Meet our current graduate students and explore the impressive and diverse backgrounds they bring to the IC and IM Programs.
Evan is a second year student in the International Communications Program at the School of International Service. He comes to Washington, DC having spent the last 5 years working as a Press Secretary and Communications Director for political campaigns from local to the national level. He has worked directly with Governors, Senators and Vice President Joe Biden. Evan’s interest in international relations lies in the political messaging that takes place between states, transnational corporations and global civil society organizations.
Amy is a second year International Communications student interested in Public Diplomacy, and the geopolitics of information. She currently works as a research associate in the COTELCO Research Lab on campus. At COTELCO, Amy works on the ASSANA Project (Accelerating Social Science Analysis for a New Age), which uses data-mining and content analysis software on large text-based datasets. Before coming to American University, Amy taught English in Thailand, and travelled in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, and Malaysia. Previously, she pursued a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University while working full-time as a sales representative in New York City. Her undergraduate degree is in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Renca is a second year graduate student in the International Communication Program with a focus on International Education. Previously, Renca studied English, Education, and Communication Studies at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Renca has traveled extensively, from France for a study abroad program, to Spain and Germany to work with youths who are deaf, then Thailand and Kenya to teach English to children who are deaf. Renca has experience working as a reporter in Granada, Spain and Munich, Germany. She was also the anchorwoman for the Deaf Olympics in Taipei, Taiwan a few years ago. Working with deaf communities through education and media increased her motivation to concentrate on International Education and to pursue her passion here at American University. After obtaining her degree, Renca hopes to work for the Peace Corps or for a non-profit organization in the deaf community outside of the U.S. and to work with young deaf people to promote leadership and education. She would also like to teach at the university level in the future. Renca believes her degree from American will provide her with many new opportunities in the future.
Claire is a second year student pursuing a Master’s in International Communication with a concentration in Public and Cultural Diplomacy. She currently works as a Teaching Assistant for an undergraduate course in Cross-Cultural Communication and also conducts research for American University on the impact of study abroad programs. Claire comes to DC from New York City after working for an educational tour operator where she managed and led travel programs for leading US cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Claire also worked in Public Programs at the American Museum of Natural History, as well as a communications consultant for La Casa Cultura Solidaria in Cusco, Peru. Her travel experience includes visits to Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Russia, Montenegro, and The United Arab Emirates. Additionally, she has lived in Italy, Costa Rica and Peru. Claire holds an undergraduate degree in History with a minor in Art History and concentrations in Anthropology and Fine Arts from Douglass College, Rutgers University.
Calvin is a second year graduate student in International Communication with a concentration in public diplomacy. He received his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Florida A & M University in 2010. As an undergraduate student, Calvin worked at the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, served as a Youth Programs Officer at several Air Force Bases in Europe and studied abroad in numerous countries. As a 2011 Charles B. Rangel Fellow, he will continue to improve the global landscape as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Prior to entering graduate school in 2011, he worked for the Department of State, U.S. Congress, Florida House of Representatives and the Mayor’s office in Orlando, Florida. Calvin aspires to work in the Horn of Africa, while focusing on issues related to human rights, communication behavior and conflict resolution. Calvin lives by the mantra, “In a decisive moment, you can either define the moment or let the moment define you.” He encourages those who seek positive change to define every moment of life.
Faye is a second year graduate student in the International Communication program and is exploring specializations in Cross-cultural and Health Communication, as well as Arabic language and her passion for the Middle East. Faye was thrilled to be accepted to American University for its stellar academic background and location in Washington, DC, as well as its breadth of educational options. Faye completed her undergraduate studies at Penn State University in Integrative Arts, with a concentration in architecture. Her work as a conversation partner and event volunteer with Literacy Network eventually led her to an internship with the organization’s Community Literacy program. This position involved designing lesson plans for English as a Second Language students at a myriad of levels and backgrounds, coordinating volunteers and students, and teaching ESL classes.
Caitlin is a second year student in the IC Program specializing in Public Diplomacy. When not in class, she works with Professor Levinson on cutting-edge topics in social enterprise and communication for developing countries. Caitlin hails from the suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from Syracuse University in 2010 with a degree in International Relations and German. During her senior year at Syracuse she wrote an Honors thesis that integrated diplomacy and language, entitled "Man vs. Machine: Interpreting the Ambiguities in Diplomatic Negotiations", which served as a starting point for some possible career fields. Before joining the IC Program, Caitlin worked as an annuity specialist with Prudential Financial and as a bilingual nanny a German family. Caitlin was excited to join the IC Program at AU, and plans to study how linguistics relates to strategic communication. She believes that the heart of international relations is communications, and draws inspiration from the quote: "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." Caitlin hopes to find a place where she can mitigate this illusion and foster true communication in her future work.
