Student Awardees

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

Peter N. Stearns Global Citizenship Award

Abigail Bilby

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Abigail Bilby is from Suffolk, Virginia. She came to Mason because it had so many opportunities for her to take advantage of being so close to DC and as such an internationally focused school. Before coming to college, she knew that she wanted to help people; she just had no idea what she meant by that, in what way, and where to start. However, once she saw the Global Affairs major, she knew it was what she wanted to do. 

Now She is graduating summa cum laude with her Global Affairs MA degree with a concentration in International Development. She also have minors in Immigration Studies and Conflict Analysis and Resolution. During her time at Mason, she have been an Assistant Lab Manager of the Peacebuilding Lab for the Center of Religion, Diplomacy, and Conflict resolution, and a Mason Ambassador. Abigail also spent a semester at Christ Church College at Oxford University as part of the Oxford Tutorial Semester Experience study abroad program.

One of her best experiences at Mason was being a part of the Honors in the Major for GLOA program. In this program, she designed and conducted research on local perceptions of NGO aid in Montrouis, Haiti. Although she has worked with a nonprofit organization in Montrouis since 2016, interviewing people face-to-face about how they think we the internationally community is aiding or failing them was truly an enlightening experience. With the help of her mentor Dr. Hultin, her work was even accepted in the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and published into the proceedings with glowing reviews. 

With these experiences, she plans to work for an international humanitarian aid and development organization. Although she plans to attend grad school in the future, there are crises and issues across the globe that she wants to be a part of solving. The global COVID-19 pandemic has helped her to realize that she wants to be a part of those efforts as soon as possible. 

As she approaches graduation, she is forever grateful to the people who helped her get to this point. Abigail’s family and friends have been a steadfast support system and her professors over her four years here have gone above and beyond to encourage her to succeed. The stellar professors that she has been fortunate enough to learn from at Mason have always encouraged her interests and challenged her to push herself to be the best academic and global citizen that she can be. Abigail would like to thank Dr. Hultin, Dr. Gopin, and Dr. Leeman as just a few of the phenomenal professors who took the time to make her time at Mason a truly fulfilling experience. 

Although because of the pandemic her undergraduate degree- the culmination of four years and countless hours of perseverance, challenges, and discovery- came to an end at 7:52 on an inconspicuous Wednesday zoom call, she would not trade her experience with Mason and with GLOA for the world. 

Jin Seong Choi

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Jin Seong Choi is a Senior student majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration on Global Governance. His academic interest lies primarily in the area of political science, especially in certain themes under the political science such as international relations, security studies and diplomacy. To fulfill his academic curiosity, Jin Seong has been working as a Student Fellow and a Research Assistant at the Center for Security Policy Studies-Korea (CSPS-Korea), a satellite branch of CSPS situated at George Mason University’s Arlington campus. Throughout his Fellowship, he assisted organizing two International Security Symposiums on: “Environmental Challenges and Solutions” and “Human Security in the Gray Zone: North Korean Defectors and Their Children,” and participated in a research project on sport diplomacy which was sponsored by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After graduation, Jin Seong plans to earn a Master’s degree in the field of international politics and continue with developing his academic interests.

Taking this opportunity, he would like to convey his heartfelt gratitude toward Dr. Soyoung Kwon, Professor of Global Affairs at George Mason University Korea and the Director of Center for Security Policy Studies-Korea, who always has encouraged him to think outside the box and poured efforts to drag him out of his comfort zone. He was able to realize his academic interests after her intriguing and insightful Government classes. Thanks to her, he had the honor of taking part in a governmental project as well as organizing Symposiums on international security, which are a quite rare opportunity for an undergraduate student. The moment he met her was a turning point in my life.

Outstanding Academic Achievement

Kevin Omans

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Kevin Omans is graduating with a Global Affairs concentration in Asia. In addition to Global Affairs, he majored in Foreign Languages (Korean and Spanish). He is especially interested in Asian Studies and Cultural Studies. Something super cool he got to do while at Mason was help give a tour to North Korean defector students who were visiting. He also enjoyed helping out with Mason's Central Asia & Caucasus Club. Academically, Kevin really enjoyed GLOA 101 with Professor Miles. That class really cleared up a lot of confusion of what Global Affairs was, and it was a great introduction to the field.

