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School of International Studies
George Wilson Hall
Kathleen Hastings
School of International Studies
George Wilson Hall
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, California 95211

Amber (Padilla) Peterson '08

Amber Padilla Peterson

Major: International Relations and Global Studies  Concentration: International Law

Amber served in the United States Navy Reserves from 2005-2010 as an Operations Specialist, with service in South Korea and Japan. She currently is a Resiliency Services Coordinator for FOCUS - Naval Base Ventura County, CA.

FOCUS (Families Over Coming Under Stress) is a non-profit organization developed by a UCLA- Harvard team. FOCUS provides resiliency training to military children and families. FOCUS teaches practical skills to meet the challenges of deployment and reintegration, to communicate and solve problems effectively, and to successfully set goals together and create a shared family story.

How SIS has helped me with my current position: "Dealing with the military, a lot of service members and their families struggle with the reintegration phase of a deployment. Which is very similar to the reintegration phase when returning from studying abroad. Many times these members are in other countries where they experience culture shock, due to the sometimes traumatic situations they face. With my cross cultural training from SIS, I am able to understand the service members feelings, as well as the family unit's.

SIS also prepared me to be resilient, by leaving my home country and surviving on my own for a semester in a foreign country. I had to learn to be independent and resilient in order to thrive. With these skills, I can help families learn to be more resilient during a deployment and more understanding during the reintegration process.

Another aspect of SIS that prepared me for my current position, was the opportunity to meet and interact with heads of state and foreign dignitaries. As I work in the military community, I often have to prepare presentations and briefs for ranking officials. By being able to interact with these individuals at SIS, I was prepared and not frightened or discouraged when preparing to meet with military officials." - Amber