Name: Steve Byrne
Occupation: Program Coordinator for Exchange students
Graduation Year: 2006
Favorite Book: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Advice: "Live in the present and enjoy all the aspects you can of a history major."
Steve Byrne is a Wittenberg alumnus who graduated in 2006 with a BA in history and Spanish and now works in a career where he brings cultures together. He currently serves as a program coordinator at AYUSA Global Youth Exchange, an international education program. “I manage high school exchange students from Latin America and Europe that live across the country with volunteer host families,” Byrne says. He has been with AYUSA since December 2007, and his job is to act as a liaison between AYUSA’s remote field staff and the overseas business partners that recruit students for their exchange program, navigating any issues that may arise. “I direct students and staff through the steps of problem solving through an issue or crisis, and then communicate the process and the results to the overseas business partners in a culturally sensitive and understandable way.” At any moment, Byrne says that he can be called upon to manage crises across continents, but he enjoys this dynamic and exciting aspect of his job. He occasionally gets to travel both domestically and internationally.
“My degree from Wittenberg is used every day and has been key in identifying biases with statements and people,” remarks Byrne. “It’s just like writing a history paper,” but Byrne puts it together in an hour instead of a week, using photographs, police reports, statements and phone calls. Byrne feels that the most valuable thing he received from Wittenberg was his education and still maintains relationships with former professors: “My best friends at school were my professors. They stimulated me while I studied under them and they continue to do so from afar. I am currently pursuing a goal of creating a new program within the parent company of AYUSA that guides participants on outdoor experiences around northern California and the West and teaches a curriculum of sustainability.” Byrne advises other history majors to enjoy all that they can about their degree. He also says that the two most important things you can do once you graduate are to network and not to be afraid to ask for something you want, no matter how impossible.