In the short term, Kevin will continue taking Korean classes. After this, he hopes to go to graduate school to study cultures and languages. In the long term, he wants to pursue a career in teaching or study abroad advising. Global Affairs definitely taught him to think outside of the box and search for the connections between fields, events, and more. Kevin is grateful for having had the opportunity to explore different disciplines this way. Thank you to all of his professors, advisors, and friends at Mason. It would not have been possible without you.

Batool Ibrahim

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Batool Ibrahim is a global affairs and communication double major. In her first semester at Mason, she took gloa 101 to fulfill her mason core credits and she fell in love with the major. Her GLOA concentration is media, communication and culture and she has loved every class she has taken for her major especially environmental policy making in developing countries and media criticism! Batool will be attending George Washington University in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and hope to work with a nonprofit in the future on data privacy and artificial intelligence policy. 

John Bull

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John is completing a B.A. in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Economy and Management. John has also finished a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. He is grateful for the opportunity to have studied in the Global Affairs program at Mason. John has particularly enjoyed and been challenged by his classes in Global Conflict Management, Arabic, Economics and Marketing, and each Linguistics courses he has gotten to take. He is thankful for the ways that his time at Mason has further equipped him for living and thriving in an international context. John also thanks his family, particularly his wife and parents, for all of their endless support for him through prayers, finances, and unconditional love. Most of all, John thanks God and give Him all glory, honor, and praise for any good that is in his life. He gives salvation to all who call on His name through the Lord Jesus Christ, guaranteeing forgiveness of sin and resurrected life with Himself for eternity. He has given him confidence in all of his weaknesses through this hope, knowing that in Him John is made strong.

Yelim Ku

Yelim Ku is majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Economy and Management and minoring in Marketing. Since she is a Mason Korea student, she could take advantage of both campuses in Korea and Fairfax. One of the most remarkable things she made in Mason Korea is connections with Gbemi Disu, who is a former Chief Business Officer, and her life mentor.  She is the most inspiring woman Yelim has ever met! Thanks a lot for all her support and encouragement. In Fairfax campus, Yelim implemented several marketing projects with amazing team members, which she really enjoyed and has become one of the most valuable experiences she had.

Yelim would like to thank her parents and grandparents who have always given her unconditional love and fully supported her, my love, Gueyong, who has been always standing by her side throughout this long journey, and many other friends of hers!

Yelim got accepted to Thunderbird School of Global Management's specialized Master of Global Management degree in Fall 2021. It is the No. 1 master’s in management ranking in the Times Higher Education/Wall Street Journal 2019 Business Schools Report. She looks forward to continuing her journey in Arizona and many other countries with amazing people she will get to know.

Danny Le

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During Danny Le’s time in the Global Affairs program, he chose to concentrate in Global Inequalities and Responses with his interests in learning more about nonprofit work and social movements. Much of his student involvement included working with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, but also being involved with cultural and identity-based groups. He felt that during his time in the program, Danny was able to relate his interests and student involvement with his coursework in having the opportunities to learn about interesting topics from all over the world.  

This program helped Dylan to meet other students, faculty, and staff that helped him feel a lot more engaged in the learning process. His favorite courses had to be his language courses with Korean and Chinese, but also his capstone course with Professor Jonathon Repinecz. He was able to learn more about what he would like to pursue in his future career in working with AAPI communities in nonprofit work while exploring nonprofit opportunities abroad. He made the choice to change his major to Global Affairs during his sophomore year, and it was a decision that he is glad he made as it allowed him to explore his own interests while learning valuable information from his professors and other students in the program.

