Alumni Spotlight: Anita Willcox

Anita Willcox

Global Studies, Class of 2013

Current job:

Campaign Assistant for the Zero Mercury Campaign,
European Environmental Bureau

Describe yourself in 3 words

Traveler, Polyglot, Environmentalist

Tell us a little about your current job.

I work for the European Environmental Bureau in Brussels, and, more specifically for the Zero Mercury Campaign working towards a zero supply, demand and emissions of mercury from all antrhopogenic sources and reducing mercury in the global environment to a minimum. Some big strides have been made recently, as the Minamata Convention on Mercury came into force in August. The first conference took place in Geneva in the last week of September.

What was your favorite course at The New School and why?

One of my favorite courses was Non-Western Approaches to International Relations – taught by Lily Ling. At the time it was a very challenging graduate level course, and I was in my senior year of my bachelor’s degree. The reading was tough to get through, but you always left class with clarified answers. The aim of the course was to make one understand that to advance in international relations, and to hold a different type of discourse at an international level, one has to not only tolerate, but accept difference. Ling pointed to three different ideologies – Hinduism, Confucianism and Islam – to give alternative perspectives to the western-dominated international relations dialogue.

What was the most beneficial thing you did during school that prepared you for your current career?

I dedicated an immense amount of time and passion to my bachelor’s thesis. The friendships I made through the Directed Research Seminar in my last year, both with students, and our Professor Alexandra Delano, are still friendships I cherish today. It taught me that following my instinct and inquisitive nature in a topic that I felt passionately for could yield immense results. I learned a great deal from the process, and I know it has served me in my research in previous positions and serves me now in the current position I hold.

Where did you grow up and how did that affect the experience of attending college in NYC?

I grew up in Mallorca, Spain. A small Spanish island in the Mediterranean. Before moving to New York, I attended high school in Connecticut. By the time I had moved to New York, some time had past since I had left Spain. I always, still now living in Brussels, miss the sunshine, the easy and quick access to beautiful clear sea and mountains. However, New York was a fantastic experience that I would never take back for the world. I knew I wanted to go to school in a big city, and to be able to feel the world outside of the academic one that I was in. New York allowed me to gain work experience along side my studies and I know that has increased my sense of self-reliance and adaptability.

What was the best part about going to school in NYC?

You could never be bored. There are a million things to do in NYC, and an offer for all tastes. The diversity was also a major aspect for me. Seeing different people and customs is something that makes me feel comfortable. I loved bike riding through Queens — to have the neighborhoods and demographics change every several blocks.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you would’ve gotten while you were in school?

To not worry about the results of your current efforts or actions. Follow your instincts and passions, be confident, do your very best, and what needs to happen, shall.  I believe that this advice did come from people at different points in time, but its application is always a work in progress.

If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

A dolphin. They are said to be quite smart, friendly and playful. They travel in groups (and I like company), and have a protective nature by defending human beings from sharks in open waters. I also love the ocean, and would love to explore more of it.

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