MA Academic Achievement Global Affairs

This award is in recognition of exemplary academic achievement throughout the student's tenure in the Master of Arts in Global Affairs.

2023 Awardees

Amina   Skouti

Amina Skouti

Amina Skouti is graduating with a master's degree in Global Affairs, specializing in global governance and public management. During her undergraduate studies, she also majored in Global Affairs with a concentration in global inequalities and responses. Because of her love for Global Affairs major during undergrad, she was encouraged to pursue a master’s degree in it, and she became a part of the accelerated master’s program. Amina's passion for working for global organizations, such as the United Nations and UNICEF, has been shaped by her experience growing up in war-torn countries, Iraq and Syria. The Global Affairs graduate program has served as a stepping stone to further her understanding of world affairs and conflicts, along with the capstone and seminar courses which enhanced her research skills. Her skills in research were further expanded through her role as a graduate research assistant for the Global Affairs department during Fall 2022 semester. Amina is grateful for the support of her family, friends, and professors throughout her academic journey and cannot wait to make a positive change in this world soon. 

Leslie  Spitz-Edson

Leslie Spitz-Edson

Leslie’s specialization is Culture in Society. Her work at GMU has focused on Indigenous rights, particularly land rights, in the face of increased encroachment by extractive industry. She feels privileged to have had the opportunity to study Global Affairs here and incredibly grateful to all the faculty and staff, but especially to her advisor, Dr. Jennifer Ashley. One of the wonderful things about GLOA is the collegiality and camaraderie. For Leslie it began the very first day of GLOA 600, fall of 2021, the moment she stepped into Dr. Hultin’s classroom at the top of Horizon Hall. Leslie feels particularly fortunate to have gone on both the Sweden and Argentina GLOA trips. Argentina, especially, was brilliant and new (to her), and it was thrilling to meet and learn from so many accomplished scholars and experts in both countries. Finally, Leslie would like to thank Virginia Holm and Cortney Hughes Rinker for providing invaluable assistance and support at every turn. Thanks everyone and good luck to my fellow graduates!

Nicholas Kestler

Nicholas Kestler

Nicholas (Nick) Kestler is a graduate student in Global Affairs with a specialization in Security and Conflict. Nick is a Major in the United States Army and serves as a Foreign Area Officer working in Sub-Saharan Africa. His favorite courses at George Mason were Dr. Son’s Economic Globalization and Development and Dr. Martin’s Civil Wars and Stabilization in Africa. Nick’s most memorable experience was the GLOA 710 Seminar in Argentina while walking the streets of Buenos Aires, eating chorizos, and attempting to speak Spanish. After graduation he is moving to Vicenza, Italy with his wife and daughter to start his next job with the US Army. He would like to thank the Global Affairs, Schar School, and the Carter School professors for their stimulating instruction and support during his time at GMU.

Ninon  Nelson

Ninon Nelson

Ninon Nelson is graduating from the Global Affairs MA program with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security. While at Mason, she served as the GLOA Program Representative and the Vice-President of the Science and Technology Campus for the Graduate and Professional Student Association. She was also involved in the planning and organization of Mason’s annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference. Her research at Mason included changing US foreign policy in the Middle East, migration policies in the Global South, the environmental impact of Big Oil corporations and analyzing the trajectory of war in Yemen. Her time at Mason was characterized by the diversity of ideas and experiences presented to her through expert faculty and accomplished peers. She would like to especially recognize Dr. Cortney Rinker, Dr Byunghwan Son, Dr. Yasmine Ipek and Dr. Jennifer Ashley for their incomparable support and kindness throughout her graduate career. Finally, she would like to extend her gratitude to her parents for being a constant source of support and strength. She hopes to use her experiences at Mason to work in peacebuilding and assist with post-conflict resolution and reconstruction.

Sukaina  Nizam

Sukaina Nizam

Sukaina Nizam is graduating from the Global Affairs MA program with a specialization in Global Culture and Society. Her research at Mason ranged from analyzing the effect of assimilation programs on the cultural identity of Syrian refugees to understanding the different identities that the veil can embody to studying the role of faith in Muslim humanitarian organizations in the United States. A class Nizam particularly enjoyed was ‘Myth, Magic and Mind’ taught by Dr. Cortney Hughes Rinker. Nizam is appreciative of the diverse environment that was prevalent throughout Mason generally and the Global Affairs program specifically. Nizam would like to thank all her GLOA professors but especially Dr. Cortney Hughes Rinker, Dr. Jennifer Ashley, Dr. Byungwan Son, and Virginia Holm for their support and kindness. Nizam also extends her appreciation to her family and friends for their unending support and faith in her.

Gary  Roach

Gary Roach

Gary Roach is a Foreign Area Officer in the United States Army. He is attending George Mason University as part of the advanced civil schooling initiative offered to him through the U.S. Army. In a single year, Gary will complete the Global Affairs Graduate program with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security. After graduation, Gary and his family will move to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to serve in the Security Cooperation Organization at the U.S. Embassy. Gary is grateful to all his professors for their assistance and guidance throughout his learning experience. Additionally, Gary would like to thank his wife Teresa, and their daughter Evelyn, for making the necessary sacrifices over this past year for him to complete his degree. 

Lindsey  Schmidt

Lindsey Schmidt

Lindsey Schmidt is graduating from the Global Affairs MA program with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security. Schmidt is particularly grateful for the diverse research opportunities available to her through the GLOA MA program. Throughout her master’s degree, Schmidt conducted research on topics including the role of female-led grassroots peacebuilding in Western Sahara; framings of climate change in the Pacific Small Island Developing States; climate induced immobility in the United States and Central America; and the U.S. media’s disparate representations of Ukrainian and Central American migrants. Schmidt would like to thank all her GLOA professors for their unending support of her research and post-collegiate aspirations; her peers for creating welcoming, enriching, and challenging discussions; and the George Mason track and field team for their persistent encouragement over the past two years. Schmidt also extends her appreciation to her family and friends outside the Mason community for their unrelenting support and inspiration. Upon graduation, Schmidt will begin a career in the federal government, in which she aims to promote international development and the expansion of human rights. 

Leslie  Spitz-Edson

Leslie Spitz-Edson