Student Awardees

We are incredibly proud of our Global Affairs MA award-winning graduates and would like to spotlight their successes and accomplishments during their time at Mason.

Spring 2020 Awardees

Academic Achievement

 

Gerald Mattern

Cody Mattern is in the process of working toward attaining his Master’s Degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security. In addition to his studies, Cody works full-time for the International Rescue Committee, an organization focused on refugee resettlement. He has had numerous memorable experiences at George Mason University but has been the most grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with the many truly incredible and amazing people that make up the George Mason community.

He is unsure where life will take him and what’s next for him after graduation, but he would like to convey his heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of the excellent instructors he’s worked with during his time at George Mason who went above and beyond in supporting him and his fellow students: Dr. Lisa Breglia, Dr. John Gordon, Dr. Matthew West, Dr. Jennifer Ashley, Dr. Jonathon Repinecz, Dr. Byunghwan Son, Dr. Mark Katz, and Dr. Kathalene Razzano.

 

Seth Parker

Seth is graduating with a MA in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security. He began his degree as an Accelerated Master’s student while completing his BA in Government and International Politics at Mason’s Schar School. After completing his undergraduate degree Seth began working full time as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton while continuing his MA. 

The Global Affairs program presented countless opportunities to learn from some of Mason’s finest instructors from across academic departments. He would like to thank Dr. Ashley, Dr. Razzano, and Dr. Rockwell for helping him develop academically and pursue his interests. After graduation, Seth will continue to work at Booz Allen Hamilton as a Senior Consultant. He plans to take a short break from academia before starting his next academic endeavor in 2021.

Seth would like to thank all of the GLOA faculty and students for making class both educational and enjoyable at the same time. Having a great group of people around really made the program that much better. Lastly, as musical genius Capital Bra would say, du weißt bescheid bra, wir haben alles rasiert.

 

Kelsie Rohler

Kelsie is graduating with an M.A. in Global Affairs, as well as an M.A. in Spanish after completing a Dual Master’s program. Kelsie has enjoyed getting to explore her interests in human rights, law/policy, and Latin America through the various extensive research projects she has had the opportunities to complete during her time at Mason, to include projects on the federal death penalty in Puerto Rico and transitional justice and human rights in Colombia. Kelsie’s most memorable experience was traveling to Cuba with the Global Affairs program to learn about foreign investment. She feels extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn more about Cuba, experience its beauty, and make connections with people throughout her visit.

Kelsie currently works as a paralegal for a local law firm and hopes to continue to work in law or a similar field that allows her to continue speaking Spanish while also defending people’s rights and interests. She would like to thank her professors in the Global Affairs and Spanish departments for always supporting her ambitious interests, as well as her family, friends, and others in her life who have provided their unwavering support.

 

Jahna Paige

Jahna is completing her Master’s Degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Governance and Public Management. While Jahna enjoyed all of her classes within the Global Affairs department, her favorite has been International Development Projects in Practice with Professor J.P. Singh, whose extensive knowledge of international development, brilliant teaching style, and incredible personality provided the perfect setting to learn from.

Although there are countless experiences Jahna has enjoyed during her academic career at Mason, her most memorable has undoubtedly been interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds, whether it be cultural, political, or academic.

Upon graduation, Jahna plans to pursue a job in the international development sector addressing the issue of child marriage. While returning to academia is not in her near future, she may decide to continue her education at a later date. Jahna would like to offer her sincere gratitude towards her parents and friends she made at Mason for their endless support, as well as the Global Affairs faculty whose courses provided a challenging, yet rewarding experience.

 

Jessica Smith

 

Certificate of Merit

 

Emmanuel Donkoh-Moore

Emmanuel Donkoh-Moore was born and grew up in Ghana before migrating to the United States. He completed his BA in International Studies with a minor in Political Science. His passion for women and child rights served as his motivation for applying to the Global Affairs program where he specialized in Global Security and Conflict. He chose George Mason and the Global Affairs program for the diversity and location.

He enjoyed all the classes he enrolled in while in the Global Affairs program and enjoyed the discussions during the class sessions. The most memorable ones were during the final presentations in most of the classes where he shared his research with his colleagues. Emmanuel plans to join the work force right after graduation however, he hopes to further his education in the near future.

Emmanuel extends his appreciation to all the professors and staff within the Global Affairs program for their encouragement and assistance throughout the program. He extends his appreciation to Dr. Niklas Hultin for the opportunity to serve as a graduate assistant under his leadership and the working on a host of papers with him.

 

Rachael Holt

Rachael is getting her master’s degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Conflict and Security. Her favorite experience from the program was the GLOA 720 Europe at a Crossroads summer course in Madrid taught by Dr. Jennifer Ashley.

