|Name||Graduation Year||Accepting Applications for||Special Interests|
|Ambassador John B. Craig||SIS/BA '67||seniors|
|Christina Dinh||SIS/MA '13||View Profile of Christina Dinh||graduate students||Asian American students, women, first-generation students|
|Andy Dry||SIS/BA '78||View Profile of Andy Dry||seniors|
|Nicole Gunkle||SIS/MA '15||View Profile of Nicole Gunkle||seniors||Women|
|Alden Hartopo||SIS/MA '18||View Profile of Alden Hartopo||graduate students|
|Jeff Moeller||SIS/MIS '18||View Profile of Jeffrey Moeller||juniors, seniors, graduate students in the DC area||Veterans|
|Kai-Niklas Schneider||SIS/BA '98||juniors, seniors, graduate students||International students|
|Andrew Rogan||SIS/BA '18||View Profile of Andrew Rogan||seniors||LGBTQ+|
|Dr. Fruzsina Harsanyi||SIS/BA/MA/PhD '72||graduate students||Women|
|Dave Southworth||SIS/MA '04||View Profile of Dave Southworth||juniors, seniors, graduate students|
|Wendy Atieno||SIS/MA '19||View Profile of Wendy Atieno||seniors, graduate students||Women, students of color, international students, first-generation students|
|Howlader Nashara||CAS/BA '16||View Profile of Howlader Nashara||juniors, seniors||Students of color, students with immigrant backgrounds, women|
|Brittany Rock||SIS/BA '11||View Profile of Brittany Rock||juniors, seniors, graduate students||Women|
|Lori Younissess||SIS/BA '21||View Profile of Lori Younissess||juniors, seniors||International students, women, LGBTQ+|
|Zainab Mirza||SIS/BA '20||View Profile of Zainab Mirza||juniors, seniors||Students with immigrant backgrounds, women|
|Matt Smither||SIS/MA '14||View Profile of Matt Smither||juniors, seniors, graduate students||LGBTQ+|
|Danielle Montecalvo||SIS/BA '18||View Profile of Danielle Montecalvo||juniors, seniors||Women|
|Caroline Brazill||SIS/BA '15||View Profile of Caroline Brazill||seniors, graduate students||Women|
|Claudia Gonzalez||SIS/BA '16||View Profile of Claudia Gonzalez||juniors, seniors||Latinx students, women|
|Joseph Kolesnick||SIS/MA '15||View Profile of Joseph Kolesnick||seniors, graduate students|
|Ritanch Hans||SIS/BA '13||View Profile of Ritanch Hans||juniors, seniors, graduate students|
|Caroline Rose||SIS/BA '18||View Profile of Caroline Rose||juniors, seniors, graduate students||Women|
|Breanna Wright||SIS/MA '19||View Profile of Breanna Wright||juniors, seniors|
|Tania Smith||SIS/BA '13||View Profile of Tania Smith||seniors, graduate students||Students of color, women|
|Judith Naa Ode Stephens||SIS/MA '16||View Profile of Judith Naa Ode Stephens||graduate students||Students of color, international students|
|Caroline Gomez||SIS/BA '15||View Profile of Caroline Gomez||juniors, seniors, graduate students||Latinx students, women, LGBTQ+|
|Maha Kamel||SIS/BA '16||View Profile of Maha Kamel||juniors, seniors||First-generation students, Middle Eastern-North African/ Arab students, Arab American students, women|
|Fabián González Espinosa||SIS/MA '20||View Profile of Fabian Gonzalez Espinsa||graduate students||Latinx students, students with immigrant backgrounds|
|Megan Madeira||SIS/MA '16||View Profile of Megan Madeira||juniors, seniors||Asian or Asian American students, women|
|Carmen Iezzi Mezzera||SIS/BA '00 SIS/MA '01||View Profile of Carmen Iezza Mezzera||juniors, seniors|
|Camille Villafañe||SIS/MA '16||View Profile of Camille Villafane||juniors, seniors, graduate students||Hispanic students, women, first-generation students|
|Talal Barazi||SIS/BA '12||View Profile of Talal Barazi||juniors, seniors, graduate students||Middle Eastern students, international students, first-generation students|
|Simone Williams||SIS/MA '19||View Profile of Simone Williams||graduate students||Women, students of color|
|Caleb Bowers||SIS/MA '17||View Profile of Caleb Bowers||juniors, seniors, graduate students|
|Dr. Thomas Snitch||SIS/MA/PhD '79||View Profile of Thomas Snitch||juniors||Japanese language speakers|
|Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe||SIS/MA '12||View Profile of Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe||graduate students||Women, students of color|
|Yasara Perera||SIS/BA '15||View Profile of Yasara Perera||juniors, seniors, graduate students||Women, Asian or Asian American students, international students|
|Alejandro Alba||SIS/BA '13||View Profile of Alejandro Alba||juniors, graduate students||Latinx students|
|Colleen Williams Vyas||SIS/BA '92||View Profile of Colleen Williams Vyas||junions, seniors, graduate students||Women|
|Eric Sohn||SIS/BA||View Profile of Eric Sohn||juniors, seniors||Asian or Asian American students|
Full Mentor Bios
Caleb is an adaptable problem-solver with experience developing and leading small teams to support domestic and international programs and projects, design and implement experiential trainings and exercises, and improve organizational processes. He has worked in nonprofits on projects used by the United States Agency for International Development and in client-facing roles contracted to the Department of Defense, Department of State, and Department of Justice.