Macy Karpa

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Macy is graduating with a concentration in Global Inequalities and Responses and a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. For her honors in the major project, she focused on political homophobia in Russia, published her paper in the NCUR Proceedings, and presented her project at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Global Conference on Women and Gender, and the National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium. She also participated in an undergraduate think tank for diversifying Russian area studies and presented at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Annual Convention in 2020. Additionally, she’s worked at Fenwick Library since spring 2020. She hopes to continue with Russian and East European studies and to work in libraries in the future.

Jackie Mora

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Certificate of Merit

Maggie Ryan

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Maggie Ryan pursued a degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and minors in Spanish and Sociology. In spring 2020, she traveled to Madrid, Spain to begin her exchange semester at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where she hoped to study the Spanish democratic transition and constitutional formation. She was devastated when the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compelled her and her fellow students to evacuate the country, but she will always cherish the connections she made there and would like to recognize and thank Nicolás Noriega, Itiola Akingbola, and Marta and Andres Vázquez for their unwavering support.

Maggie is honored to have worked as a research assistant for Dr. Jennifer Ashley this past year. She would like to give her sincerest thanks to Dr. Ashley for her guidance and trust, starting as long ago as her Humor & Global Politics class in spring 2018 and throughout her leadership of the summer 2019 ‘Europe at a Crossroads’ program in Madrid. Dr. Ashley profoundly supports her students and has shown Maggie the importance of diplomatic representation in international settings.

Maggie would also like to thank Dr. Ellen Johnson Serafini, Dr. Rei Berroa, Dr. Antonio Carreño Rodríguez, Dr. Esperanza Roman Mendoza, the Student Support and Advocacy Center, Courtney Diener, Caitlyn Largent, the Honors College, Dean Zofia Burr, Dr. Keith Clark, Richard Todd Stafford, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Dr. Ben Manski, Dr. Nancy Hanrahan, Dr. Elizangela Storelli, and Dr. Sonja Taylor.

After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to intern in the nonprofit legal sector and apply to law school. She would like to pursue a career in international human rights litigation, with hopes to grow US diplomatic relations and increase our membership in international human rights treaties. Maggie is so proud to have attended a public, Research I institution in Virginia, and she hopes to support future Global Affairs students as a Mason alumna. Most of all, thank you to her dad, mom, and sister--for everything.

Dylan Finley

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Dylan Finley is 21 years old from Virginia Beach, Virginia.  This May he will be graduating with a degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Russia & Central Asia and a minor in Russian language.  A few of his academic interests are the Russian and Ukrainian languages and Post-Soviet nation building.  This summer he will be studying abroad in Kyiv, Ukraine where he will continue his language studies.  Being a student in the Global Affairs program has had a tremendous impact on not only his understandings of the mechanisms of our world, but also on him as a person.  Global Affairs’ diverse student body allowed him to meet, learn and work with so many unique students from various backgrounds and cultures, whom he feels he learned a great deal from in addition to his formal studies.  Dylan would like to thank each and every professor he had classes with, as well as all of the beautiful people he has met throughout his years at Mason for contributing to his growth as a student and a person.  In particular like to thank Dr. James Levine and Professor Elena Guglielmi for providing him with so many opportunities and inspiring him to continue his studies in Russian language.  

Diana Michelle Gudiel

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Diana Michelle Gudiel is a Global Affairs major with a double concentration in global governance and international development with a minor in legal studies. She is Guatemalan-American, and for as long as she can remember coming from an immigrant family has inspired her to help people in any capacity to secure a safer future. Global Affairs has allowed her the opportunity to gain more insight on people’s way of life around the world and how people’s lives are impacted by developments in modernization, industrialization, and political developments (to name a few). First and foremost, Diana would like to thank her academic advisor Erika Marquina because she has helped her explore options to gain the most out of her Global Affairs experience. Erika helped her navigate completing the Global Politics Fellowship, which provided her with invaluable experience and credit towards an opportunity to study in the Arlington Campus and intern at an immigration law firm, the Legal Aid Justice Center. Further, Erika helped her find the best study abroad program to align with her interests and focus on immigration within Global Affairs. She was able to have a life changing experience studying in Budapest, Hungary and interning for the UN International Organization for Migration. The flexibility and focus that Global Affairs provided throughout her four years allowed her to pursue her interests in Global Affairs and figure out her passion post-graduation. Upon graduation Diana hopes to continue gaining experience in the immigration and legal field by furthering her studies in law school.