After graduation, Rachael is seeking to begin work in the humanitarian/global nonprofit sector or international diplomacy. Rachael would like to thank her parents Greg and Carolyn, her younger brother and Mason art student Jared, her friends, and all of the wonderful and kindhearted colleagues in the Global Affairs program that have supported her and contributed to her educational experience at George Mason University.

 

 

 

Monica Kamal

Monica Kamal is a graduate student in the global affairs program with a specialization in conflict and security. Her favorite class during the program was Gender, Sex, and Religion: Ancient Egypt with Dr. Williamson because she learned a multitude of fascinating insights regarding the great Ancient Egyptian civilization, how to apply this knowledge, and improve and excel in graduate-level writing!

Overall, Monica really enjoyed the Global Affairs graduate program because it showed her the world from a different perspective. After graduation, she plans to find a job in counterterrorism in or around the DC area.

 

 

 

Ruiyang Liu

Ruiyang Liu entered George Mason University as a Global Affairs graduate student with a specialization in Global Media. As an international student visiting from the People’s Republic of China, Ruiyang was intrigued by the various perspectives of his Global Affairs professors such as Breglia, Son, Ashley, West, and Razzano. Ruiyang participated in the study abroad program, under the leadership of Professor Breglia, to visit the beautiful island nation of Cuba.

After graduation, Ruiyang plans to return to the PRC with his new knowledge and interest in global affairs in order to accelerate his career. He would like to thank all the professors for their inexhaustible patience and tolerance with his limited English skills in addition to being welcoming of his foreign political views. Finally, he wants to thank his amazing parents for supporting his interest to continue his education in America.

 

Amie Mbye

Amie Mbye will be graduating in May 2020 from George Mason University with her Master’s degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Culture and Society along with a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies. One of her most memorable experiences at Mason was the study abroad trip to Madrid, Spain in the summer of 2019. She would like to thank all the wonderful professors she has had during her two years at Mason for expanding her knowledge of the world with their bright minds and the New Student and Family Programs team that helped her develop her skills as a professional staff member.

She would also like to give a HUGE thank you to all of her friends in her cohort that have made her experience at Mason so full of joy and unforgettable memories. Lastly, she would like to thank her family for their unconditional love and support as she pursues her goals in higher education. Amie is planning to move back to her home state, Rhode Island, to pursue work in either nonprofit or the education field helping students of color in their journey to pursue higher education.

 

Amy Melki

Amy is graduating with a Master’s degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Conflict and Security. Although, Amy enjoyed all of her course experiences at GMU, her favorite class was the GLOA 710 study abroad program in Madrid, Spain. During her time in Madrid Amy learned about Spain’s political make-up and its cultural heritage. Not only did she gain a deep understanding of the people of Spain, but she also gained lifelong friendships throughout the program.

One of her most memorable experiences was interviewing strangers in the streets of Madrid for research purposes, which took her out of her comfort zone and helped her grow as a person. But, for Amy, the most important aspect of GLOA 710 was Dr. Jennifer Ashley who never ceased to encourage her students and help them in their research. Amy would like to first and foremost thank her Mom and Dad for their never failing support and for their selfless love. She would also like to thank her friends Elena, Abla, Mohammad, and Dieu Donne for their friendship and all the memories they share. Lastly, Amy would like to thank the Global Affairs faculty and staff for their hard-work and support throughout.

 

Carolyn McPhail

Carolyn is graduating with a degree in Global Affairs and a specialization in Global Health. Her favorite classes have definitely been infectious disease classes, as she hopes to pursue the things she has learned in those classes in her future work. Carloyn's most notable experience while at Mason was the Cuba study abroad trip led by Dr. Breglia – it was a trip she will never forget.

 

After graduation, she hopes to go to work in the public health sector. She also hopes to take lots from her current GA position into that work. Lastly, Carolyn would like to thank her parents, boss at the OSC, and Dr. Breglia for helping and supporting her so much throughout her Mason career.

 

 

Michael Neu

Michael is a U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer with a regional focus in Southeast Asia. He is currently a global affairs graduate student with a concentration in global conflict and security. Growing up in Japan and spending a considerable amount of time in Europe and Afghanistan, Michael saw the ever-changing nature of the globalized economy and the cultural impacts it has had on all societies. GLOA courses such as "Economic Globalization and Development" and "Globalization in Asia" has helped shape his understanding and appreciation of the intricate, yet vital role of globalization.

Michael would like to thank all of the Global Affairs professors and classmates who have enabled him to better understand the world through the lens of globalization. He is excited to take his newfound knowledge and experiences from the GLOA program and apply them to his follow-on assignments at U.S. embassies in Southeast Asia.

 

Christian Vickland

Christian specialized in Conflict and Security, motivated by a long-standing interest in national security. While he enjoyed all of the GLOA classes, his favorites were GLOA 610 and 615 with Dr. Son, whose sense of humor and unfailingly good mood made class fun every week.

