

- Michael Cianos, Manager of Strategic Alliances, First Book (UCSB Global Studies MA '18)

- Erick Montes, Product Manager, Invoca (UCSB Global Studies Alum ‘12)

- Nicole Ripley, Senior Program Officer, Leadership and Exchange Programs at The Asia Foundation (UCSB Global Studies MA '18)

- Elena Zhang, Global Network Development Manager, TechSoup (UCSB Global Studies MA '20)

- Moderated by Meghan Zero, Undergraduate Advisor, and Andrea Ellickson, Business Officer, Department of Global Studies

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Full Bios below:


Michael Cianos

Manager, Strategic Alliances

First Book

UCSB Global Studies MA '18

Michael currently works at First Book, a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. that breaks down barriers to quality education for kids in need, where he manages a portfolio of corporate partnerships valued at over $18M. He works with companies such as Disney, KPMG, Intel, Mars, and Audemars Piguet to create corporate social responsibility programs that address educational inequity. He has a BA in Philosophy from University of Maryland and an MA in Global Studies from UCSB, where his research focused on social enterprise.


Erick Montes

Product Manager


UCSB Global Studies Alum ‘12

I am very excited to participate in this Global Studies Career Q&A panel. I have 8+ years of experience with two Santa Barbara-based enterprise tech companies in different capacities. Directly out of UCSB, I started as a Bilingual Customer Support Representative then transitioned to Account Management and eventually found my passion in Product Management. I have been a Product Manager for 4+ years, working with multiple engineering teams from around the globe to bring different products to life!


Nicole Ripley

Senior Program Officer of Leadership and Exchange Programs

The Asia Foundation

UCSB Global Studies MA '18

Nicole Ripley is a Senior Program Officer, Leadership & Exchange Programs at The Asia Foundation where she is responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing leadership development programs for emerging and established leaders across the Asia Pacific region. Previously, she served as Director of Education at a regional theatre in Chicago designing and overseeing literacy, arts-integration, and civic-engaged programs that served over 10,000 students a year. As a 2006-2007 Henry Luce Scholar in Thailand she worked with a grassroots NGO and facilitated arts-based life skills programs with youth and communities throughout the Myanmar border region. She has a BS in Communication (Theatre) from Northwestern University and an MA in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara where her research focused on community-driven Myanmar refugee education on the Thai border and diaspora.


Elena Zhang

Global Network Development Manager


UCSB Global Studies MA '20

Elena recently completed her second master’s degree in Global and International Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Prior to coming to the U.S., Elena obtained her first master’s degree in International Project Management from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris. Elena’s research revolves around a global landscape of corporate citizenship programs beyond private corporate function, the value of civil society networks and cross-border collaborations, and sustainable development from a global perspective. Elena is fluently trilingual in Chinese, French, and English. Having studied and worked in France, China, and the US -- three different countries with vastly different socio-cultural backgrounds, she has thus learned to perceive the world not just through a set of static norms and values but by opening up to multiple views of looking at things.