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International Communication | Class of 2014

Meet the Class of 2014

Meet our current graduate students and explore the impressive and diverse backgrounds they bring to the IC and IM Programs.

Ryan Dalton

Ryan is a second-year student in the International Communication Program at the School of International Service with a concentration in Technology, Culture and Development. Prior to AU, he spent two years (2010-2012) in Togo, West Africa, serving as a Business, IT and Communication Development Specialist in the United States Peace Corps. Among numerous projects, he collaborated on a marketing strategy with Peace Corps Togo's administration to raise awareness of its volunteers' activities by interviewing with national radio and TV (in French and in Éwe, a local language). Ryan received his BA in Public Communication at Truman State University in 2008 and has a background in publishing, editing, design, journalism and radio operations and production. While Dr. Gary Weaver's TA, he created and launched Intercultural Management Quarterly's design and edited Dr. Weaver's new book, Intercultural Relations. Ryan currently works at National Democratic Institute on its Central and West Africa team.

Kristie Conserve

Kristie is a second-year International Communication student with a concentration in public diplomacy and international education. She has experience in public diplomacy programming for U.S. embassies through the Bureau of International Information Programs in the U.S. Department of State. Kristie has also worked with nonprofit organizations like the National Council for International Visitors and World Learning, where she supported programming for foreign professionals visiting the United States as participants in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Kristie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, with a concentration in Advertising, and a minor in French from Florida State University. Upon graduation, Kristie spent 2 years working in France as an elementary and high school English teacher. Before coming to American University, she worked as a legal assistant. Kristie is looking forward to spending the Spring 2014 semester in the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

Olga Sevcuka

Olga is a second-year student in International Communication with a concentration in Intercultural Training and Exchange. She received her Bachelor's Degrees in Global and International Studies and Spanish from the University of Kansas, where she also served as a Student Ambassador for international students. Previously, she interned with the Department of Education and worked on international education quality and policy within the APEC region. She also served on the Communications and External Affairs team at an advocacy nonprofit called the Data Quality Campaign, where she designed a social media strategy and policy for the organization. Her professional intercultural experiences include her work with international students and facilitating an intercultural dialogue group and her interest in the subject stems from her personal experience as a first generation immigrant to the United States.

Renata Aguilera-Titus

Renata is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication program. After completing her undergraduate degree at Loyola University in Maryland, she joined Jesuit Volunteer Corp Northwest. During her year of service, Renata served the Latin American immigrant community in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Upon concluding her year of service, Renata returned to the Washington, DC area to work as a Bilingual Intake Coordinator at the DC Bar Pro Bono Program.

Una Hrnjak

Una is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication program and is exploring designing her own concentration with a focus in International Economic Development. Una completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University of Ohio with a BA in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs and a Minor in Women's Studies. Currently, Una works as a Senior Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton on a global health investment project in the Middle East and North Africa Region. Una has a passion for international development and is currently helping the firm build out the "Diplomacy and International Development" submarket. She is originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina. After escaping the war with her family, Una lived in Croatia and Germany until she was 10 years old. Her family moved to America when Una was in the 6th grade. Una enjoys traveling back home to the Balkans regularly. She speaks fluent Serbo-Croatian and hopes to regain full fluency in German one day.

Dianna Alexander-Oates

Dianna is a second-year graduate student in International Communication. She received her bachelors from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and has spent the last two years working as a legal assistant in her home state of Texas.Though her academic background is in English Literature/Creative Writing, Dianna has had ten years of experience in citizen diplomacy through Fort Worth Sister Cities International -- experience which includes being home-hosted by families in Mexico, Japan, and Germany. The IC program allows Dianna to combine this cultural education with her love of the arts and passion for diplomacy. Her current research interests include the utilization of cultural identities imbedded in media such as film and music towards diplomatic ends in South Asia, and the impact that the global exchange of such media can have on political perceptions in that region.

Elaine Clayton

Elaine Clayton 

Elaine is a second-year graduate student in the International Communications program focused on intercultural relations and strategic communications, including intercultural training and education. She spent the summer of 2013 interning at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland where she increased her interest in public and cultural diplomacy. During her first year, Elaine completed extensive research into virtual intercultural exchanges, worked as a stay-in-school intern in the Office of Global Food Security at the Department of State, and traveled whenever she found the time. Elaine has been a pathways intern since the summer of 2011, moving from facilitating seminars at the Foreign Service Institute to learning communication skills in the Office of Recruitment and Outreach. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a double major in Cultural Anthropology and International Relations, including a semester spent abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Elaine enjoys exploring the outdoors, DC in general and has taken up blogging. She hopes to spend her life facilitating intercultural understanding between all, in whatever capacity comes her way.