In a distinguished career as a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Craig had numerous assignments both overseas and in the State Department. He pursued his career focus on economic analysis during assignments in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt and Haiti. Craig speaks Arabic, French and Spanish.
He became deputy chief of mission at the American Embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus followed by a similar posting to the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. In 1995, he was appointed to head the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the State Department’s Near East Bureau.
Then, in June 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton nominated Craig to be the United States Ambassador to Oman. After three years in the post, he returned to the United States just after Sept. 11, 2001, to be appointed by President George W. Bush as a Special Assistant to the President for Combatting Terrorism. He served on the staff of the National Security Council with Gen. Wayne Downing, Deputy National Security Advisor.
In 2003, he was appointed as Boeing International Corporation’s regional vice president in the Middle East. In 2008, the Ambassador joined The Jadwin Group (MENA) as full partner and provided high level investment services to private sector entities and high net worth individuals throughout the Gulf region.
In 2015, Ambassador Craig joined the Manaar Energy Group as a Senior Partner. The group provides clients all over the world with valued analysis of the energy market with particular focus on Iran and Iraq and the Arab Gulf producers.
Ambassador Craig has Ambassador-in-Residence in the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He retains business activities in the Middle East, while basing his operations from central Pennsylvania.
Ambassador Craig and an important Middle Eastern client organized Working Group on the Plight of Christians and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East. The Working Group is a bi-partisan, multi-faith project of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, in Washington, DC. The goal of the Working Group is to identify results-oriented activities that will instill a sense of urgency and passion in interested parties, leading to outcomes that will save lives and restore stability to Christian populations as part of a religiously plural Middle East. The WG has been instrumental in proposing and implementing U.S. policy changes which have benefitted Christians across the Middle East.
Ambassador Craig received his BA at SIS, and the equivalent of an MA in International Relations from The National Defense University (National War College) in Washington.
Christina Dinh is currently a contract Senior Program Officer to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In this role, she plans, develops, implements, and evaluates exchange programs in consultation with overseas U.S. Embassies and missions for foreign scholars, secondary educators, and student leader participants.
Previously, she worked at World Learning managing the East Asia and Pacific and Western Hemisphere regional portfolios for the Fulbright Specialist Program. At World Learning, she served as one of the founding members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce.
Prior to her work on international exchange, Christina focused on Asia foreign policy issues having worked at the DC think tank the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) where she researched Asia policy issues and managed the ASPI International Trade initiative and Women's Economic Empowerment initiative.
Christina has also served at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs - Office of Economic Policy. During this time, Christina researched and assembled briefing materials on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) issues for the Senior Officials Meeting such as regional economics, energy, food security, and trade.
Christina completed her MA in International Relations at American University and her BA in International Relations and Asian Studies at Northeastern University.
Christina grew up in New England; speaks Chinese, Vietnamese, and French; is a first generation Asian American with Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant parents; and was the first in her family to attend college.
Please note, Andy is based in Europe six hours ahead of U.S. EST. Any calls will need to take place in the morning.
Andrew Dry has had a 40-year career as both senior corporate executive of VEON Ltd., one of the world’s largest mobile telecom operators, and as senior investment banker for the TMT industry at ABN AMRO Bank, among others. His corporate finance and treasury experience, his investment banking background, and his success in running a large banking division provides him with the vision and experience to assess companies’ strategic and financial opportunities, to identify and advise them on options to create value, to evaluate their capital structure and risk management policies, and to implement the solutions selected.
Andrew retired in December 2020 as Group Treasurer of VEON Ltd., where he managed a team of 16 professionals, a cash and investment portfolio exceeding USD 1bn in multiple currencies (USD, EUR, RUB, Pakistan Rupee, Algerian Dinar, Ukraine Hrvnia, Kazakhstan Tenge), and a foreign exchange derivative portfolio which has been in excess of USD 1bn.
