This award is given to graduating students who have made a notable contribution to the global affairs community as well as the Mason community through consistent academic performance, class participation, and service.
Rami Alkhafaji is from Altoona, Pennsylvania and a member of the George Mason University Men's Tennis Team. His time at George Mason University has been amazing. The professors, students, and community truly seek the best for the students of George Mason. The opportunities in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. have allowed Rami to explore and learn in the classroom and beyond. His favorite class at GMU was American Security Policy with Professor Mahmut Cengiz. His favorite Mason memory would be every spring when the flowers bloom on the trees next to Mason Pond. Rami would like to thank his parents, Rajih and Ikbal Alkhafaji, his brother, Amir Alkhafaji who also earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at George Mason, and the rest of his family and friends that have supported him. Always an amazing view. After his undergraduate degree at George Mason University, he will attend American University Washington College of Law or Columbia Law School to pursue a J.D. and concentrate in International Law. Thank you Mason Nation for all your kindness and support.
Jess Boyd will graduate with Latin honors from the Honors College and the CHSS with a major in Global Affairs concentrated in Human Security, and a minor in Intelligence Analysis.
One of her favorite classes was the LLC course GOVT 399: International Relations Policy Task Force, for which her class was the pilot class this past year. Professor Eric McGlinchey and GTA Dersu guided their discussions through a plethora of crucial topics, from COVID protocols to climate change, to LGBTQ+ and gender rights.
During her time at Mason, Jess has many fond memories of late nights staying up with friends and having intense conversations about the world around us that often are only found in a university atmosphere. She has had many fun times, including spring break right before COVID with the GMU club ultimate frisbee team.
Jess would like to sincerely thank the friends she has made at her new home here in NOVA, as well as friends back in NY, and her entire family for supporting her and pushing her to put in the work and do her absolute best. Jess' sweet grandmas have been wise and comforting companions and offered sanctuary during COVID online semesters. Her parents and the chaos that is her large and loud family have taught her that it is okay and wonderful to take up space and form her own opinions. Her precious COVID rescue pup, Oakley, gives her countless cuddles during and after long, stressful nights of studying and papers.
Following graduation, Jess will backpack throughout Europe for a month before returning to NOVA to pursue a career in government and private security work within the DC area, and hopefully travel throughout the world with her dog.
Steven Calozzi will be a graduate of the 2022 class with a Global Affairs and Conflict Resolution dual major, as well as having a concentration in Global Governance. In addition, he is an ROTC cadet here at Mason, and following graduation, he will commission into the United States Army as an active-duty Infantry and Military Intelligence officer. He is thankful for the Global Affairs program for the fun, invigorating, and rewarding opportunities, such as studying abroad twice and the ability to learn about international law from the best in the field.
Livija Kaktaite is a native of Lithuania, studying Global Affairs at George Mason University. She is a member of the George Mason Women's basketball team. Participated in the Global Politics Fellows program in the Spring of 2021. She is a member of SAAC and a Provost scholar. Livija is passionate about international relations, philosophy, history, reading, and outdoor activities.
Saeyeon Kwon is a graduating senior from South Korea with a double concentration in Global Governance and in Human Security, and a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Her time at Mason, both at the Fairfax campus and the Korea campus, was wonderful.
Mason, Fairfax, and the Washington D.C. area were her first impression of America. She loved exploring and often visited famous sites in D.C. During her time at Mason, she worked hard at the Fenwick Library as a student assistant and helped the growth of the Character Assassination and Reputation Politics Research Lab under the department of communications as a media outreach intern.
Her best memories at Mason involved interacting with peers in her classes and at organizations, clubs and events. The diversity at Mason led her to interact with diverse people from various cultural backgrounds, which in turn helped her develop a new perspective.
One of the courses she enjoyed at Mason was GOVT 444: Foreign Intelligence and Civil Liberties by Professor Robert L. Deitz, where she explored the conflict between the powers of the state and the liberties of the individual. She also enjoyed taking INTS 210: Sustainable World, taught by Professor James Dake Taft, where she learned about the world's current environmental problems and its related ethical matters.
Saeyeon will be starting her ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) internship at a Fintech company in New York to bring sustainability in business, where she will apply the theories she learned during her time in college.
Michael is graduating with a B.A in Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Security. While at Mason, Michael was part of the initial Global Gateway program where he spent a semester abroad in South Korea. One of his favorite classes was American Security Policy with Mahmut Cengiz. However, his favorite professor would have to be Albert Kim, who taught Government and Politics of Asia. During his time at Mason, Michael worked part-time as a waiter and played for Mason’s Club Football team. His favorite Mason memory would have to be joining a fishing interest group as a freshman and having fishing turn into one of his main hobbies. During his junior year, Michael worked as a Department of State intern with the Office of International Visitor’s Community Relations Branch. Following graduation, Michael plans on pursuing a career within the federal government. He would like to thank his friends, family, and professors for their support.