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Meet the Global Scholars

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.

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!

Hugh, SIS/BA '17

Hugh SIS/BA '17

Needless to say, the search for the right college can be a very difficult process. There are those, like myself, who were lucky enough to have found their passion for International Affairs during their high school career but felt overwhelmed at all the different options available for one to pursue this passion. Many other universities offer similar international studies programs, but only American University offers the Global Scholars Program. This program is not just an incredible 3-year BA with the option for a MA in the fourth year; it is a community of highly-academic students and professors eagerly striving to make a difference in the world. Every Global Scholar was hand selected based on what they are able bring to the table, which has led to countless interesting and heated debates both inside the classroom and out. Because of this diversity in backgrounds, I am constantly finding myself seeing the world from entirely new perspectives. Having been lucky enough to study abroad in Moldova studying the Moldovan culture and language this past summer, being able to share my experiences and insights with my fellow Global Scholars and professors has proved to be a rewarding and welcoming experience. The faculty of the School of International Service at AU is always more than happy to assist the Global Scholars with whatever they need and can often connect you with resources and opportunities not available anywhere else.

Exclusive study abroad opportunities, a tightly knit cohort of ambitious students, a strong network of supportive faculty, the prime positioning of the AU campus in the international affairs capital of the world; all of these factors make the Global Scholars Program truly one of the best IR programs in the world. Together with your fellow Global Scholars, you can help make a noticeable positive difference in the world around you.

Iroda, SIS/BA '17

Iroda SIS/BA '17

The Global Scholars Program at American University has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me and I am endlessly grateful for that. The amount of support offered, the advice always given and available, and the work ethic of everyone in the program are all truly amazing. As a trilingual permanent resident, born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, I graduated from high school here in the U.S. but looked to continue my education in the international field. Not only is Washington D.C. the perfect place for me to be, but so is the School of International Service here at AU. I enjoy every part of being a Global Scholar. I meet people from all around the country and the world every day. I've had countless interactions with other Uzbek and Russian speakers. Each of my professors, advisors, and peers is extremely unique, welcoming, and kind. While this is a rigorous academic program, it does not mean that I don't have any time for extra-curricular activities. I am currently working at the Katzen arts center, taking my sixth class there in dance, and going to choreolab rehearsals and soon performing as well. I could not be more thankful for all the support and help I've received through this program. While it is not easy to manage my time, it has not been impossible because of all the people that have entered my life. The Global Scholars are amazing company and some of the most interesting, outgoing, and open-minded people I've met.


Sanam SIS/BA ‘17

Sanam SIS/BA '17

I have always known what I wanted to do with my life. I guess I’ve gotten lucky in the fact that I found my sense of direction early on and a field that I am passionate about studying and working in. My family escaped extreme religious persecution and discrimination towards Baha’is in Iran. There, believers of the Baha’i Faith are constantly imprisoned, tortured and executed. They are denied employment, civil rights, liberties, and access to higher education due to their religious beliefs. Being raised in a culture that actually pushed me to learn and strive to achieve excellence made me even more determined to utilize my own education and career in fighting for human rights.

I think that that’s what the Global Scholars Program at American University is all about. To encourage students to strive for excellence in all aspects of their education. To flourish and grow in their knowledge regarding the world, and then to put that knowledge into action through opportunities such as internships, study abroad, and research opportunities. Living with a cohort of students from diverse backgrounds who all have intriguing ideas is another way in which I am constantly learning from others and making close friends. While it is an intense route of study, I am also able to seek out other interests. I am in two choirs, AU Chorus and Chamber Singers and I get to tour the Balkans with the Chamber Singers for two weeks this summer. I’m also studying at Cambridge in England with the Global Scholars Program this summer! I have been volunteering with the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program, and I even work in the Global Scholars Office! It has been such an incredible experience so far and I’m so excited to continue my studies within this amazing Program!

Become a Global Scholar

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