Alum Spotlight

Rebecca Toto in Leipzig, 2019

Pitt German majors are going places and as far as Leipzig, Germany, where Rebecca is currently working for the German American Chamber of Commerce of CA as an International Career Development Coordinator. Her title translates into supporting the J-1 intern and trainee cultural exchange visa category as well as the B-1 visa category for business and volunteer purposes. She analyzes complex immigration laws and even represented her organization at the J-1 visa conference at the US embassy in Frankfurt, Germany. How did Rebecca get into this career track? German language skills, of course, and her dual degree from Pitt. She graduated in 2017 with BAs in German and Political Science as well as the Global Studies Certificate.

Not to forget the fact that Rebecca demonstrated her commitment to becoming a global citizen by seeking out opportunities while at Pitt. Alongside her dual major, she was an intern at a Pittsburgh consulting company where she conducted competitive intelligence into German medical device markets. Her customer base was not in the US, however, but in Germany and required Rebecca to conduct phone calls with the client’s German customer base. Following her semester abroad at the Freie Universität in 2016, she stayed in Berlin for the summer and pursued an internship with Polis 180. As an intern, she was charged with researching and reporting on various foreign policy issues with a focus on US-European relations.

Naturally, her German language skills were essential for performing other tasks including, for instance, translating the entire website from German to English, editing social media platforms in both languages, writing articles for a blog and organizing events with political actors. In addition, Rebecca assisted a Ph.D. student at the Hertie School of Governance with research on the integration of refugees in Berlin to help develop policy proposals for various government agencies. Her experience as an intern at Polis 180 in Berlin motivated her to pursue a Senior Honors Thesis all in German and entitled Die sozialen und politischen Auswirkungen der Zuwanderungsgeschichte auf die aktuelle Flüchtlingsbewegung in Deutschland (“The Social and Political Impact of Migration History on the Current Refugee Movement in Germany”). Soon after graduating from Pitt in 2017, Rebecca started her career as a Compliance Analyst at Comcast in Philadelphia, PA. Yet, as she told us in an email, eventually she had “Fernweh” or perhaps was homesick for Germany again. Rebecca has been living in Leipzig since January 2019 and is applying to M.A.-programs throughout Germany and Europe for the next year. As you can see in the photo, she is enjoying her time there!