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AU Brussels | Alumni Profiles


Graduates of the European Union in Action Program have gone on to become policy makers, diplomats, government officials, national security professionals, lawyers, journalists, researchers, university professors, international business people, and a wide variety of other professionals building on the skills they learned in Brussels. Who have these alumni become? Read on below.

Recent Graduates

Carlos Vera

Spring 2014

While in Brussels, Carlos interned with a Member of European Parliament, Peter Stastny. During his internship he was able to draft speeches for Mr. Stastny and attend meetings on the EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Living in Brussels made Carlos realize that he wants to pursue a career abroad. He credits his internship at Parliament with helping him secure his current internship back in the United States with the Executive Office of the President. As a member of the BA/MPA cohort in the School of Public Affairs, Carlos will graduate in 2016 with a Bachelors in Political Science and Masters in Public Administration. He is still very close with his Brussels homestay family. Carlos is hoping to return to Brussels next summer with the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute program.

Desiree Maruca

Spring 2012

While in Belgium, Desiree interned with an international business organization that represented the interests of U.S. based companies to Members of the European Parliament. With a new passion for transatlantic trade and business relations, Ms. Maruca began an internship with The European Institute upon her return to Washington, D.C. At American University, Desiree completed a B.A. in International Studies, followed the next year by an M.A. in International Business and Trade Policy for the European Union. Today, Desiree works for the AU Abroad office in Washington, DC and is anxiously awaiting her opportunity to return to Brussels and the realm of European trade policy.

EU Affairs Professionals

Kate Benetti

Fall 2004

Kate Benetti graduated from American University in 2006. She earned her Masters at the College of Europe in Bruges. Owing in part to her international experience in both Washington and Brussels, she became a Robert Schuman Fellow in the European Parliament’s Transatlantic Relations Unit in the Directorate General for External Policy. She worked for a British MEP, at first focusing on his work in the US Delegation, but later expanded her work to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. She worked primarily on legislation that dealt with insurance and competition issues which lead her to be heavily involved in work on the Single Market and the creation of a level playing field between Member States. She moved to London to start working as a Senior Manager for EU Public Affairs for Standard Life. She leads on outreach and advocacy to Brussels in the fields of insurance, pensions, and asset management. She uses her experience from her time as a student in Brussels every day.


Agnieszka Lukaszczyk

Spring 2004

Agnieszka Lukaszczyk works at the Policy and Space Research Unit, Directorate General Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission. She is the former Brussels Office Director of The Secure World Foundation and the Chairperson of the Space Generation Advisory Council in Support of the UN Programme on Space Applications (SGAC). A Polish/American national, Agnieszka is based in Brussels working on the European space policy and space security as well as the United Nations (UN) space activities covering the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Agnieszka also serves as the Vice President - Europe for the World Space Week and sits on the boards of SGAC and Women in Aerospace Europe. 

Agnieszka holds a Masters degree from the American University School of International Service in International Politics and a Bachelor degree in Political Science from the University of Tennessee. She also studied at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium; the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and the World Trade Institute in Berne, Switzerland.

Marta Zoldaz

Spring 2006

Marta received her degree in International Studies from the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC in 2007. During her time at American, she spent one semester in Santiago, Chile and another in Brussels, Belgium. The experience in Brussels inspired her to pursue a career in European Union Affairs. After graduating from AU, she went to the College of Europe where she acquired a MA Degree in European Union Studies.

Marta started her career interning at the European Parliament and then joined Burson-Marsteller (B-M), a global public affairs agency, in February 2009. At B-M, she provides clients with lobbying, stakeholder mobilisation and communication activities on a variety of issues linked to European Union environment policies.


Ron Hawkins

Fall 1993

Ron Hawkins graduated from AU in 1995 with a BA in International Studies then again in 1997 with a Masters in International Affairs. While in graduate school he interned at the Department of State resulting in a Civil Service position upon graduation. The events of September 11, 2001 solidified his decision to join the Foreign Service in order to promote better understanding of the United States overseas. His assignments thus far have included, Algiers, Algeria, Reykjavik, Iceland, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Washington, DC, and Khartoum, Sudan. He is currently in training for his next position as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. Participation in the Brussels program really deepened his interest in global affairs, especially relations with Europe, and afforded him the opportunity to do one of his favorite things--travel.

Elyse Stines

Spring 2008

Elyse received a BA from the American University’s School of International Service in 2009, where she focused on International Development and U.S. Foreign Policy and minored in Women and Gender Studies. Elyse then pursued an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, with a specialization in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and Reconstruction - an interest sparked by her participation in the Brussels program and a trip to the Balkans. The AU program in Brussels opened her eyes to complex, multidimensional global trends and the role international servants can play in working to resolve perennial dilemmas. Elyse applied for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship and the Foreign Service. Several years and two State Department internships later, Elyse joined the 163rd A-100 Foreign Service class as a Political Officer. She recently completed her first Diplomatic assignment in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she spent one year as a Consular Officer and one year as the Human Rights Officer. Elyse's next assignment is Cairo, Egypt.

Luke Falcon Sapp

Spring 2009

Luke Falcon Sapp is a foreign affairs officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Office of Security and Human Rights. While studying the EU in Brussels, he traveled extensively during the semester, discovering that world politics was something that he could be interested in. He was particularly struck by the legacy of human rights violations from the European and World Wars of yesteryear. The program visits to the memorial of massacre of Srebrenica and Herzegovina gave him an emotional and moral experience that changed his life and drove his desire to pursue human rights and democracy work. When he returned to the States, Luke interned for: California Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Association; Office of U.S. Congressman Harry Teague; the U.S. Helsinki Commission; the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the U.S. Department of State’s European Affairs office within DRL.