Erin Robinson

Erin is a second-year International Communication graduate student within the School of International Service at American University. She has solid experience in multi-media journalism, managing of branded social media accounts, and content management systems through internships she has held with Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, PolicyMic, and Voice of America. In her studies in SIS, Erin has developed her own concentration. This semester, she will intern with the U.S. State Department's International Information Program Bureau. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Erin worked as an English teacher in Yokote, Japan for two years as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program. During her time in Japan, she became proficient in Japanese. Furthermore through her coursework, Erin has kept East Asia as her region of interest. She received her BA from University of Notre Dame where she studied sociology, Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy, and gender studies. Ultimately, she would like to be a lifestyles/entertainment journalist and editor as well as a "Today Show" regular contributor.

Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin is a second-year MA candidate in the IC program, interested in international education and intercultural training. She is a recent graduate from Lebanon Valley College where she triple majored in Sociology, English Communications and International Studies. As an undergraduate she spent time conducting research on study abroad and the internationalization of higher education. Caitlin has studied and worked abroad at the Center for European Studies in Maastricht, Netherlands as well as interning for the Washington Internship Institute and the Forum on Education Abroad. This fall she will begin interning for the Foreign Service Institute and next spring she plans to finish her program.

Miranda Patterson

Miranda is a second-year IC student originally from North Carolina. She received her bachelor's degree in Global Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. During her undergraduate career, she served as an English teacher at an orphanage in rural Uganda and taught about her experiences, in addition to international issues in K-12 classrooms in the Chapel Hill area. Before arriving to SIS, Miranda spent her entire summer travelling the globe visiting Brazil, Spain, Morocco and Japan. She is interested in how countries abroad view the US and how to effectively practice public diplomacy in an increasingly technological society. During the Summer of 2013, she completed an internship at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of International Information Programs where she worked on European issues. As a 2012 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellow, Miranda will go on to become a Foreign Service Officer upon graduation.

Yuzzy "Gaina" Dubuisson

Gaina is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication Program with a concentration in Human Security. As an undergraduate student, she focused on U.S. foreign policy and was awarded the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship in 2011. Before entering the IC Program, Gaina helped begin “Haiti in Transition (H.i.T),” a youth-lead non-profit organization that is registered to operate in both the United States and Haiti. Gaina’s traveling experiences include backpacking throughout Israel as a U.S. youth ambassador, traveling throughout Europe, living and volunteering in Haiti, and studying at the University of Havana in Cuba. Gaina speaks Haitian Creole, French and Spanish. She looks forward to serving and representing the United States of America as a Foreign Service Officer after graduating.

Amber Massey

Amber is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication program and plans to explore the impact of media on cultural memory, identity, and nation-building. Amber has 8 years of communications experience in Washington; she has worked at Amnesty International and is currently an editor at a Washington-based communications consulting firm. Amber graduated from Vassar College in New York where she studied social psychology as well as Islamic and Judaic traditions in Africa. Her regional focus is North Africa and the Sahel.

Lívia Pontes Fialho

Lívia is a second-year International Communication student interested in Public Diplomacy and Intercultural Relations. She comes to American University from Northeastern Brazil with an undergraduate degree in Communication - Journalism, and experience in the newsroom and in public relations. She has always been interested in the relationship between International Affairs and Communication, and combined those two areas in her undergraduate thesis, entitled "Iran and Foreign Policy in the Lula Admnistration", analyzing the role of media in Brazilian diplomatic affairs. She hopes to work for leading international organizations, and looks forward to benefitting from the wealth of opportunities the IC program has to offer.

Brittany Lehr

Brittany is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication program. Originally from Keene, NH, Brittany holds a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Business Studies from Providence College and an M.A. in Spanish with a specialization in Hispanic Cultural Studies from Central Connecticut State University. As an undergraduate, Brittany spent a year at the Center for Modern Languages at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain, and during her first Master’s Degree spent a summer studying in Salamanca, Spain. From these experiences she has developed a strong interest in international exchange as a means of fostering global mutual understanding. While in the International Communication program, Brittany will focus on International Education and Cultural Diplomacy.

ERICA FREUND

Erica Freund is a second year student in the International Communications program. She is interested in contributing to research focusing on International Education & Exchange, student mobility and TCKs(third culture kids). She received a Bachelors in Culture and Communication from DePaul University in Chicago where she had the opportunity to work closely with international students in the United States as well as be an international student at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium. She also had a brief stint in the world of International Politics through interning with the Hungarian Delegation of the European Union Parliament. Her past research focus has been on trends of international education and its role within cultural diplomacy, its impact of the need for cross cultural communication skills, and its larger implications within the trends of globalization. She currently works for American University's Undergraduate International Admissions department.

Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath

Laurin-Whitney is a second-year student, studying International Media. Before attending AU, she spent a year serving in Palestine as part of the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission Program. In Palestine, she worked on improving a local school's communication plan and taught film, photography, and radio skills to the youth of a refugee camp in Bethlehem. Before living in Palestine, Laurin-Whitney graduated from Valparaiso University where she studied Television and Radio Production and spent a significant amount of her time starting the campus' television station. Laurin-Whitney is most interested in how the media play a role in the peace process in the Middle East, specifically in Israel/Palestine. She hopes to pursue a career in long-form television journalism.

Nagwa Abdallah

Nagwa is a first year student in the International Media Program at the School of International Service. She spent the last 7 years as senior foreign affairs editor in Al-Ahram Daily Newspaper in Egypt. She was a fellow of Reuters Institute for the Study of journalism in Oxford University in 2010-2011 Fellowship. She worked as an international affairs editor, Researcher and Reporter for a number of outlets among which, Al -Ahram Quarterly’s “Democracy Review" in which her main focus was on democracy issues internationally and internally. She has also worked for Al -Ahram El Reiady Weekly magazine, Al-Ahram Al Araby Weekly Magazine, Al -Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS). She worked also as an international affairs editor in Die Welt, German daily newspaper, in 2007 where she covered Middle East and Egyptian ongoing issues.

Yulia Koval-Molodtsova

Yulia is a second-year International Media graduate student coming to AU through the Fulbright program. She is originally from Russia where she has worked as a Public Relations and Communications consultant for various non-profits (including UNICEF Russia, WWF Russia, dance4life Russia etc), as a research assistant for the Russian bureau of The Guardian newspaper, and as a freelance writer for several major publishing houses.   

She is a co-founder of a Russian NGO "Social Advertising Laboratory" focusing on PSAs and strategic communication for non-profits. In 2013 she has served as an expert for the World Economic Forum initiative "Creative for Good" facilitated by the Ad Council (USA). 

Yulia spent her senior school year studying in Proctor, VT through the American Councils youth cultural exchange program (Future Leaders Exchange - FLEX).  She graduated from the Russian State University for Humanities (Moscow) in 2004 specializing in English literature, history and culture. During her undergraduate studies she visited Stanford University (USA) for a 2-week conference (Democratic Partners), attended various professional events in England, Germany, Poland and the U.S.

Lauren Radziminsky

Lauren Radziminski 

Lauren is a second-year International Communications graduate student. Hailing from Huntsville, Alabama, she received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations concentrating on Western Europe concentration and minored in French and General Business Administration from the University of Alabama. (Roll Tide!) Since high school Lauren has been interested in the global community, traveling to France and Italy, as well as spending her final fall semester studying in Montpellier, France. Before entering into the IC program at American, she volunteered her time to rebuild homes and communities in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, resulting from an EF-4 tornado and help out her Huntsville family and community. After completing her first year in the program, Lauren will be applying her understandings of intercultural interactions and global communication systems while she interns with the Department of State. As she finishes her second year in the International Communication program, she looks forward to integrating her studies in the field into helping her pursue a career in social responsibility and intercultural relations in international business.

Taara Savage-el

Taara is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication Program with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Communication and Peace-building. As an undergraduate student, she majored in Broadcast Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has interned in various print and broadcast media outlets, such as the Philadelphia City Paper, PlanPhily, Radio One, and the CW. Before entering the IC Program, Taara worked for the Institute of International Education in Washington, DC which inspired her interest to pursue the field of International Relations. During the summer 2013 Taara studied abroad in Israel and interned at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University. She traveled throughout the West Bank where she performed extensive research investigating Palestinian youth sentiments towards a two-state solution and peace agreement with Israel. Taara’s ultimate career goal is to work for the United States Institute of Peace in the Media, Conflict, and Peace-building department using strategic communication through media to increase cross-cultural awareness and reduce violence and conflict.

Taara is a second-year graduate student in the International Communication Program with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Communication and Peace-building. As an undergraduate student, she majored in Broadcast Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has interned in various print and broadcast media outlets, such as the Philadelphia City Paper, PlanPhily, Radio One, and the CW. Before entering the IC Program, Taara worked for the Institute of International Education in Washington, DC which inspired her interest to pursue the field of International Relations. During the summer 2013 Taara studied abroad in Israel and interned at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University. She traveled throughout the West Bank where she performed extensive research investigating Palestinian youth sentiments towards a two-state solution and peace agreement with Israel. Taara’s ultimate career goal is to work for the United States Institute of Peace in the Media, Conflict, and Peace-building department using strategic communication through media to increase cross-cultural awareness and reduce violence and conflict.

 

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