Andrew was responsible for initiating, structuring, negotiating, and executing all VEON Group debt transactions— bonds, bank debt, liability management, syndicated loans, bilateral loans, and ECA loans. Inn 2020, he established a USD 6.5bn MTN program, executed a USD 1.25bn Eurobond and a USD 300m Eurobond tap, arranged and executed two EUR RUB bonds totaling RUB 30bn, and refinanced bilateral RUB loans equivalent to USD 2.5bn. In his career at both VEON and as an investment banker, he has arranged hundreds of millions of financings for TMT companies.
Andrew runs an advisory and consulting business, advising global companies on financings. He has guest lectured at Kogod School of Business at American University, and at Rotterdam School of Management.
Nicole Gunkle graduated in 2015 with a Master's in International Affairs which focused on European Affairs and International Trade. Currently, she works for the State of Washington on an export grant program which helps Washington companies pursue exporting opportunities abroad and with international trade missions.
Before her current role, she worked at the State of Colorado, helping small businesses export, and Nathan Associates, an international development firm, where she helped managed USAID contracts on public financial management and trade projects.
She also held roles at the World Bank, U.S. Government Accountability Office, and other international trade organizations.
Alden Hartopo works in Google’s Government Affairs & Public Policy team as a Special Projects Senior Analyst in the Knowledge & Information products team. As part of his role, he works on the Functional Unit for Notable Global Initiatives (FUNGI) and focuses on strategy and operations, policy escalations, critical incident response, and keystone programs around Google's core consumer products: Search, Geo, News, Ads, Commerce, and Assistant.
Previously, Alden worked with Google’s International Government Affairs team where he supported the company’s engagement and advocacy with foreign policy stakeholders in Washington, DC for a global portfolio including APAC, Emerging Markets (Latin America, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa), Europe, and International Organizations. Before Google, he worked at McLarty Associates, a global strategy and commercial diplomacy firm, where he led global products for clients and helped advise Fortune 200 and emerging companies on navigating policy issues and government relations in Southeast Asia. He has also held positions at the Albright Stonebridge Group and the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and is also a member of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders program.
Alden received his MA in International Economic Relations from American University’s School of International Service (SIS) and his BA in Economics and International Relations from Calvin College. A native of Jakarta, Indonesia, Alden speaks Bahasa Indonesia and has spent nearly 20 years living in the United States. Outside of work, he helps lead the DC Asia Policy Network (DCAP). With over 2,500 members, DCAP is the largest community of professionals in Washington, DC who are working or interested in the Indo-Pacific policy space.
Jeff Moeller is a career intelligence professional. He is currently serving as the analysis and production branch chief at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. ASPR collaborates with hospitals, healthcare coalitions, biotech firms, community members, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and other partners across the country to improve readiness and response capabilities.
Jeff previously worked as the senior Middle East and North Africa intelligence advisor for the Army Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG), where he traveled extensively across the Middle East gathering observations on emerging threats.
Jeff has extensive international and intercultural experience, spending over seven years living and working overseas across the Middle East and Pacific. He spent 13 years on active duty in the Marine Corps as an intelligence specialist and later as a special operations multi-discipline intelligence operator, with combat deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Jeff completed his time in the Marine Corps after achieving the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and received a direct commission from the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer. As a reserve intelligence officer, he is assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) where he focuses on Asia/Pacific regional issues.
Jeff holds a Master of International Service (MIS) from SIS and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from University of Maryland Global Campus.
Kai-Niklas Schneider is the Managing Partner of the Clifford Chance Singapore office and head of the Funds and Investment Management group in Singapore. He is a US qualified lawyer with over 20 years of specialized experience in the funds sector and advises clients on the formation of and investment in a wide variety of private equity funds, real estate funds, infrastructure funds and credit funds.
Kai co-chair the Executive Committee of the Singapore Funds Industry Group and a member of the Advocacy Subcommittee of the Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (SVCA) and the Singapore Executive Committee of the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA).
Dave Southworth is a civilian intelligence analyst for the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. He's been there just under 10 years, covering adversary military modernization with a focus on emerging technology issues.
Prior to that, Dave was a contractor in the DC area. He worked for the then-OSD/PA&E (now CAPE), the FBI, DIA, DOE, and the Army, where he deployed to Iraq as a social scientist with a program called the Human Terrain System.
Dave currently lives in Columbus, OH.
Andrew Rogan is a Program Officer for the Western Balkans at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). He currently manages programs implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and has worked on projects in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and regionally across Central and Eastern Europe, focused on combatting corruption, election integrity, and civic engagement.
