This award is given to graduating students who have excelled in the Global Affairs Program through academic performance, including exceptional grade point averages.
Madeline “Maddie” Anderson is graduating with a Double BA in French and Global Affairs, with a concentration in the Environment. As a student and Lead Mentor in the Honors College, Maddie has worked closely with Dr. John Woolsey and Dr. Lisa Gring-Pemble, assisting with program development, first year students’ adjustment to college-level research, and a Wicked Problems Summer Impact project, supported through a grant offered by GMU. It was through her extensive research project in the Honors Global Affairs thesis course, with support from Dr. Niklas Hultin, that Maddie realized her true passion of environmental peacebuilding. She has also been a student at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, where explored ways of utilizing conversation techniques as tools to alleviate environmental stressors to conflicts. To fulfill her goals of developing effective conflict transformation, Maddie will be continuing her research through the Master’s in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University.
Riley Conklin (she/her) is graduating with a B.A. in Global Affairs, with a concentration in Global Inequalities and Responses and a minor in Nonprofit Studies. During her time at George Mason, she has held several different staff positions around campus and spent much of her time volunteering with her student organization, Camp Kesem. Her favorite class was her Introduction to Women's Studies course taught by Kylie Musolf. In the spring, Riley will continue her education at George Mason University as part of the Accelerated Master's program, seeking an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights.
Alexys is graduating with a B.A. in Global Affairs with concentrations in Asia and International Development, and a minor in Korean Studies. During her time at Mason, she was able to study abroad in South Korea via the Global Gateway Program, participate in the Spring 2021 session of the Global Politics Fellows Program, and complete a VSFS internship. She also enjoyed working as an office assistant for the ECE Department. She's very thankful to her friends, family, and professors for supporting her during this time.
Megan Hahn (she/her) is a graduating senior receiving a BA in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in Economics. One of the highlights of her time at Mason was being a Global Politics Fellow where she had the opportunity to intern at the Advocacy Center within the U.S. Department of Commerce. While at the Advocacy Center, Megan was able to work with U.S. companies seeking to do business internationally and this experience confirmed her passion for international relations and analysis. As a student of the Honors College at Mason, she has been an E-board member of Honors College Connects (HCC) and will become an HCC Lead Mentor for Spring 2023. For the current academic year, Megan has been an RA for the Environmental and Sustainability Learning Community for first-year students. Megan has been an involved member of the Intelligence Community Network Club, the Asian Pacific American Coalition, and the Chinese Cultural Club. As a founding member of the Chinese Cultural Club, she has served as both the Secretary and Vice President. Megan has been able to take advantage of the Bachelors/Accelerated Masters program at Mason, and plans to continue her education by pursuing a Masters in International Security in the Schar School at George Mason University in 2023.
Abigail Hawkins (she/her) is a graduating senior receiving a BA in Global Affairs with concentrations in Human Security & Middle East and North Africa Studies and a Minor in Arabic, with plans to pursue a career exploring the intersections of global health diplomacy and international education.. Abigail was recently named a finalist for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals, a public diplomacy fellowship funded by the US Department of State and German Bundestag awarded to 75 Americans, in which she will spend a year in Germany engaging in intensive language study, an academic semester at a German university, and a 3-5 month internship following graduation this spring. During her time at George Mason, Abigail was also a participant in the US Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Arabic in 2020 and 2021, studying at the Noor Majan Arabic Institute in Ibri, Oman, and the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM) in Meknes, Morocco. Abigail also completed a summer study abroad in Amman, Jordan through George Mason's Global Education Office in 2019. She currently serves as an Alumni Ambassador for the Critical Language Scholarship, the Vice President of George Mason University's College Diabetes Network, and is a member of GMU's Honors College.
Jennifer Hayes is a part of the Accelerated Global Affairs Master Program at George Mason University. She is graduating with her BA this December with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security and a concentration in Global Governance. She will continue next semester to finish her Masters in Global Affairs. She currently works three jobs, one of them being part-time for the government and plans on going full-time into her agency once she finishes her Masters. She has greatly enjoyed all of her classes and her professors, here at Mason. She would like to thank her family, especially her sister, for being there for her while she completes her education.
