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Graduate to Mark Personal and Program Milestones at Commencement

By Noell Saunders

Jamila Glover will proudly walk in Old Dominion University's 127th commencement exercises on Dec. 16 celebrating two milestones.

Glover, who studied international political economy and development, is the second person in her family to graduate with a Ph.D. She's also the 100th person to receive a Ph.D. from ODU's Graduate Program in International Studies.

"For women, I think it's important to know you can pursue a career track you haven't considered or one that's male-dominated," Glover said. "You don't know who else might see this and be encouraged to say I can do it, too."

Glover, a Houston, Texas native, said she's benefited from a supportive family, mentors and great professors throughout her journey. Before coming to ODU, she received her bachelor's degree from the University of Houston and an M.B.A. from Texas Woman's University.

She also has worked in project management at a variety of companies, including Waste Management and Verizon Wireless.

In 2013, Glover took a leap of faith to pursue a doctoral degree that coincided with her skills. But this time, the journey would be away from home.

"Getting a Ph.D. is a challenge. Being away from home was a challenge. But it was what I needed to do to get myself where I wanted to be."

She added, "ODU's international studies program was very intriguing. I did a Google search, and I liked what I saw. The program had a great appeal for different career choices including academia, private sector and government."

The Graduate Program in International Studies recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Regina Karp, its director, said more women are entering the program.

"At the policy level, there's still a lot of male dominance," Karp said, "so having more women graduating in international studies is very important to us. Women like Jamila make us very proud."

Jesse Richman, one of Glover's professors, said he was impressed with her drive to succeed and her leadership skills.

"Jamila enrolled in our Ph.D. program in international studies and quickly became a star," Richman said. "During her time at ODU, she has completed a wide range of courses across the campus, and completed all stages of our program successfully. Working with Jamila in a range of other capacities was also delightful. Her remarkable drive and organizational skills are evident."

Glover said Old Dominion connected the dots and opened doors to endless opportunities, including a paid internship with NATO, a graduate assistantship and the opportunity to teach as an adjunct instructor in ODU's Political Science Department.

"Coming to ODU exposed me to opportunities that I never thought or even dreamed of," she said. "I didn't apply to any other schools, and I put all of my eggs in ODU's basket. Dr. Karp and Dr. Richman encouraged me to use the skills that I gained working in corporate America. I was able to connect my previous work experiences to a new career."

Upon graduation, Glover will explore her career options.

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