His work includes technical support to election management bodies, anti-corruption and justice institutions, and civil society to strengthen the adoption and implementation of democratic reforms and international standards to improve governance processes.
He holds a BA in International Studies from the School of International Service at American University, where he concentrated on Global Governance and European Studies. He is completing a MA in Corruption and Governance at the University of Sussex, with a special focus on institutional corruption prevention and civic action to combat corruption.
Dr. Fruzsina M. Harsanyi is an international public affairs counselor. Her business and academic experience has focused on the strategic role of public affairs in global enterprises and on public affairs as a leadership function in all organizations. She has 40 years experience managing the public affairs function for several U.S. and non-U.S. multinational corporations. She has taught graduate level courses, lectured widely, and served as counselor and coach to corporate managers, associations, and private organizations.
As Senior Program Manager of Training & Community Development at Global Ties U.S., Brittany is responsible for developing workshops, webinars, online courses, and networking opportunities to support the professional development of hundreds of public diplomacy professionals that work at nonprofit partners of the U.S. Department of State. Content areas include international affairs, nonprofit management, and international exchange programming.
Prior to joining Global Ties U.S., Brittany spent more than eight years overseeing education programs domestically and internationally. She has worked on designing, implementing, and evaluating programs at institutions of higher education; teaching and mentoring high school students; and recruiting and preparing youth for international exchange programs.
Born and raised in Utica, NY, Brittany spent three years in Japan, and has an intermediate understanding of Japanese, Italian, and some basic French and Mandarin. She earned both an MA in International Training & Education and a BA in International Studies from American University in Washington, DC.
She lives in Falls Church, VA with her husband Paul and two cats Lottie and Buffy.
Carmen Mezzera has been executive director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs since January 2014. Previously, she served as Director of Programs and Operations at the Bretton Woods Committee; Executive Director of the Fair Trade Federation; Assistant Director for Education and Outreach at the Atlantic Council of the United States; and Director of Alumni Relations for the School of International Service (SIS) at American University.
Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from SIS, Ms. Mezzera stayed on to complete her master’s degree with a focus on international organizations and sustainable development. In the course of her studies, she provided analyses for NATO’s Partnership for Peace in Mons, Belgium and at the United Nations Development Program Washington Office. Among her volunteer work, Ms. Mezzera has served with the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington DC, the Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade, and the Abyssinian Fund.
She has written and/or provided interviews for CNN, CBS, Forbes, Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, and Cooperative Grocer Magazine – among other outlets – and spoken at numerous national and international conferences. She received the 2008 Rising Star Alumni Award from American University
Caroline Brazill is an officer on Pact’s governance team, where she provides technical support to a portfolio of civil society strengthening, local governance and peacebuilding programs. Caroline provides technical assistance to country teams including Ethiopia, El Salvador, Malawi and Democratic Republic of Congo, leads business development activities, and advances thought leadership efforts in the governance community. Previously, she worked on the Atrocities Prevention and Response program at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, where she supported a portfolio of partners focused on preventing and responding to systematic violence against civilians globally. Caroline has also worked with the International Rescue Committee in Kenya, and she has lived and studied in Rwanda and Tanzania. She holds an MA in conflict resolution from Georgetown University.
Caroline Rose is a Senior Analyst and Head of the Power Vacuums program in the Human Security Unit at the New Lines Institute, where she focuses on contested territories, displacement, ungoverned spaces, and risks to human security and US interests across the international system. Prior to joining the New Lines Institute, Caroline served as an analyst at the forecasting firm and publication, Geopolitical Futures, where she worked on political, economic, and defense developments in the Middle East and Europe with a focus on the Mediterranean and the Levant. She is also the author of a special policy report on the illicit drug trade, Captagon, in the Mediterranean and Gulf and its effect on security challenges–a culmination of her studies and field work as Research Associate for the LSE International Drug Policy Unit’s Middle East Initiative. Her commentary and work on defense issues, security challenges, and geopolitical developments have been featured in The Washington Post, BBC News, Foreign Policy, Politico, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, The Financial Times, The Independent, and other outlets. Caroline holds a Master’s of Science in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the American University’s School of International Service. She tweets at @CarolineRose8.
Claudia Gonzalez is a master’s candidate at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University where she is part of the Global Human Development (GHD) Program. Claudia joined the GHD program after 5+ years at the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), a non-profit organization that enables a greater diversity of voices in the news industry worldwide. As the program manager, Claudia oversaw the IWMF’s fellowship, grant and award programs, which offer reporting opportunities, training, mentorship and recognition to women and nonbinary journalists. Claudia developed and expanded the IWMF’s capacity building programs for journalists in Latin America and Africa, covering issues from LGBTQI+ and women’s rights to vaccines during Covid-19. Currently, she is a consultant for the IWMF.
