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Meet the Students of EPGA

Blessing Ikpa

Head shot of Blessings, and EPGA student.

Blessing Anthony Nyong Ikpa, 22, is a current graduate student in the Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs Program at American University's School of International Service. She is passionate about social justice, human rights and global affairs. Blessing has experience in administration, event planning, the non-profit sector, networking and research.

She completed her Senior Honors Thesis and OU McNair Scholars research titled: "Defining the Concept of Intersectionality Within Academia", which focused on the experiences of Black female faculty in academia. Ikpa also presented her research at numerous conferences on race and education

Valentine Gilson

Headshot of Valentine Gilson, an EPGA student.

Valentine is a first year EPGA-SIS. Currently she is a GA for SIS and the Director of Submissions for the Journal of International Service. She got her undergraduate degree in International Relations and Global Studies with a concentration in International Security at the University of Texas at Austin where she studied abroad at SciencesPo, focusing on War Ethics, in fall of 2015. She graduated with her BA in 2016 and came straight to American University. She always knew that she wanted to go to AU for her graduate studies because of JFK and his Peace Speech at an AU commencement address during the Cold War. She knew that she wanted to go to a school with service minded individuals that would challenge her and help her grow. In the future she wants to run for the House of Representatives in Texas and see where that takes her career. 

Nicole Rouhani

Portrait of Nicole Rouhani, an EPGA student.

My name is Nicole Rouhani and I am a first year student in the EPGA program, concentrating on human rights and social justice. I am originally from Las Vegas, but have lived in DC for four years now. Prior to being a full-time grad student, I was an undergrad at American University's School of International Service, majoring in International Studies. During my junior year at AU, I was invited to apply for the combined BA/MA program in SIS and, upon applying, was accepted. During my senior year at AU, I was officially enrolled in the EPGA program in SIS and began my grad school career while simultaneously finishing my undergrad career. The combined BA/MA program lets students complete one semester of grad school while still an undergrad. Upon graduating with my BA in International Studies at AU in May of 2016, I also had one semester of the EPGA grad program completed. This is my first year in the program, but, unlike most first-year EPGA students, I am in my second semester, rather than my first. I will graduate in December of 2017.

Jacob Ryder

Photo of Jacob Ryder, an EPGA student, in front of a cityscape.

Jacob Ryder is a second year EPGA student, concentrating on transitional justice in countries working to end violent conflicts. During his first semester, he and some of his fellow classmates attended the 2015 Peace and Justice Studies Association annual conference and participated in discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Black Lives Matter movement, structural violence in Rwanda and careers in peace activism. He was also involved with Alternative Breaks and went to Brazil where he and his group learned and worked in local community groups and activists fighting for basic services in lower income favelas of Rio de Janeiro. After graduation, he aspires to work for USAID or a UN human rights advocacy group fighting to reduce poverty and prevent humanitarian disasters. To find out more about Jacob read his interview with our very own SEPCA! 

Degree Requirements

See the complete EPGA degree requirements