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The student news site of Allegheny College

The Campus

The student news site of Allegheny College

The Campus

Alum turned Foreign Service agent offers assistance in Haiti earthquake

After graduating from Allegheny College in 2005, Dominic Randazzo found himself working for the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Agent to Haiti.

He has spent the last two years as part of the recovery effort in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, helping assist and evacuate nearly 16,000 Americans and putting the adoptions of 1,000 Haitian orphans into motion.

When the earthquake struck, Randazzo remembers being paralyzed with fear.

“I was in my newly built house with my wife and I was frozen,” Randazzo said. “My wife pulled me by the arm and we watched the area around us crumble to the ground. A mass of tidal wave whipped out from our neighbors pool. The entire quake lasted for 35 seconds and each second the quake got progressively worse and worse.”

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Randazzo and his wife immediately traveled to the overcrowded and overwhelmed hospital where they assisted doctors in giving medical treatment to the patients there. According to the couple, the island had also given the couple some of their most enjoyable memories in life.

“When we came back home from work in the afternoon, we would spend some time haggling with grocers in their native Creole,” he said. “We volunteered at the childrens’ orphanage and traveled throughout both Haiti and the Dominican Republic extensively. The beaches were especially beautiful.”

Randazzo said that working in this field has provided him with many interesting experiences that he wasn’t aware of as an undergraduate.

“I hope to interest students in applying for the Foreign Service,” Randazzo said. “They are still hiring many people. We have to tell very qualified students that this is an opportunity for them. It’s a great career.”

Randazzo was brought back to Allegheny as an alumni guest speaker by Dr. Shannon Mattiace, a political science professor who specializes in immigration.

“I personally know Randazzo very well,” said Mattiace. “He had three classes with me and when he was with us at Allegheny.  I have stayed in contact with him since he graduated in 2005 and when I heard he was coming back, I called him and asked him to speak.”

Randazzo said that Allegheny provided him with the opportunities, resources, and critical thinking skills that enabled him to perform his job well.

“When students hear of [Randazzo’s] experiences, they will understand that this is only one example of what an Allegheny education can help you become,” Mattiace said. “Every Allegheny student has the potential to become someone like him.”

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