Claudia began her career at a grassroots organization that supports girls’ access to secondary education in Malawi. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and in Spanish Language and Latin American Area Studies from American University. She is fluent in Spanish and is trained as a trauma-informed yoga instructor.
Danielle Montecalvo (she/her) is a physical scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Center for Radiological Emergency Management in Washington, D.C. She works on a variety of projects including radiological contingency planning for upcoming space missions, emergency preparedness and response with international partners such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and Tribal Governments, and serves as the co-chair for the office's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Council.
Prior to coming to EPA, she served as a university English teacher in Mahajanga, Madagascar as a Peace Corps Volunteer. During Danielle’s time at AU, she double majored in International Studies and Physics and interned with NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations and the National Academies’ Space Studies Board. In her free time, she likes to ride her bike, play the piano, and spend time with friends and family.
Fabián is a Senior Project Lead on the International Security Assistance & Counterproliferation team at CRDF Global. In his role, he is responsible for a portfolio of federal projects under the U.S Department of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. Since Joining CRDF Global in 2019, Fabián has supported several international efforts to prevent the development of weapons of mass destruction programs and military capabilities by state & non-state actors. Fabián also specializes in proposal writing, having captured $7 million dollars in federal grants in the past 4 years.
Prior to his time at CRDF Global, he worked in international laboratory communications at Mayo Clinic. Fabián holds a master’s degree in U.S Foreign Policy and National Security from American University in Washington D.C. and a B.A degree in International Relations from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Fabián also studied abroad at the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic, and an Arabic program in Meknes, Morocco. An immigrant to the United States, Fabián was born in Colombia and was raised in both Mexico City and Rochester, Minnesota. He speaks English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Intermediate Italian.
Howlader Nashara is currently a senior management consultant with the National Security Segment of Guidehouse. She has over five years of experience supporting clients across the public and commercial sectors, most recently working with the Department of State, Department of Transportation, and Department of Homeland Security on initiatives related to open-source intelligence, emerging technology, grants management, public diplomacy, and workforce planning.
Howlader received an M.A. in Geopolitics, Territory, and Security Studies from King’s College London in 2018 and a B.A. in Arabic Studies from American University in 2016. During her undergraduate career, Howlader was a two-time recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship, studying Arabic in Morocco and Turkish in Azerbaijan. She also completed a semester abroad in Amman, Jordan, where she interned with a refugee aid organization and studied diplomacy and policy in the Middle East. In her free time, Howlader is an engaged volunteer, previously facilitating an advocacy group for South Asian Americans and holding a crisis intervention counselor position with the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. Howlader’s interests include exploring the D.C. food scene, playing with her blind cat Jelly, learning new languages, and traveling.
Joseph is currently the Executive Officer for the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Operations Support Directorate (OSD). In this role, Joseph is responsible for working across OSD divisions to make sure that all necessary tasks are completed, that leadership’s strategic vision is implemented, and that the Directorate is able to accomplish its mission daily. Prior to this role, Joseph was an International Relations Specialist with the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) within CWMD. While in this role, he helped stabilize the division, continued to work with interagency and international partners to make sure that we were able to stop threats before they reached our shores.
Joseph also worked with international organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure that U.S. best practices were shared internationally to make the world a safer place. Before joining the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph was a Program and Management Analyst with the National Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service (NESDIS) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he was also a Presidential Management Fellow. Joseph was a Program and Management Analyst that focused on supporting the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Systems. Joseph completed a detail at NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Program as their Chief of Staff and a detail at NOAA-NESDIS' International and Interagency Affairs Division (IIAD) as the European, Middle East, and North African Desk Officer.
While pursuing his degree at American University’s School of International Service, Joseph interned at the U.S. Department of State, European Regional Affairs Office, and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). He received a MA in European History focusing on Political, Military, and Diplomatic histories from the University at Buffalo and received a second MA from SIS in Global Governance Politics and Security. Joseph has also completed a U.S. Foreign Policy Career Summer Course from George Washington University.
Megan Madeira is a graduate student at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Prior to graduate school, Megan was the Institutional Partnerships Manager at the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC). She also was a Princeton in Africa Fellow at Resonate, a women’s empowerment social enterprise in Kigali, Rwanda. Her previous experiences include work at Chemonics International and internships at the U.S. Department of State and United to End Genocide. She also worked at a local peacebuilding NGO in Kenya and led an Alternative Break program to Rwanda for university students to study gender in a post-conflict context. Megan holds a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution from American University.
