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Globetrotting Business student earns internship abroad

Brittany Chiles, a senior Business major with an Individualized Option in International Business, will complete a fall 2011 internship with KEZA, an organization in Africa that sells native artwork internationally to benefit women aspiring to break out of poverty and donor dependency.

According to their Web site, KEZA entered Rwanda in March 2006. “They are dedicated to creating a brand that showcases the beauty and excellence of developing nations through the art of the people. By promoting the artisan’s excellence, KEZA hopes to change the image and expectations of the developing world from charity cases to nations creating products that exemplify quality, excellence, and humanity.”

While working for KEZA, Chiles will serve as an assistant to the owners of the company. She will travel with them to help open their new office in Kenya, and tentatively travel to Los Angeles for LA Fashion Week where KEZA has partnered with other fashion labels from Africa, and she will attend the ACE Awards in New York.

Chiles first heard about KEZA when their owners, Jared and Ilea Angaza, visited her church in her hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. She was inspired by their vision, so she submitted an application for an internship.

In response to her application, Ilea Angaza wrote, “Thank you very much for your incredibly authentic and impressive application. Jared and I were blown away by your achievements, your drive and your desire to learn.”

Chiles attributes her success in obtaining the internship to her interdisciplinary course studies, including the Individualized Option in International Business that is part of the Business degree program. She has held a variety of campus leadership positions, which have provided her with a wide range of experiences, and she believes that her experiences at Berks have prepared her for every aspect of her internship with KEZA.

Dr. Lolita Paff, coordinator of the Business program at Penn State Berks, worked with faculty members at the college to develop meaningful, interdisciplinary individualized options that would allow Business students to pursue a greater range of academic coursework.

“I saw the diversity of the programs at our college as a strategic opportunity for Berks students,” explains Paff. “Although Brittany is officially a Business student, she represents the first of what I hope will be many students who pursue study in non-business disciplines in conjunction with the Business degree.”

In addition, Chiles credits Dr. Sandy Feinstein, Associate Professor of English and Honors Coordinator, who helped her to craft the application for KEZA, along with Dr. Randall Fegley, Associate Professor of History and Global Studies Program Coordinator, who supervised her previous internship in Rwanda.

“Working with KEZA is going to give me the opportunity to combine my major interests and passions for an invaluable experience, learning how to impact the world through entrepreneurship, while helping individuals to help themselves,” comments Chiles.

“Through a past internship in Rwanda, I worked with native students, focusing on building relationships through teaching, supporting, and encouraging. Now, I want to learn the business side. Meeting and speaking with Jared and Ilea Angaza was very inspiring. I strongly encourage other students to find the opportunities that combine their passions and strengths.”
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