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U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security | SIS

US Foreign Policy Association

The US Foreign Policy Association’s goals are to increase dialog on relevant foreign policy issues, build a community and expand the career options of students in the US Foreign Policy and National Security Graduate Program, Undergraduates in the US Foreign Policy concentration and all other students interested in foreign policy issues.

In order to achieve these goals the USFPA sponsors and co-sponsors three types of events:

  • Career Events - Talks and panel discussions from professionals who have careers related to foreign policy.

  • Foreign Policy Talks/Panel Discussions - Each semester the USFPA is involved in a variety of events related to a broad range of foreign policy topics.

  • Social Events - Throughout the school year the USFPA offers several events geared towards increasing a sense of community amongst fellow students who are interested in foreign policy. These events have included social hours as well as a student/faculty barbecue.

Contact us at or at the USFPA Facebook page.

Upcoming Events

Stay tuned.

Past Association Events

Panel discussion on A Contemporary Cuba Reader

"A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution under Raúl Castro" with Dr. Phillip Brenner, Director of USFP Program and Dr. William LeoGrande, School of Public Affairs Professor

In December of 2014, the U.S. Foreign Policy Association hosted two American University professors to discuss the updated edition of their book, A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution under Raúl Castro. This book explores Cuba in familiar detail from the rise of Castro in 2006 to the present day. It touches on the new economic challenges Cuba faces with its loss of preferential trade with the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc following the fall of European Communism.

One Hundred Victories: Special Operations Forces and the Future of American Warfare

The USFPA sponsored a talk on November 11th by Linda Robinson, Senior Policy Analyst at RAND. She discussed her new book One Hundred Victories: Special Operations Forces and the Future of American Warfare.


Woodrow Wilson House

Members of the USFPA visited the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C. in Fall 2013.

SIS Professors discuss the impact of NAFTA on North America.

NAFTA: Successes, Failures, and Future

USFP Professor Robert Pastor and SIS Professor Manuel Suarez-Mier spoke with students on the landmark NAFTA trade agreement and its impact on the North American continent.

Ambassador Anthony Quainton discusses the diplomatic challenges of regime change over coffee.

Coffee Talk on the Diplomatic Challenges of Regime Change with U.S. Foreign Policy Distinguished Diplomat-in-Residence Anthony Quainton

Students gathered in the U.S. Foreign Policy common area on the third floor of the SIS building to hear Ambassador Anthony Quainton discuss the challenges of regime change on diplomatic relations. Ambassador Quainton drew on his long career in the Foreign Service to discuss the recent regime changes around the world and how these changes will impact U.S. relations.

Association Officers

Chief of Staff: Ashley Schortz

US Foreign Policy Association Chief of Staff Ashley Schortz

Ashley Schortz is a 2nd year graduate student and has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from American University by way of New Jersey and Florida. During her undergraduate career, she interned at the Truman National Security Project and the State Department in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs focusing on public diplomacy. She also had the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. During her master’s career, she interned at the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) focusing on the Afghan National Security Forces. In the fall, she will be returning to the State Department to begin an internship with the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation. Ashley’s focus is in national security issues.

Communications & PR Deputy: Camilo Alvarado

Camilo Alvarado

Camilo Alvarado is a 2nd year graduate student in the School of International Service at American University. Camilo received his bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Science from Florida International University in his hometown of Miami, Florida before enrolling at American University. Born in Colombia, Camilo spent most of his life living in Miami, Florida before moving to Washington, D.C. to pursue his Master’s degree where he focuses on counterterrorism, homeland security and early US-Cuba Cold War relations. He has had internships with the Florida House of Representatives and the United States Treasury Department. He is currently is an intern with Treasury and a Public Diplomacy intern with Global Ties U.S.

Financial Deputy: Sarah Riley

USFPA Financial Deputy Sarah Riley

Sarah Riley is a 2nd year graduate student in the U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Program. She graduated from Florida State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs with a concentration in economics. After graduation she moved to DC for a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Sarah then worked in the nonprofit sector for several years before returning to school to get a master’s degree. She currently works at the School of International Service as the Program Coordinator for the USFPNS program. Sarah is interested in studying U.S. national security and the economics of terrorism and illicit networks.  One of her favorite things to do in DC is picnicking at the tidal basin and walking around the monuments.

Foreign Policy Chair: Rebecca Andryushchenko


Rebecca (Becca) Andryushchenko is a 2nd year graduate student in the U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security program at SIS. She received her BS in Political Science with a minor in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University. A southern California native, she spent time working for a non-profit before moving out to DC last summer. She has completed internships with Women in International Security (WIIS), National War College, and is currently working as a research assistant for the Institute of National Strategic Studies at National Defense University. Her research interests include: nuclear non-proliferation, intelligence, defense budgeting, counter-terrorism, and military strategy.

Social Chair: Kalista Heiden

USFPA Social Chair Kalista Heiden

Kalista Heiden is a 2nd year U.S. Foreign Policy graduate student. She has a bachelor's degree in International Studies from the University of Denver. In undergrad, she spent a semester abroad in Ecuador and advanced her proficiency in Spanish. She also has international work experience in Brazil, where she facilitated youth development as a Global Leaders Fellow. Before moving to D.C. to start her masters, she served as an AmeriCorps member for two years, working with urban youth in an education setting. Kalista intends on incorporating her interests in the future and hopes to continue to advocate for youth as she begins a career in foreign policy and national security. She believes some of the greatest resources available to students are their peers. As Social Chair of USFPA, Kalista hopes to engage all current USFP students in fun opportunities to connect outside of school-related events.

Academic & Skills Development Chair: Priyanka Vakil

USFPA Academic Chair Priyanka Vakil

Priyanka Vakil is a 2nd year Master's student with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Hispanic Linguistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!). Originally born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, she moved with her family to North Carolina. She worked at the Center for Global Initiatives in Chapel Hill as a program coordinator for a global engagement conference on culture and ethics. She spent a year in Santiago de Compostela as an Auxiliar through the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. She interned at the Embassy of Peru as a public diplomacy intern and at AU's Washington College of Law's InterAmerican Human Rights Moot Court. She is currently a research associate for the Public International Law and Policy Group, in the Lawyering Peace program. Her focus is on the intersection of policy, law and human rights, specifically regarding internally displaced youth and access to education.