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GGPS Student Profiles

Meet the Current Class

Meet our current graduate students and explore their diverse backgrounds and their unique experiences. Discover what they are currently doing in the program and what they plan to do in the future.

miguel

Stephanie Miguel

What led you to this program?

I graduated from Hamilton College as a double major in Communications and World Politics, with a concentration in International Law and Organization. The summer following my junior year, I received a grant to intern at a public affairs firm in D.C. and felt an instant connection with this vibrant city. While at Hamilton, I was a member of Model European Union and also volunteered at a local refugee center that helped prepare newly-arrived refugees for the transition into American society. Both of these roles were incredibly fulfilling and strengthened my desire to pursue an internationally-focused career path. After graduation, I seized an opportunity for international travel and signed a contract to play professional ice hockey in Ufa, Russia. When I returned home to Canada, I veered from a path heading directly to a degree in Law as I started delving into the rich curriculum that SIS offered in my areas of interest, namely international law, global security, and diplomacy. The wide array of courses opened my eyes to alternate careers that were much more in keeping with my career aspirations.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

Since arriving at SIS, I have been focused on developing a broad skillset and knowledge base to help support a career in the dynamic field of international affairs. Even difficult courses in international economics have proven to be both fascinating and very useful! I was also very fortunate to land a job at SIS' International Affairs Research Institute (IARI) which, in addition to being a great place to work, is giving me the opportunity to hone my research, writing, and editing skills. Lastly, I am a member of Global Politics Student Association (GPSA), the student organization dedicated to GGPS students. There are countless exciting opportunities available to students at SIS and one is limited only by lack of time!

Do you have any plans for this summer?

This summer, I will participate in the SIS Summer Abroad Program and spend part of the summer studying International Security and Intelligence at Cambridge University. Some of the courses I will take include UK Counter Terrorism, Cyberwarfare, Intelligence Ethics and Oversight, and WMD Proliferation. I cannot wait to get started! The program will prove to be invaluable as I look to complement my academic interests with a regional focus on the EU.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

After graduation, I plan to apply what I am learning as a student in the GGPS Program in a position such as a political analyst or consultant in either the private sector or with an international organization.

kean

Dylan Kean

What led you to this program?

I studied Political Science with an International Relations concentration and minored in Asia Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA (Go Rams!). Early on, I became enamored by the politics of East Asia and studied abroad in Beijing, China in the summer of 2010. That trip helped to shape my view of the world and gave me a taste for learning about other countries through person-to-person interactions. However, after presenting research at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference in Chicago, I knew that I also wanted to continue my formal education in graduate school. The GGPS program offered a certain level of flexibility in my studies, combining a political science, history and economics foundation with a professional focus on the role of global institutions. I knew that this program would provide me with more grounding in my field, but in a way that would also give me hands-on experience in D.C.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

Shortly after coming to AU, I joined the International Politics Student Organization (now called Global Politics Student Association) as its new treasurer. This made adapting to SIS so much easier by introducing me to many impressive and intelligent students whom I now call friends. It also opened the door to new opportunities, including working with Dr. Michael Schroeder as his research assistant. I have also spent the last several months with the wonderful SIS Graduate Admissions team, helping new and prospective students learn more about SIS.Since beginning in the fall, I have attended a dozen or so Southeast Asia events in D.C. and applied for internships in the think tank community. After months of hard work, this week I will start an internship at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, my top choice.

Do you have any plans for this summer?

This summer I will travel to Malaysia and Indonesia to study through SIS Abroad. For three weeks, I will be traveling and meeting with scholars and policymakers while learning as much as I can about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the unique role these two countries play in the region. The work I do abroad will also build towards my thesis, which I will be working on in the fall.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

My fiancé and I will make good on our promise to join the Peace Corps after graduation. Following that, I plan to pursue a PhD.

alexis

Alexis Rogers

What led you to this program? 

Before I came to SIS I attended Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA where I studied history with a concentration in British/American affairs. I studied in Newcastle, England for my junior year of undergraduate where I had the opportunity to meet and live with people from around the world. This experience started my interest in international affairs and global security. For the past year, I interned with a political consulting firm in Atlanta where I fed my curiosity for the political process and policy making. I knew DC was the perfect city to bring all of my subjects of interest together and had heard great things about American University's School of International Service. I chose the GGPS program because it allows you to tailor a graduate program specifically to your subject interests and because of its emphasis on global security matters.

What have you been doing since coming to the program? 