Gabriella Hensinger

The Global Affairs Program enabled Gabriella Hensinger to study a wide range of interests and enhance her understanding of global conflict and its implications. One of the highlights of her time in the program was her for-credit internship at the US Department of State. After graduation, she will be attending Scalia School of Law to study national security law.

Minkyu Joo
Minkyu Joo started engineering in the United States and transferred to George Mason University because of his interests in international studies, economics, and international issues.

As soon as Minkyu finished his military service, he started trading at the company and started studying again at George Mason Korea. He was very challenged and wanted to quit when he had a company project and exam at the same time, but it improved his ability in the end. Through many things Minkyu learned in Global Affairs while doing trade at his current job, he has seen the global market more broadly. The most valuable thing he has learned at George Mason University is that he can see, interpret and analyze something from various perspectives. 

His long-term plan is to study international politics and international relations more and create a market for our products in various overseas markets.

Rabab Aytouni

Rabab Aytouni is originally from Morocco. In 2014, she started her education at Northern Virginia community college, graduated in 2019 with a major in general studies, and transferred to (GMU) in 2019.  She was always passionate about global affairs. George Mason University allowed her to achieve her goal, complete her educational journey, and fulfill a strong desire to expand the information base, which will help her succeed in the professional aspect of the future. She also thinks that the global affairs field requires more study and knowledge; Rabab is passionate about discovering different countries' cultures and histories and eager to learn more about globalization and its negative and positive implications. The distinguished doctors that the university has in the global affairs departments, such as Dr. Lisa Rabin, and Dr. Scimecca, Joseph made her look forward to achieving a degree in global culture and society. 

She has always been passionate about learning global affairs. This field has allowed her to understand international alliances, non-governmental organizations, and multinational companies in light of the continuing spread of globalization worldwide. Global affairs deal with international sovereignty, environmental protection, development, and human rights at an international level and it is also concerned with the domestic policies of individual countries.

 In her graduate program, she chose Global culture and society's specialization because it will allow her to understand how globalization's features led societies and cultures to affect each other in different aspects. She wanted to learn more about how different cultures turned more and more alike and how they became homogeneous, such as the common taste of music, fashion, architecture, and eating habits. 

Besides, Global affairs uncover how the world works, how power structures are created, and how countries are either exploited or neglected. Lastly, she thinks that the global affairs major is excellent preparation for a career in politics. Rabab chose to achieve a degree in Global affairs because it includes political analysis, global history, war, terrorism, and security. Pursuing a degree in global affairs allowed her to learn more about group minorities and study all historical and contemporary topics.

Anelva Corcos Beltran

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Anelva Corcos Beltran immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 7 years old for a better future. She will be the first in her family to graduate college. Anelva is proud of where she comes from and proud of where she is going. Anelva fell in love with Global Affairs because she felt personally connected, but also of the knowledge it brought her. It demonstrates the complexity of our world and taught her different cultures in order to comprehend our environment. Her time at Mason has been amazing because she was able to have a unique experience. She worked as a Peer Advisor since her first year at the Office of Undergraduate Education helping first semester student adjust to college life. She was also part of the Global Politics Fellowship and interned with NAFSA: Association for International Educators. Anelva has developed personally and professionally, and she thanks Mason for that. She hopes to work towards helping the immigrant and refugee community after graduation. She is beyond thankful for my professors, advisors, family, and friends for supporting her, teaching her, and guiding her. La primera, pero no la última. 

