Alicia Isom Hernández '05
After graduating from USC in 2005 with Bachelors of Arts in Spanish and International Relations, I returned to São Paulo, Brazil, where I studied abroad as an undergraduate, and taught English for six months. These additional few months in Brazil cemented my Portuguese fluency and my determination to pursue an international career. In 2006, I was offered a year-long position to teach English in a public elementary school in Fuengirola, Spain. Upon returning to the United States, I started my master’s degree in Latin American Political Economy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. While at Georgetown, I became deeply interested in Latin American agricultural trade. My strong background from USC in Latin American languages, politics, and economics enabled me excel at Georgetown, where I was awarded a Dean’s fellowship to research regional sugar markets in Brazil in the summer of 2008 and a Foreign Languages and Area Studies fellowship for the entire 2008-09 academic year. Upon completing my master’s degree, I secured an invaluable entry-level position – the Mexico Desk Officer for the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I coordinated trade negotiations, Cabinet-level meetings, and market access strategy development with the United States’ third-largest trading partner. I also worked directly with diplomats from around the Americas to promote international agricultural trade throughout the hemisphere. In the spring of 2012, I passed the FAS Foreign Service exam and I am presently preparing for my first overseas posting as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City. My education from the USC Department of Spanish and Portuguese has opened so many doors and I am still in the early stages of my career. I look forward to the many wonderful opportunities yet to come.