Chantel is a graduate student in the International Communication program, in the School of International Service. Upon entering American University in 2011, Chantel came with wealth of international experience, which included working and studying in over 10 countries. As an undergraduate, she discovered her passion for international affairs when she joined student leaders from across the country for a two-week educational mission to Israel. Learning about the issues “up, close and in real-time” motivated Chantel to get more involved in the global community. In 2008, she participated in the Washington Semester Program (WSP) and traveled throughout Western Europe to study international law and organizations. Chantel credits WSP for inspiring her to pursue a Masters at American University. After completing her B.A. however, she decided to wait a year before applying to graduate school in favor of gaining more work experience. Acting on that desire, Chantel accepted an internship with an NGO in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Z'leste Wanner is a second year IC student interested in innovation, entrepreneurship and global knowledge sharing through multi-stakeholder collaboration. Over the summer she was selected as a Graduate Leaders Fellow by the Council of Women World Leaders to complete an internship with the World Economic Forum in Geneva focusing on Special Constituent engagement. Prior to beginning her Masters she worked in San Francisco with an entrepreneur to develop two startup companies in online entertainment and alternative health focusing on communications and business development. Z’leste has close to 4 years experience in South America, living in Santiago, Chile working as an English teacher and translator and for an executive education and professional development company, and also volunteering with social development programs in Colombia and Brazil. She holds a Bachelors degree in Global Studies, Socioeconomics and Politics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Ginnie is an current International Media student, at American University. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in broadcast journalism. During her undergraduate education, she studied abroad in both Ghana and China. After completing her degree in 2008, she joined the Peace Corps where she served in Kenya as an education volunteer for deaf communities until 2011. While in the Peace Corps, she worked to create a strategic health campaign for populations who are deaf in Kenya. In the future she hopes to manage communications for a non-profit organization, with particular interest in the use of social media in the developing world.
Shayna is a second year IC student currently pursuing a self-designed concentration in international business communication, and has a sub-interest in Cultural Diplomacy. She is a Lead Project Coordinator and Research Associate at the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO), housed in the School of International Service. She is also a member of the International Communication Student Forum (ICSF). Shayna came to American University after five years as a producer, writer, and actress in New York City. She has also lived in Italy where she studied, performed, and taught theatre and English in Reggio Emilia, Padova, Arezzo, Spoleto, and Florence. Shayna grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and Singapore, and has travelled extensively throughout South Asia. These experiences greatly influenced Shayna's commitment to doing work on an global scale. Shayna holds a BFA in Theatre Arts and a Minor in Italian Studies from Boston University.
Tara Ashraf must have missed the day when a life GPS was given to each baby. Her constant twists and turns have taught her a sense of direction with many exciting zig zags.
She was born in Miami, Florida, and moved to Buffalo, New York, about fourteen years ago. As she grew, so did her appreciation and admiration for languages. As an undergraduate in college, she majored in three distinct areas: Spanish, Communication/Journalism, and English, but needed how to figure out how to combine all three in a succinct way. She speaks and writes in four languages, English, Spanish, Urdu, and basic formal Arabic.
But her enthusiasm doesn't just cover her classes (or her love for coffee- but that's a story for another time); she genuinely enjoys the activities she does outside of the classroom as well. She has worked for Buffalo Thoracic for eight years, and the St. John Fisher College Store (both of which make for great stories). She volunteered for the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, with an incredible staff and a truly under-represented cause. She was a captain of the Alumni subcommittee of the Teddi Dance for Love, which benefits children with cancer. She interned at the National Defense University, which taught her the power of language as a communication. Through the completion of the internship, she has refined excellent communication skills and a propensity for dealing with all sorts of people. Her work involved daily interaction with military and civilian government officials from the Near East South Asian region. She also worked on changing and developing technology.
She began a degree in International Media at American University in 2011. She works on campus at the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning, and interns at the Department of Treasury.
While she never stops moving, she wouldn't have it any other way.