Matt Smither is an international development professional with extensive experience working in/on conflict and post-conflict settings. Matt believes that utilizing a market systems approach, international development programs can make markets work for the poor, strengthen value chains, build in resilience, and use agriculture as an engine of economic growth.
Currently, Matt is the Deputy Chief of Party and Acting Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Afghanistan Value Chain – Livestock (AVC-Livestock) program, a 55 million USD activity. AVC-Livestock is a market-driven, private sector-focused program that aims to sustainably strengthen the dairy, poultry, honey, red meat, fish, and fiber value chains throughout Afghanistan, resulting in increased incomes, employment and productivity. In addition to this program, Matt has implemented activities and programs in several fragile states, including Haiti, Palestine, Mexico, Honduras, Tunisia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Matt holds BAs from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in History and Political Science. He graduated from SIS in 2014 with a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Since his graduation, Matt has applied the skills and knowledge shaped at SIS to international development programs globally.
Ritanch Hans is an experienced strategy and operations consultant who has helped numerous government agencies solve their strategic challenges. Ritanch has helped establish integrated project teams to analyze policy gaps, contradictions, and inconsistencies and identified new processes or policy areas that require redesign and documentation. Ritanch earned his degrees from American University and is very active in the American University alumni community. He got his Masters of Science in Sustainability Management from the Kogod School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the School of International Service. He currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the American University DC Young Alumni Chapter, having completed his two-year term. Ritanch is also a member of American University's President's Circle and Alumni Board
Simone Williams is the Director of Programs for the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS), where she works to help advance women's representation in national security leadership. In addition to her role at LCWINS she is a WCAPS member and a working chair lead for the Orgs in Solidarity working group on Elevating Black and POC Voices. She is also a NSquare Fellow.
Previously, she was a program manager and research associate with the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to her role at PONI, she worked with the Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative at CSIS. Before moving to DC, she worked as a project manager for a healthcare communication company in Chicago. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in international affairs from American University. She is interested in nuclear weapons security policy, strategy, the role of the public in nuclear policy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is passionate about advancing diversity in the field with the intention of making decision making rooms more diverse and representative.
Tania Smith is a research and program management specialist with over five years of experience in international development, research, and consulting, helping organizations find practical solutions to their problems. She currently works as an associate at the philanthropy consulting firm Arabella Advisors. She manages operations for fiscally-sponsored non-profit organizations and helps them leverage their resources for social good. Before Arabella Advisors, Tania worked as an associate at Creative Associates International. She managed grantee programs for USAID-funded projects in Togo, West Africa - overseeing civil society organization projects focused on democracy and governance.
Tania is a Returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Morocco from 2014-2016. Tania Smith holds a Bachelor's degree in International Studies from American University and a Master's degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Wendy graduated from the School of International Service in 2018 with a master's degree in global environmental policy and a concentration in water – studying topics in water governance, water and climate change, and urban political ecology. She completed her master’s thesis on flood risk in informal settlements in her native Nairobi, looking at the ways that the government exacerbates flood vulnerability. Before studying at SIS, Wendy spent time in Lao PDR as a Princeton in Asia fellow, where she was involved in transboundary water governance. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and Political Science. She currently works with country teams in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to strengthen the reciprocal relationship between global policy and action-on-ground at IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Zainab Mirza is a Research Associate, Ocean Policy with the Center for American Progress where she leads policy efforts for the offshore clean energy transition and indigenous-led conservation. Prior to this role, Mirza was the program associate for the Clean Energy Business Network, serving as the small-business voice for the clean energy economy.
She has served on numerous campaigns, at the Environmental Protection Agency, and at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Mirza graduated from American University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and environmental studies. While at American and beyond her internships, she was involved with the Olson Scholars, Phi Sigma Pi, RE-volv Solar Fellows, and the Haiti Alternative Break. Mirza spent two semesters abroad, the first at AU Nairobi and a second in Copenhagen at the Denmark International School (DIS).
Maha Kamel is a graduate of American University in Washington D.C. where she focused on International Relations in the Middle East. She is passionate about reforming U.S. foreign assistance, international education, and human rights. Through the Department of State’s, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs she has completed exchange programs focused on Arabic language and Comparative Governance in Morocco and Jordan. She has worked with the Institute of International Education, FHI 360, and the State Department’s bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
She is currently a Program Officer at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor where she helps oversee foreign assistance programming in North Africa. She serves in various leadership positions including with the Arab Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies Employee Organization, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation SWANA working group, and with Afikra, a global organization that aims to promote the diversity and richness of Arab culture and history.