His most fond memory of Mason will be the friends he made within GLOA, who he hopes to keep in touch with. After graduation, he looks forward to beginning public service within the federal government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sulaiman Popal

Sulaiman will graduate from the Global Affairs program with a concentration in conflict and security. He is thankful for the many opportunities that are made available to not only global affairs students but also all George Mason students. With funding from the Global Education Office’s travel grant for independent research, Sulaiman was able to travel to Athens, Greece to interview members of anarchist squatter communes for his dissertation project.

One of the most memorable moments from his time at GMU was the Cuba study abroad trip he took in January 2020. The program offered a great opportunity to learn about Cuban economics while also sharing a great travel experience with his Global Affairs cohort. Sulaiman will be continuing coursework at GMU in order to complete a graduate certificate in mass atrocity and genocide prevention. Sulaiman would like to specifically thank Jennifer Ashely, Lisa Breglia, and Paul Smith.  

 

Tyler Lightell

 

Yoko Nagashima

 

Fall 2019 Awardees

Elena Kemmerzell, Mohammad Al Rowaily, Cecelia Kimes, Kelsie Hohenberger, and Abla Triki.

Spring 2019 Awardees

Academic Achievement

Rebecca Adams

Rebecca AdamsFor Rebecca, coming from southern Virginia to DC was originally a culture shock. Now that she has completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Global Affairs she feels like she has all the skills necessary to get her dream job.

Global Affairs has helped Rebecca learn more about the world and see it in new ways. Though she originally thought about a career as a Japanese translator, she realized she had a bigger passion for the environment, in part due to her participation in the Global Politics Fellows program and her internship as a State Department.

During her time at Mason, Rebecca had a once in a lifetime opportunity of going to Cuba in the MA seminar abroad. As her first time out of the country she was able to experience a whole new culture and meet the most welcoming people.

When Rebecca is not in the GLOA office working as an undergraduate advisor, she is walking around parks and watching wildlife or taking care of her pets. Her passion in life is to work to protect the environment on a global scale and work with nonprofit organizations to protect animals. Rebecca would like to thank Dr. Breglia for the trip to Cuba, Dr. Ashley for pushing her outside her comfort zones and interviewing scholars, Erika Marquina for helping her with advising, and Professor Razzano for providing support when she needed it most.

 

Sabrine BaiouSabrine Baiou

Sabrine started off as an Accelerated Master’s student working to finish her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology while also working to earn her Master's in Global Affairs with a specialization in Conflict and Security. Sabrine is interested in many things but two of these things include global mental health and American foreign policy. After graduation, she would like to work for a Think Tank here in DC and expand her knowledge on research and advocacy for foreign policy issues. Joining the Global Affairs Master's program changed the direction of her career aspirations and brought her new insights and understandings that have allowed her to better comprehend the world in which we live. She would like to thank her parents and her professors for supporting her and pushing her forward on this journey. 

Aaron McReynolds

Since Aaron’s first day at Mason in August 2014, he has met some of the most intelligent and caring people he has come to call his colleagues and friends. He is happy to say he has stayed with the Global Affairs program since his very first day of class freshman year. He has been proud to represent Global Affairs and Mason as a whole throughoutAaron McReynolds his undergraduate and graduate studies. His favorite class in the program was Dr. Son's Economic Globalization and Development class; though each class developed a critical aspect of his modern academic portfolio in some way. Like many graduates this year, his main goal for the future is staying away from Unemployment Assistance, hopefully through a career that applies the professional and personal lessons he has learned in this program. Aaron would like to thank the GLOA professors and staff who helped him to succeed throughout his time at Mason, specifically Dr. Breglia, Dr. Ashley, Dr. Son, Dr. Hultin, Dr. Razzano, and Ms. Lister. He looks forward to seeing everyone again in the near future!

 

Jessica Ostrowski-Wright

Jessica Ostrowski-Wright is graduating with a Master’s in Global AffairsJessica Ostrowski-Wrightand a Graduate Certificate in Women & Gender Studies. Having studied abroad in Italy and Sweden during her undergraduate career at James Madison University, Jess discovered her passion for Global Affairs. While on campus, she spends time working in the Global Education Office helping students prepare for their study abroad experiences, or working on countless written assignments in Fenwick Library. While not working on campus, she can be found volunteering with social justice-focused organizations, or reading and spending time with her new kitten. While there are many highlights from her time in graduate school, her trip to Havana, Cuba in January of 2018 stands out the most. She loved having the opportunity to travel during the Global Affairs program, and this program connected her studies with real-world experiences.