As a person who was rejected from the State Department internship process three times and who has also been a full time civil servant foreign affairs officer since October 2011, Luke recognizes the amount of luck and timing that played a role in his experience and provides his own life as an example to budding diplomats.

National Security Professionals

Maureen Campbell

Spring 2005

Maureen Campbell works within the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where she deals with strategy and policy coordination within the agency and across the intelligence community. Prior to working for the Navy, Ms. Campbell was an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, specializing in cyber-security, privacy policy, and program analysis. Ms. Campbell also gained experience in international relations and security as intern at the State Department, International Development Systems (an international trade firm), and the Department of Commerce. Ms. Campbell received a B.A. in International Studies from American University and a M.A. in European and Eurasian Studies from George Washington University. As a student, Ms. Campell interned at the U.S. Mission to NATO.

Picture of Craig Strongberg

Craig Stronberg

Spring 1994

Craig graduated American University with a bachelor's degree in history, followed a year later by a master's degree in American history. He spent the better part of the next 20 years working for the US Government providing expert analytic perspectives to senior US policymakers and the US military on a variety of subjects to include counterterrorism and counterintelligence. He also specialized at enhancing security for the hosts many of the world's largest events such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games. Craig served as a visiting speaker on the EU and NATO for the National Defense University in Washington, DC for 10 years. He now works in the private sector. In March 2013 Craig was awarded national distinction by the Director of National Intelligence for his work in creating and publishing the 2011 Economic Espionage Report.

Government Officials

Picture of AU alumni Ron Baumgarten

Ron Baumgarten

Fall 1991

Ron Baumgarten has been with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative since 2007. He began his career at USTR as an Associate General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel. Ron became a Director in USTR's Office of Agricultural Affairs in August and is responsible for developing and implementing agricultural trade policies involving Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. Prior to working with the government, Ron was an attorney at Covington & Burling and Baker Hostetler in the District. Ron graduated from AU in 1993 (summa cum laude) with a degree in international relations and economics. Ron also holds a J.D. from Boston University and was a Rotary Scholar at the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg, France.

Picture of AU Alumni Drew Nickels

Drew Nickels

Spring 2002

Drew Nickels is an analyst at the Department of Energy (DOE). The office represents and oversees of the entire DOE complex, including over twenty DOE and national laboratory facilities nationwide.

Prior to working at DOE, Mr. Nickels was a foreign affairs specialist at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Office of Nonproliferation and International Security focusing on policy, export controls, and scientist engagement. Mr. Nickels also served as a senior policy advisor on chemical, biological, nuclear issues at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Policy.

University and a M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University. in Brussels he interned with the Defense Operations Division at the U.S. Mission to NATO. Mr. Nickels previously interned at the Department of State covering conventional arms control, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute.


Picture of AU Brussels alumni Sam Garrett

R. Sam Garrett

Fall 1998

R. Sam Garrett holds a Ph.D. in political science, M.P.A. and B.A. (summa cum laude), all from American University’s School of Public Affairs. He serves as Specialist in American National Government at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sam was selected as a 2005 Presidential Management Fellow. Sam continues to teach at AU as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Government. He is also a research fellow at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. Prior to joining CRS, Sam served as a visiting instructor in AU’s Department of Government and as Assistant Director for Research at CCPS. He is the author of Campaign Crises: Detours on the Road to Congress (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010). Sam and his wife, Karen, live in Washington, D.C.

Picture of AU Brussels alumni Shawn Bates

Shawn Bates

Spring 1993

Mr. Bates earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and an M.A. International Communication from American University. He is an international lawyer, mediator, educator and trainer with over 15 years of experience in the international arena. He is currently Assistant Professor in the School of International Service, and the Director of the Chile/Argentina Summer Law Program for the Washington College of Law. Prof. Bates was the founder and former Academic Director for American University’s Washington Semester Program in International Law and Organizations. He designed and led a study tour of Western Europe and international legal institutions for American University students. In addition to teaching, Prof. Bates is actively involved with the American Bar Association and the American Society for International Law (ASIL). He is a frequent lecturer on cross-cultural conflict and mediation, as well as an advisor to various multilateral institutions. His primary research interests are in Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Green Infrastructure Development and intercultural communication.

Business Leaders

Picture of Matthew Klinger

Matthew Klinger

Spring 1994

Matthew Klinger serves as the Advisory Board Company’s (NASDAQ – ABCO) Senior Vice President of Finance and Executive Director. In his role, Matthew oversees the firm’s revenue and budget operations and projections. Matthew assists in strategic planning across the divisions and also creates models for the firm’s acquisitions and partnerships.

Before coming to the Advisory Board in 1997, Matthew worked in various capacities with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom specializing on projects to turn around struggling Trusts in the north of England.

Matthew graduated from American University in 1995 with BA in International Studies. He won the Marshall Scholarship to continue his studies in the United Kingdom where he earned a Masters in European Economics from Bradford University and Masters of Business Administration from Imperial College. He currently lives in Arlington Virginia with his wife Michelle and his sons Andrew and Ryan.

Picture of the Belgian flag waving from a building
AU Brussels alumni are very proud of their experiences in Belgium.