Dreaming Big and Branching Out
When asked about her choice to pursue an undergraduate degree at American University, Natalie Hand replied, “I chose American because of its location, reputation for excellence in international relations, and honors program. There is no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice. My friends and family have always considered me idealistic, ambitious, and motivated, but American's faculty and students made me dream bigger and do more.”
Hand didn’t just confine her studies to the Northwest DC campus. “When I moved to D.C. in 2000, I had never even been out of the country. By the end of my freshman year, I had met up with a senior going to Syria for a self-study tour and was on my way to Damascus. By my senior year, I had studied in four different Middle Eastern countries, in every geographical region of the Arab world, and was the first AU student to get the chance to study at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. I always got the sense that American [University] lived up to the term 'international service' rather than just 'international relations.'”
Hand is now continuing her academic success studying in the United Kingdom under the Marshall Scholarship. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of St. Andrews and an Executive Director/Cofounder of the Institute for Kurds.