She would like to thank all of her wonderful Global Affairs professors, Dr. Breglia, Dr. Ashley, Dr. Hultin, Dr. Son, and Dr. Razzano, as well as Stephanie Lister. And, in addition to thanking all of her incredible Women & Gender Studies professors, including Dr. Manuel-Scott and Dr. Lewis, she would especially like to thank her parents, roommates, and friends for their constant support.

Julianna Rollo

Julianna is graduating with her MA in Global Affairs with a specialization in Conflict & Security. She began her Julianna Rollograduate studies in the Fall of 2017 with the Accelerated Masters in Global Affairs program. She graduated last August with her Bachelor’s in Criminology. 

One of her favorite parts of her graduate studies at Mason was the seminar abroad. She participated in the program to Cuba last winter. She loved the opportunity to travel, explore a new culture, and make some new friends along the way. Also, the 70-degree weather was not bad while it was snowing in Virginia!

Julianna would first like to thank her parents. She knows she would probably not be standing here without their constant support. Second, she would like to thank her two older brothers; she is glad they have grown past the bickering stage and now love and support each other more than anyone else in the world. 

And finally, please do not ask her what her post-graduation plans are, she is just excited to see where life will take her!

 

Certificate of Merit

Rebekah Balint

Rebekah was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2014-2016 serving as an Education Volunteer in rural Mozambique Rebekah Balintworking with HIV and Malaria initiatives. She is now working with Change Management at Freddie Mac. At Mason, she was a Global Affairs student with a specialization in Global Governance and Public Management. Her favorite course in the Global Affairs program was the Capstone seminar with Dr. Razzano. In the future, she hopes to work in some capacity with International Development and project management. 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelsey Hahn

Kelsey Hahn grew up in Midlothian, Virginia. She graduated from Randolph-Macon College with an undergraduate Kelsey Hahndegree in political science and international studies with a minor in Spanish. It was there that Kelsey found her passion for understanding the complexities of international security. Once she visited Mason’s campus and met with the Global Affairs faculty she knew she wanted to continue her education here. During her time at Mason, she specialized in Global Conflict and Security, and was able to continue her research on the use of children in armed conflict, particularly in the Lord’s Resistance Army in central Africa. Mason has provided her so many memorable experiences but none as influential as studying abroad in Cuba this past January with the one and only Lisa Breglia. That experience and the rest of her time at Mason has been invaluable and she can’t thank the faculty and staff enough for all that they have done and will continue to do for all the students who have the honor of joining this upcoming cohort. She wants to give a special thanks to her parents for all of their support; she would not be where she is today without their influence and guidance. 

Sol Lee

Sol believes that Global Affairs is crucial not only for the global economy but for the development of humankind. Sol LeeBefore coming to Mason, Sol received her  Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from  American University. She decided to continue her education and develop her insight into diverse and complex international issues through her studies in Mason’s Global Affairs program. She knows her educational experience at Mason provided her with a foundation for taking on new challenges. Additionally, it deepened her enthusiasm to pursue a career that allows her to express values and apply them in a positive and enhancing way for the international community. 

Sol admits that being an international student is not an easy path! But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. Sol would like to express her gratitude to Dr. Breglia, Dr. Son, Dr. Ashley, Dr. Hultin, and Dr. Razzano and all the pathway instructors from INTO Mason. She would like to particularly thank her family who flew all the way from South Korea to congratulate her on this accomplishment. She would not be here without the support of her family.

Georgia Parolin Belina

Georgia Parolin Belina is a graduate of the Global Affairs program, with a specialization in Economics and Georgia Parolin BelinaDevelopment. She decided to pursue her MA in Global Affairs to incorporate the knowledge with her degree in Law, combining both. After graduation, she plans to go back to Brazil to practice law. During her studies at Mason, she enjoyed all her classes and is looking forward to her study abroad this summer in Spain. Lastly, she wants to thank all her professors at Mason and her family. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melody Sangkaworn

Melody Sangkaworn is originally from Bangkok, Thailand. She completed her BA in Asian Studies and a minor in Melody SangkawornChinese. Before she decided to come to the US, she was a tutor in Chinese, English and Thai. Then, she came to the US to pursue her MA in Global Affairs to further pursue her interests in culture and society. She chose to study at Mason for its diversity. For her, Global Affairs is about bringing her perspective to the table. It is about utilizing incredible resources to direct the change she wants to see in the world.

She loves to be around people from many different cultural backgrounds; and she is amazed by the richness this brings to life. The most memorable experience that she has had is to meet friends from all over the world. Her friends are the main reason that she did not feel isolated and homesick during her time at Mason.

Melody wants to thank all of her professors who always supported her throughout the semesters. Their encouragement and dedication meant a lot to her. Thank you to all  her friends who always cheered her up and stayed by her side. The most important people are her family who offered her this valuable opportunity. Without them, she would never would have been able to experience a new world.