After spending some time in Ghana, Italy, Ireland, England, Mexico and various parts of the United States, Alexis Branaman has decided to make her next stop at UNF.
Branaman recently became the UNF international student recruiter, a new position at the International Center on campus. Branaman is responsible for maintaining and diversifying the UNF English Language Program. She will also help encourage international students to study at UNF and increase the university’s global presence.
“It’s something that I am excited about, and it’s something that will challenge me,” Branaman said. “It’s not something that I can just kind come in and do half way. I still have to give 100 percent, and I am looking forward to that.”
Branaman was born in Pennsylvania and spent most of her childhood in Michigan. She moved frequently throughout her life and developed an interest in people from different international communities. Her parents were ministers, and since her mother worked in refugee services, she met refugees from all over the world, especially from Africa and the Middle East.
She eventually moved to Texas and studied at Texas Christian University. While she was in college, Branaman studied abroad in Ghana for five months. She also completed an internship that allowed her to change states every week to teach peace and justice workshops at different high schools for an entire summer.
In 2010, Branaman earned her bachelor of arts degree in international communications with a concentration in advertising and public relations and became the study abroad coordinator at TCU.
“I really liked what I was doing as a study abroad coordinator but was interested in something that was a little more hands-on with international students and with a travel component,” she said.
After two years, Branaman decided to expand her work experience. She searched for an international education job online and applied for a position at UNF.
“I think the extensive travel is obviously a big part of the reason why most people applied for this position,” Branaman said. “It’s a really attractive quality, but it’s also something that will require a lot of work. For me, I had to get a position that will actually challenge me and push me to do things I haven’t done before.”
Branaman is already planning her first recruitment trip to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay at the end of the August.
Her first day on the job was July 16. Branaman said she was excited to see UNF’s big entrance when she drove onto campus since TCU was a smaller campus located in a suburban area.
“This is an enormous campus, and you guys have a lot of great stuff going on,” she said. “It’s very new and up-to-date.”
Branaman has been living in Jacksonville since July 2. Although she has no family in the area, she is accompanied by her pit bull and significant other. Branaman enjoys running and antiquing and looks forward to meeting new people in Jacksonville.
“I loved where I was before, but here, I’m really enjoying it so far,” she said. “I like how open it feels, and everyone’s been so incredibly friendly so it’s been an easy transition so far.”
Branaman said she is looking forward to overcoming future challenges and giving 100 percent to the job.
Watch the video for an uncut interview with Alexis Branaman.