Alumna Janel Diven makes cross-cultural connections

Directly after high school, Janel Diven chose to dive directly into the workforce.  She then decided to go back to school after some time off, since she did not enjoy her current job. Diven made the brave, inspiring choice to change her life, as she knew it when she chose to attend the university.

Since Diven was over the age of 23 when she entered Chatham’s hallways, she was considered a, “gateway student.” Gateway students are students that have decided to go back to school, but it’s more than a label. As a Gateway student, specific events are held in order to allow off-campus students to maintain involvement on campus.  It also allows for all-gateway student events to be held, which can serve as a support system and a great way to meet new friends.

Photo Courtesy of Janel Diven
Photo Courtesy of Janel Diven

Despite any nervousness about her change in career path or in life, Diven created a wonderful change for herself. In 2012 Diven, graduated from Chatham’s undergraduate program with a degree in cultural studies. Now 37, she works for a relocation company, which means she utilizes her cultural studies degree often.

Essentially, the company services other companies, when an employee needs to be moved globally.  Her job entails working cross-culturally with families new to the United States.  Diven not only aids new families to get acquainted with the land, but with the right people as well.

Following her love for culture, one of her favorite experiences at Chatham was her time abroad.  Looking for a way to spend Maymester, Diven decided Greece sounded like just the place to be. During her stay in those three weeks, she connected with the country in an amazing way. “I felt a strong connection [there],” said Diven. “I loved the art, the history, and the culture.”

Given the strong connection and lovely experience in Greece during her Maymester field experience, Diven gave Greece another shot.  She chose to spend an entire semester next. Diven’s time abroad seemed extremely important to her and her Chatham career, commenting, “I loved both semesters!”

Greece wasn’t the end all of connections during Diven’s stay Chatham though.  Diven also spoke fondly of Chatham’s own Anissa Wardi.  Dr. Wardi works as a literature, writing, and cultural studies professor. During her time with Dr. Wardi, Divens again spoke of connections that impacted her in a special way.

Diven also remembered the beginning stages of her experience at Chatham.  There was one major influence on her decision to attend the university.  First and foremost, she referenced Chatham’s environment. A key reason she attended Chatham was due to the all-women atmosphere it provided, noting: “I think it should stay that way.”

After completing the entire process, Diven advised any and all students, “If you can, study abroad and travel as much as possible.”