Talal Barazi graduated from the School of International Service with a B.A. in International Studies with a thematic focus on Peace, Global Security and Conflict Resolution and a regional focus on the Middle East. Talal pursued the path of social science research first at an international research consulting firm called D3 Systems, Inc. and he now works at Meta as a User Experience Researcher on the Metaverse Integrity team. His research interests include: behavioral science, anthropology, and user experience research.
Caroline is a bilingual, first-generation Latina and a diversity, inclusion and belonging practitioner with expertise in project management, strategy development, and corporate operations. She has been working in the DIB space for over six years and her experience includes developing and managing employee diversity councils and business resource groups, DIB curriculum design and facilitation, recruitment and onboarding, external benchmarking, and using data to create retention and engagement strategies. In addition, she has experience in the project, financial, and risk management of Department of State and USAID funded multi-million dollar international educational and development contracts. While originally from Florida, Caroline lives in DC with her fiancé, Marc, and her pandemic pup, Coco. In her spare time (when she’s not wedding planning), she loves traveling, going to the beach, mentoring with the Big Brother Big Sister program, playing soccer, or enjoying a good board game night.
Lori Younissess earned bachelor degrees in international studies and in law and society at American University (AU). Lori was the recipient of the 2017 Emerging Global Leader Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship awarded to 1 international student every year. During her time at AU, Lori was part of the Olson Scholars program, SIS Honors, SPA Honors, and the SPA Leadership Program. Lori was selected as the Spring 2021 Commencement Speaker for SIS, and received the university's prestigious Bruce Hughes Award for the depth of her leadership in a wide range of service to the university community, including serving as a teaching assistant for 11 classes, organizing conferences, serving as the managing editor of AU’s undergraduate research journal Clock and Clouds, tutoring in Arabic, rowing crew, and playing violin in the university orchestra. In addition, Lori was selected as a fellow for the Junior Summer Institute at Princeton’s School of Public.
Camille Villafañe is a senior consultant in APCO Worldwide’s New York office. She focuses on international and domestic policy developments and issues management. While at APCO, she has supported various clients in the technology and consumer goods industries by providing them with geo-commerce solutions. She assists high-profile individuals and organizations with successfully navigating reputational challenges, crises, and complex geopolitical issues. Ms. Villafañe provides strategic communications counsel to organizations on their ESG and social impact strategies. She is the founder and co-chair of the LatinAPCO Employee Resource Group and was recognized as Business Insider’s Rising Stars in Public Relations in 2022.
Prior to joining APCO, Ms. Villafañe worked for the public affairs practice at Edelman and provided communications support to the United Nations’ Ocean Generation. She previously worked on defense issues for the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce and on strategic partnerships for the Office of the Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education. She has had extensive international experience, advising the Delegation of the European Union in the United States on energy and environmental issues as well as helping develop European security strategies for the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, Belgium.
Ms. Villafañe is fluent in Spanish and French and proficient in Italian. She is a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow from Carnegie Mellon University and a Killam Fellow from the University of Victoria in Canada. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from American University and a Master of Science in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Judith believes in the power of advocacy and empowering people to advocate for their rights.
She is a Ghanaian - American who recently returned from a 3year extended trip in Ghana, where she worked with the International Justice Mission, Field Office, in Ghana.
She partnered with stakeholders to rescue victims of human trafficking, to prosecute perpetrators and to build the capacity of governmental officials in the fights against human trafficking.
Before she moved to Ghana, her experience spanned through from working with asylum seekers, through her working as a document review attorney.
She received her JD/MA from American University, Washington College of Law and School of International Service.
She is ready to explore and excited to try new experiences that would ultimately lead to a fulfilled career.
Breanna Wright is currently the Vice President of Talent for The Management Center, a nonprofit that helps leaders working for social change build and run more equitable, sustainable, and results-driven organizations. For the past eleven years, Breanna Wright has supported international and domestic development programs. Her experience includes drafting and managing USDA and USAID request for proposals as a Business Development Coordinator for Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, ensuring people with disabilities were equally participating in the $80 million Development Food Assistance Program as a Program Quality Officer for Catholic Relief Services in Ethiopia, and serving as a Food Security Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Ethiopia.
More recently, Breanna served as a Program Analyst for USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (with a focus on SNAP) and held several positions at Peace Corps' Headquarters, including Country Desk Officer for Eastern Caribbean, Guyana, and Jamaica where she assisted in the evacuation of St. Vincent volunteers. Originally from the Bay Area, California, Breanna holds her BS in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside and her MS in Development Management from American University. When she’s not working hard, she enjoys singing her off-key, heart out ("Can We Talk" by Tevin Campbell is her song of choice).