Since joining the SIS community I have been working as a graduate assistant for SIS Alumni Relations where I have had the opportunity to network with SIS alumni from various career fields. I have also had the unique opportunity of interning with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill. With this internship I have been able to sit in on hearings and meetings focused on some of the major conflicts of today and have focused my staff research on counter terrorism in North Africa and Latin America. This experience in particular has given me a real world application of international affairs and policy making. I was also recently elected as a senator for the SIS Graduate Student Council where I hope to get even further involved in SIS and GGPS.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? 

After I graduate I hope to work as a political analyst focusing on counter terrorism and counter narcotics particularly for North Africa or Latin America.

bela

Bela Pertiwi

What led you to this program?

I completed my undergraduate studies in International Relations back home in Indonesia. I was then working as a junior researcher at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in my home university and helping some of my previous professors at the Department of International Relations as a teaching assistant. Outside my academic life, I ran a youth organization dealing with post-disaster recovery and maintained my passion in culture by taking classes in classical Indonesian dances. I know that I want to pursue many things in my life, but I think I have come to a decision that I want to focus on academic career in the future. I have always been interested in international security. My interest in Southeast Asia was nurtured when I was working for the Center and realizing that most of the scholarly works on the region was written by non-Southeast Asian scholars. I know how powerful these ideas in shaping the history and the trajectory of my region; therefore I want to contribute shaping the region from the local perspective. I am so grateful that Fulbright has provided me with the opportunity to pursue higher degree here in the United States. I prefer AU because it is one of the best schools in international relations and located in the US Capital at the heart of the current global politics. Its GGPS program, particularly, offers courses that fit to my interest in security and Southeast Asia.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

I found that studying at AU is challenging and exciting at the same time. While I have to work extra miles to keep up with the course requirements, I enjoy how I gain more and more knowledge in every single class I take. The discussions are always rich as my friends who come from different backgrounds bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the class. In these three semesters, I took classes mostly on international security and Southeast Asia. The combination of issue and regional knowledge has brought me to work on my thesis on maritime territorial disputes in Southeast Asia. My supervisor, Professor Atzili, has always been a wonderful source of help during the process. In addition to the class activities, I take advantage of living in DC by attending various conferences related to my interest. I am glad that AU has an ASEAN Studies Center which actively arranges seminars related to Southeast Asia. I also joined the Southeast Asian Student Network (SEANET) to better connect with other students who share similar interest in the region. 

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I can’t wait to practice what I have learned in class! I plan to go back to Indonesia and secure a position in one of the universities. I plan to focus on developing maritime security study in Indonesia, which considering our status as a maritime country, has been ironically lagging behind.

inta

Inta Plostins

What led you to this program?

In 2011, I received an Honors History degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Between my third and fourth years at McGill, I interned at the U.S. embassy in Riga, Latvia. Very quickly, I realized I want to effect change in the present and in the future, not study the past. I decided to focus on International Security while in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina the summer after finishing my undergraduate studies, after seeing small kids having a ball running around and playing in half-destroyed war-torn buildings. When deciding which graduate program to attend, I chose SIS because of its good reputation for International Affairs and its Washington, DC location.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

I have taken advantage of SIS's study abroad resources to the fullest! I spent the spring semester of my first year in St. Petersburg, Russia at the School of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University. I then went straight to Tbilisi, Georgia, where I got an internship through SIS at Wings & Freeman, a private finance firm dealing mostly with OPIC loans. I also spent two weeks at one of SIS's summer programs, attending the 2013 Baku Summer Energy School in Azerbaijan and receiving AU credit for doing so.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am interested in private sector political risk analysis, especially in the energy field, or anything relating to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

andrew

Andrew Overton

What led you to this program?

Before starting at SIS, I was working as an editorial assistant at Vanguard Communications, a small public relations firm in downtown DC that works on various social issues. I was enjoying my work, but I wanted to get more exposure to international affairs. The IP program gave me more flexibility than other programs to start my studies part-time. Plus, I could shape a path specific for me.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

When I started my studies, I was working for a public relations firm, but about 18 months ago, I switched jobs and have been working as a communications officer for the British Embassy. Essentially, my job is to communicate British foreign policy to the American public. Not surprisingly, most of my work focuses on the Middle East, specifically Syria and Iran.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

While I'm very happy with my job at this time, eventually I would like to work for my own government. Ideally, I'd like to work for the State Department or USAID.