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Meet the Global Scholars

Allison, SIS/BA '14


It is ironic, in a way, that I knew I wanted to be a Global Scholar the minute I heard about the program, considering I had lived sixteen out of my seventeen years in the US., and was therefore not very global. After living in France for one year, I knew I wanted to study and work in international relations. And here was an accelerated program that promised exactly what I needed to get there – special classes and attention, summer study abroad opportunities, a community of peers – and all in Washington D.C.! But after two wonderful semesters at American University, I embarked on a new adventure and decided to study abroad. I went to study abroad in Cambridge for the summer and Brussels for the fall. In Cambridge, I saw first-hand how academics on the far side of the pond really regard emerging threats to global security. Brussels, on the other hand, has been completely different, but also an incredible experience. Here I spend half my week learning all about the European Union, and the other half I spend getting practical experience with EU contracts. I have always been fascinated by diplomacy in international relations in the context of conflict, and it has been truly extraordinary to see how real an effect the European Union institutions have had on peace in the region. But even after my fantastic time studying abroad, I cannot wait to get back to life at American University - my clubs, sorority sisters, and of course, my lovely fellow Global Scholars!

Anjali, SIS/BA '15


Being a part of the Global Scholars program is a huge honor for me. I was drawn to this program not only because of its high academic standards, but also because of the incredible opportunities that Global Scholars have both in DC and also internationally. As an international citizen, I have always felt that being aware of inter-country social, environmental, economic, and cultural relations are critical to understanding the way the world functions around us. After spending a year abroad both in India and England after high school, I was excited to become a part of a community of other international citizens who were just as excited about making a difference as I was. In India specifically, I worked at a school in Jodhpur that educates children who have disabilities due to polio. These disabled children are ostracized by their villages and kicked out of their homes simply because of their physical conditions. Our main goal is to ensure that these children have equal education opportunities as students who do not suffer from physical disabilities. Though the rest of my work during my gap year was fascinating, my experience in India inspired and empowered me to pursue an education in international service. I was so excited when I met the rest of the Global Scholars – they were just as inspired and energetic as I felt!

Brock, SIS/BA '14


Originally, I wasn’t sure about applying to the Global Scholars Program; completing a BA in three years just seemed like too great of a feat to accomplish. However, once I was accepted and truly began to realize how unique this program is (and how much it was going to save me financially), I decided to put my trust in the program and see what it had to offer. Little did I know the Global Scholars Program would go on to far exceed even my wildest expectations. The program faculty members deeply and actively care about the needs, interests, concerns and general well-being of the students. This support, together with the warm community atmosphere, are my two favorite things about the program. This past summer, I had the opportunity through the Global Scholars Program to travel with a small cohort of Global Scholar students to Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Costa Rica to study international environmental politics and international development. This was truly a trip of a lifetime! Next semester, I’ll be presenting an international relations research paper that I completed last semester in a Global Scholars section of an introductory research course at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research with Professor Knight as my faculty mentor. It is such a great opportunity to be able to have the support of the Global Scholar Program not only in pursuing my unique research interests, but also in the presentation of this research on a national level. I will also be interning downtown next semester at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the Development office. Overall, I in no way feel rushed or cheated out of the college experience. Actually, being part of the Global Scholars Program and through the program’s support, I am able to experience more from college than I could ever imagine!

Yuyang, SIS/BA '15


As an international student from China, studying in a university in the United States is a big move in my life. However, when I received my admission letter and found out that I was accepted to the Global Scholars Program, I chose American University without hesitation. The Global Scholars Program is far more than a three-year BA program. It gathers a group of ambitious students who come from various backgrounds, yet share a similar passion for bringing about positive changes to our world. As part of the Global Scholars Program, I have access to exclusive Study Abroad Programs and foundation courses, support from the faculty in designing my three-year study plan, as well as various additional activities outside the classroom that give me real world applications in the field of International Relations. As a Global Scholar, I have the opportunity to design and decide my own educational path. I picked this unique program to help pave my future, and I know it is going to be a fantastic three years here!

