College of Arts and Science
Bachelor of Arts, May 2013
Fionnuala Seiferth is a senior in NYU's College of Arts and Science majoring in International Relations and minoring in Social Entrepreneurship. She intends to use her studies to focus on effective, innovative and community driven policy design in economic development on the local and international level.
Fionnuala's passion for international and local policy bloomed through her experiences as an Air Force brat and dual citizen of the EU and the States. Within the military community, with constant deployments, close relationships among many different races and nationalities, men and women, there is a persistent reminder of how the global system plays into one's everyday life. The military, far from being xenophobic or despondent about the high level of foreign military operations seemingly inherent to US policies, uses its experience to propel its own recovery and empowerment. Fionnuala intends to use the striking and unlikely military model to bring the accountability and relevance of big systems to the local level.
At NYU, Fionnuala has been a leader in the activist sphere. She serves as a connector on campus between people and groups interested in social issues and social projects. As a sophomore, she served as co-president of Oxfam at NYU and has been on the Executive Board in various capacities throughout her time at NYU. While she has been with them Oxfam has worked to teach students that through the power of their dollar and voice, they can make small changes in their local culture that reach globally. Oxfam is a huge player in the environmental movement on campus and in New York State. The group has led a multitude of environmental movements on campus and since 2010, with the collaboration of other school and citywide groups, has led a multifaceted campaign against hydrofracking in the Marcellus shale in order to protect New York City's water supply and to accelerate the path towards renewable energy. In addition Oxfam has also led the student body on worker rights issues, notably facilitating the largest college apparel contract between NYU and Alta Gracia a fair trade living wage cooperative.
Fionnuala’s work experience has focused on community driven policy and design. In the summer of 2010, Fionnuala interned for The Human Rights Project where she campaigned for expanded human rights legislation in New York City that would require city agencies, one of the biggest sectors in New York, to create a system to proactively prevent discrimination in their distribution of services.
She continued to work on community driven policy and reporting as an intern at Amnesty International where she worked on the report USA: In Hostile Terrain: Human rights violations in immigration enforcement in the US Southwest which is a two year study conducted primarily along the south-west border that examines the human rights violations associated with immigration enforcement at the border and in the interior of the United States.In additon, she also looked at domestic maternal health, as a researcher aiding in the update of Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.
Fionnuala spent the last semester studying at NYU’s site in Accra, Ghana where she focused on expanding her view and experience with economic development and policy assessment in the West African context. While there Fionnuala worked for United Way on the design of a deworming program to be implemented in Accra public schools and on the assessment of scholarship programs and health support for disadvantaged students. She continues to work for United Way remotely on their education initiatives. In light of this experience Fionnuala is further exploring her interest in education as an aspect of a comprehensive economic development program at Teach for America where she is participating in a Summer Fellowship.
Currently, Fionnuala is focusing her policy work in the field of social entrepreneurship at B-Lab, a leading organization that is building a business community and the market infrastructure necessary to create a new sector of the economy that will redefine success in business. Here she is working in the policy department on campaigning for the adoption of Benefit Corporation legislation on the state level nationally and is exploring the role that sustainable business will have in the future of the economic development field.
After graduation Fionnuala plans to enroll in the Dual Degree program at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service to complete a Masters in Public Administration specialized in Finance.