Dr. Thomas Snitch is Advisor to the President of Bowling Green State University for Federal and Congressional Relations. During his 47 years in Washington, DC, he served at NASA as the international manager for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter. At the US Department of State and US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, he served as the US National Nuclear Officer for North Korea and South Africa. President Reagan named him a senior member of the White House Arms Control Delegation to Geneva for the START and INF talks with the Soviet Union. He then became the Senior Staff Director of the National Academy of Science.
In the private sector, Dr. Snitch has worked in the C-Suites of Lockheed Martin, Hitachi, Microsoft Asia, Coca-Cola Japan, OneWeb, CH2MHill and GeoEye. From 2011-16, Dr. Snitch served as Chairman of the Board of the University of Maryland’s College of Computing, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and held a Distinguished Senior Professorship in Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies.
His academic research focuses on using high resolution satellite imagery, UAVs, and mathematical modeling to address transnational crime and global environmental issues. From 2011-13, he was one the the US leads working on remediation at the Fukushima nuclear site. In 2014, he was the first person to fly UAV night drone missions in Africa. Dr. Snitch holds a BA in Chinese, an MA in Developmental Economics and a PhD in Mathematical International Economics, an MA in Japanese and did his postdoctoral work in nuclear and reactor physics at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He has been awarded a Meritorious Service Award from the Government of Japan and was named by the Emperor as “One of Japan’s 150 Best Friends in the World”.
Yasara Perera is a Senior Consulting Associate with Eagle Hill Consulting. In this role, she supports the General Services Administration with workforce transformation initiatives. Ms. Perera has been in the consulting field for over 7 years and has prior experience in early childhood education consulting. She believes that the consulting industry is an open door full of possibilities and experiences with the potential to expand into multiple subject areas.
Ms. Perera holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland College Park with a specialization in International Development and Education. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from American University. Outside of her professional work, Ms. Perera enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Alejandro Alba is an AU SIS 2013 graduate based in Arlington, VA. During his undergraduate studies, he worked as a Anderson Hall Resident Assistant and studied abroad in China as a David L. Boren Scholar in 2011-2012. Since AU, he has worked on Capitol Hill, graduated from Georgetown University's Security Studies Program (Masters Degree) and currently serves as a FEMA public affairs specialist in Washington, D.C.. There, he encourages disaster preparedness on social media and helps agency officials analyze media commentary on agency programs before, during, and after natural disasters. Born into a Colombian-American household in Miami, Florida, Alejandro enjoys backpack traveling, exchanging cooking recipes and competing in fantasy football. One of his favorite AU memories was participating in the Bender Arena free throw challenge during men's basketball games. Slightly more exciting than all-nighters in the library.
Colleen Williams Vyas is a 1992 SIS major/SOC minor grad, mother/wife, news video editor, loves to be outdoors, take advantage of DC's greenspaces, explore galleries, peruse vintage shops, travel, read, and tinker with all life has to offer. She now resides within close proximity of AU and is happy to provide a listening ear while also learning from students themselves!
Eric Sohn is a Public Policy Manager at Meta (formerly Facebook) in New York City where he provides policy counsel to product teams and shapes the company’s global public policy efforts across the payments, financial services and digital assets space. Prior to Meta, he was at KPMG and EY in New York City where he provided financial consulting services to the largest banks and investment firms in the world. Early in his career, Eric was a trade official focusing on Asia policy at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. Eric is a graduate of American University and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He is a wine lover and is currently training to become a sommelier.
For nearly two decades, Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe has helped to advance humanitarian, economic, health, environmental, and tech policies in Africa. This included through diplomatic roles as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Organizations, Bureau of African Affairs, and overseas assignments in Mali, Morocco, and Ethiopia. While serving as Economic Officer at the U.S. Mission to the African Union, Pren-Tsilya spearheaded U.S. commercial advocacy efforts on the African Continental Free Trade Area. Before joining the State Department, she led a non-profit organization that provided humanitarian assistance in Cote d’Ivoire. Pren-Tsilya currently serves as Google’s Manager for Pan-African Institutions, Government Affairs & Public Policy, where she oversees policy engagement with the African Union Commission, UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank, among other regional organizations. Parallel to her core responsibilities, she also serves as the co-lead for the Women@ Google employee resource group, uplifting women at Google’s Kenya office to build a more equitable organization in which every employee can thrive. She also previously served as a Board Member for the Pickering & Rangel Fellows Association, which is dedicated to increasing diversity among American diplomats. Outside work, Pren-Tsilya loves reading, hiking, and singing karaoke. She is passionate about leveraging technology to drive economic growth.