Anthony, SIS/BA '16

Anthony DeSantis

The Global Scholars Program is a family made of people who have been curious about absolutely everything for their entire lives. The passion with which I study international relations, for example, is deeply rooted in my experiences growing up in a predominantly South American neighborhood in the Miami metropolitan area, one of the many vibrant multicultural intersections here in the United States. Something crucial exists beyond all of that, though. Connection. Joining this family of Global Scholars has allowed me to connect with peers who, while sharing my interests, each bring something new to the conversation. This connection extends itself to the wonderful professors and faculty who guide my peers and me toward heightened understandings of the world every single day.

What's more? Living in the heart of our nation's capital means living in one of the finest classrooms available 24/7. All of these aspects have combined to give me what I wanted more than anything out of my college experience: opportunity. Just in my first semester, the Global Scholars Program has opened the door for me to network with high-profile individuals such as human rights activist, John Prendergast, as well as with specialists and analysts at distinguished institutions like the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. I have also managed to "fall" into a challenging and rewarding internship with the U.S. Department of Education. I do not know where I would be or what I would be doing without the knowledge and support I have received from my family in the Global Scholars Program, and to be perfectly honest, I cannot think of a better group of people to find myself with on this journey toward serving the global community.

Gabrielle, SIS/BA '16

Gabrielle Ross

During my senior year of high school, I was one of the few lucky ones that found their sense of direction early. Already knowing that I wanted to major in international studies made my college search process fairly simple. For me, the School of International Service made American University an obvious choice; the Global Scholars Program, however, turned it into my dream school. I am the type of person who wants to get out there and work in the field as soon as possible, so the idea of getting a BA in only 3 years is extremely appealing to me. I really want the cohort experience and the chance to be surrounded by people who share my interests, yet are also incredibly diverse in their backgrounds and viewpoints. Although I come from the average, overwhelmingly white, suburban town, I have been diagnosed with wanderlust from an early age, which greatly shaped my world view. Having been fortunate enough to travel to some extraordinary places, from China to Iceland to Peru to Turkey, I was able to see cultures and circumstances so different from my own. This eventually transformed into a passion for international development, which has only grown since I’ve been at AU.

Although I hope to study in India next spring semester, the incredible advantages of living in DC drew me to the program as well. Whether it is trick-or-treating on Embassy Row or attending a fascinating court hearing, the chances to learn are everywhere. This semester, I am also interning with an organization called Running Start, which works to get more young women into politics. Although it has a national, rather than a global focus, I already feel it’s given me phenomenal nonprofit experience which I will no doubt be using later. The opportunities here are truly endless. My expectations for this program were set very high, and I am happy to say that I have yet to be disappointed. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this semester will hold!

Tanya, SIS/BA '16

Tanya Smith-Sreen

The Global Scholars program was created for individuals like the ones I’ve grown to know and love: people who are genuinely passionate about enacting some type of change in this world. I have always been interested in the realm of international development and other global issues, and since my parents work for USAID, I have lived outside the US for a majority of my life. The program sets you on the path of acting upon your interests, as professors, like Professor Knight and Professor Nicholson, and your classmates motivate you to be your best and become involved in all you find important. One aspect of the program I really love is the Living Learning Community, which means I am able to live on the same floor as the people in my program. A type of solidarity is formed from the 2 AM debates over how women are perceived in the workplace and studying for our cohort classes. I don’t think this bond would be the same had we just lived on the same floor and not been in the same program. The program gives us a sense of belonging that truly makes AU feel like home.  

While we are all in the field of IR, I love the plethora of interests present in our program, as we are all passionate about different areas of IR and different regions of the world. I’ve learnt so much not only during class but also outside of it. Being part of a rigorous program has motivated me to become involved in the AU community as well. Currently I’m part of Dignity 4 Women, Fotosynthesis (a club working to break down stereotypes, we’re trying to become a non-profit), The Vagina Monologues, the South Asian Student Association and DC Reads. Where else could I get a mix like this? I get to combine the opportunities both DC and the Global Scholars program provide me to create an incredibly personalized and spectacular experience.

Become a Global Scholar

To find out more about admissions requirements and the application process, visit the Global Scholars Application page.