Claire is very excited to embark on a new journey as she is waiting to hear back from graduate programs in the DC Metropolitan area. She hopes to be able to continue her studies in Global Affairs while continuing her work with the Department of Interior’s United States Geological Survey. During her time here at Mason, Dr. Albert Kim was a major source of inspiration for Claire. She was a part of his classes for three semesters, with the most notable being his Politics of Asia class. Her favorite memory at Mason is studying at Fenwick or Southside with friends until late at night
Nida’s favorite professors are Byunghwan Son in Global Affairs and Suleyman Ozeren in Criminology. Her favorite Mason memory is from Mason Day’s concert by Domonic Fike. She and her husband got married young and experiencing such a fun university experience together is a timeless memory. Nida’s plans after graduation are to travel to Bangladesh, develop her career in Research and Development, and pursue her master’s degree in International Security.
Kelly's favorite class and professor was SPAN 325 (Moving Stories) with Dr. Lisa Rabin. She was introduced to Spanish literature and Latin X studies in this course.
Her favorite memories at Mason are meeting her best friend Grace during the Migration Policy and Advocacy fellowship at Mason Square campus, and staying up until 3 AM at Fenwick Library reading “Borderlands” with her friend Alfredo. After graduation Kelly is hoping to get her master's degree in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Spanish and to work with immigrant communities at a nonprofit organization.
Amber is graduating with a B.A. in Global Affairs, a concentration in Asia and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. During her time at Mason, she has held positions with the U.S. Department of State, iEARN-USA, American Councils for International Education, and AMP Global Youth. She has also been a recipient of a Boren Scholarship and a Fulbright Award and studied abroad in China and Taiwan. Her favorite class at Mason was CONF 340 (Global Conflict Analysis and Resolution) with Dr. Thomas Flores. Her best memory at Mason has been making connections with her classmates and professors who are doing interesting and inspiring work. Amber is currently pursuing a full-time position in the international exchange and youth development space.
Morgan Swindall (she/her) is a graduating senior at George Mason University, receiving a BA in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in Chinese Language Studies. In preparation for the start of her fourth year at Mason with the Global Politics Fellowship, Morgan worked as a research intern with Mason’s Oscar IMPACT team while also beginning an internship with a local Community Based Organization (CBO) and resettlement agency entitled the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC). Upon completion of her internship with GMU’s OSCAR team, Morgan learned how to connect communities with resources necessary for development. She used this experience to continue her work while interning at ECDC and providing much needed support for the refugee and immigrant community. Upon finalizing her studies with Mason’s Global Politics Fellowship Program, Morgan was offered a position as a full-time Case Manager with the not for profit organization. In this role, she worked full time assisting low-income families while finalizing her studies in her senior semester at George Mason University. This experience has not only shaped Morgan’s studies within the degree program, but it has also shaped her global understanding of people, places, and institutions. Due to the timely and chaotic nature of refugee work, Morgan is looking forward to taking time out of the field to further develop her language skills in Taiwan. She has been accepted to attend National Sun Yat-Sen University under Taiwan Ministry Of Education’s Chinese Language Center Program where she hopes to continue the cultural understanding she received as a student of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages Chinese Program. She also looks forward to expanding upon the knowledge and work she contributed to as founder and president of George Mason’s Chinese Cultural Club while attending university in Taiwan. Upon finishing her studying abroad program, Morgan intends to advance her graduate education with a Master’s degree in George Mason University’s Global Affairs program while continuing in her new-found passion for working amongst nonprofit leadership.
Lana Mae Vanta (she/her) is a senior at George Mason University (GMU), majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and minoring in Nonprofit Studies. Born in Alexandria, VA, she was raised by two strong Filipino immigrant parents and four older sisters. Amidst the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lana Mae graduated with an Associate of Arts from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). It was at NOVA that she developed a passion and has achieved success within the esports industry with her roles as a Community Outreach Specialist and Brand Ambassador in prominent esports organizations. At GMU, she is a part of the 2022 Nonprofit Fellowship cohort and is an involved member of the Filipino Cultural Association, Alexander Hamilton Society, ADVANCE Pathway Program, and Intelligence Community Network. As a first-generation student, Lana Mae is deeply passionate about promoting civic engagement projects and connecting others to a global network that builds leadership and knowledge for generations to come. She hopes to continue to empower these communities and their voices on the international platform. In the future, Lana Mae aspires to become a Public Diplomacy Officer under the U.S State Department or promote support for disadvantaged communities through international nonprofit organizations.
Winona Zaky is studying Arabic and Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Security. She has dedicated the larger part of her academic career to studying Arabic and its dialects. This past summer, she completed a 3 month language-intensive program in Morocco. Her research interests include violent extremism trends and radicalization within terrorism. Her favorite class during her time at Mason was GOVT346, American Security Policy, and some of her favorite memories at Mason included volunteering with the Office of Sustainability. After graduation, she hopes to secure a position doing research or data collection on terrorism and later on to become an intelligence analyst.