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GGPS Student Profiles

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.

Erin Greenwalt

Erin Greenwalt GGPS

What led you to the GGPS program?

I chose the Global Governance, Politics and Security (GGPS) Program, because academically, I am very interested in human security. I love that within the School of International Service I can pick and choose the classes I am most interested in to develop my understanding of the subject better.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

Since starting graduate school in GGPS, I have found that the professors in the program are always available. During this academic semester, I have talked to a few of them (they basically have an open door policy) to see how I can narrow down my area of study to and what classes would be most profitable for me to advance my academic goals. Professor Dan Schneider has already really helped me and has steered me toward really great books that have broadened my perspective on security and corruption.

 

Do you have any plans for the upcoming semesters?

This summer I am hoping to study aboard, maybe by taking advantage of the SIS practica programs. I think the practica that SIS provides are very valuable in that they not only allow students to gaim experience living abroad, but also add to students’ professional resume by demonstrating our experience to work abroad!

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Currently, I am still deciding on what I want to do after graduation. There is a strong possibility that I will get my PhD. On the other hand, the Washington, DC area has really prominent think-tanks that I would love to experience working in. Being from the Midwest, DC is remarkable and new to me, in that I have the opportunity to work with think-tanks or have the breadth of policy jobs that were previously not as attainable to me.

Zach Fedor

Zach Fedor GGPS

What led you to the GGPS program?

I studied Political Science and History as an undergraduate in Colorado and about a year before graduation, I realized that a Bachelor's degree would not be enough to get a job where I could combine my interests in security and political analysis.  Admittedly, I was partially influenced to pursue a degree in security after reading Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn novels (honestly, don't they make it sound cool?) So, after making the decision to apply to graduate school and getting accepted at American University, I had to make a choice on the program I wanted on my resume. I figured the GGPS program would allow me to take courses and meet others who had similar interests as me, as well as provide me with a good starting point for my future career endeavors. As it turns out, I was right about the program and the people. As for the Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn stuff, we shall see how that works out.

What have you been doing since coming to the program?

I have been working on my coursework, applying for internships, and attending a few discussions about various topics in the international arena. I have also made a lot of connections and talked to people who are willing to provide information about internships and potential future employment options. Finally, I have  gone to a few job fairs to get an idea of where I would like to apply, where my skill-set will be most valuable, and how well I'd fit into one of the organizations. 

Do you have any plans for the upcoming semesters?

For upcoming semesters, I plan to take care of the core coursework I still have to complete, as well as register for skills institutes, which are an integral part of the curriculum in the GGPS Program and the School of International Service as a whole.  Additionally, I plan on taking a summer course and continue to apply for internships. I have not really planned on studying abroad, but if the opportunity arises and it looks like it would be an invaluable experience relating to my career goals, I would not pass it up.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I will be looking for a job in the security field or in a think tank if I do not already have one lined up.

Stephanie Miguel

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.

Dylan Kean

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 Rogers

alexis

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.