Ghaida Ahmad

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Ghaida is a Sudanese-American woman who grew up in Northern Virginia. She has completed a Global Affairs degree with a double concentration in Global Governance and the Middle East and North Africa. One of her most memorable experiences at Mason was becoming President of the Sudanese Student Association, where she was able to establish life-long connections and lead an outstanding team of individuals. Ghaida also cherishes the semester she spent as a Global Politics Fellow which allowed her to engage with a small cohort of students to dive deeper into worldly issues. 

Her future plans consist of commencing her Master’s degree in International Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies this Fall 2021. In the long term, Ghaida hopes to enter the Public Sector and work with for U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. 

Ghaida is incredibly grateful for the Global Affairs program’s experiences and the knowledge she has acquired throughout her studies. She extends gratitude to her profound professors and internship colleagues who have helped mold her into the intellectual she is today.

Jin Hee Park

Jin Hee Park is very honored to receive this award. With all the pandemic happening, it’s been challenging for everyone. In fact, as a Korean student who took classes in South Korea, it was difficult for her to juggle the time difference. However, it was a great experience, being able to take classes with people from various regions. Although it was challenging, it will definitely be something that she will remember. Overall, Jin Hee would like to thank all the professors who helped her out through the semesters and her family, who has always been there supporting her.

Racheal Mills

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Being a part of the Global Affairs program at George Mason was an incredibly rewarding experience for Racheal. From her studies at Mason, she was able to learn about the varying global dynamics that affect all societies. Being a Northern Virginia native and living so close to Washington D.C., world affairs and international politics has always been a topic she found intriguing. Her proximity to the nation’s capital and her own upbringing as a first-generation American made Racheal seek a degree in Global Affairs. With her concentration being in Media, Communication, and Culture she was able to examine all the crucial aspects of media infrastructures present around the world. This was especially impactful considering the state of the world’s political affairs during her four years at university. Paired with her major, Racheal was also able to pursue a minor in Business. While conducting her studies she worked part-time and was also able to make great friendships within the George Mason community. From quiet study sessions in Planetary Hall to lunch at the Johnson Center, there was never a dull moment. Her coursework allowed her to explore all of her various interests; anthropology, music production, and film study to name a few. These incredible four years would not have been possible with the amazing George Mason faculty, her friends, and her family!    

Rawan Nasir

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The past four years as a Global Affairs student have shaped Rawan Nasir into a more receptive and open person. She is grateful to her professors and peers for creating and contributing to a productive learning environment. Studying Global Affairs with a concentration in the MENA region as well as media, communication, and culture has prepared Rawan for a future career in public policy. She is excited for what’s to come and wish all her graduating peers the best of luck!

Sira Thiam

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Sira Thiam is a graduating senior studying Global Affairs with concentrations in Global Inequalities and Responses and Global Governance and a minor in French. She has had amazing opportunities through the GLOA program, such as studying abroad at Sciences Po Paris and conducting undergraduate honors research through the GLOA 491-2 course. She is also a community organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and is passionate about issues of race, class, and gender inequalities. She is currently a research fellow at the Center for Protest Law and Litigation, and aims to start a Master’s program in Sociology this upcoming fall. She would like to thank all the amazing professors at Mason who have given her the tools to become a more critical, analytical student of the social sciences.

Sarah Blanton

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Sarah Blanton is an Accelerated MA student in Global Affairs and an Honors College student. She spent her first two years in college on scholarship for the George Mason Debate Team. At the beginning of her junior year, she began working for Dr. Cher Chen as a research assistant studying international human rights law. She was a Global Politics Fellow and was admitted to the Global Affairs Honors program her senior year. While writing her senior thesis, she received a research grant from the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research to study graduate student activism. She thanks Dr. Hultin, Dr. Repinecz, and Dr. Chen for their kindness and support which enabled her success. She hopes to have a career advocating for human rights in the United States or abroad.

Hyunjung Cha

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Hyunjung is from Seoul, South Korea. Her major is Global Affairs with Global Economy and Management concentration and minor in Economics.

It is a great honor to receive a meaningful award ahead of graduation. Hyunjung appreciates to George Mason University for making memorable experiences in her life such as, working at the Olympic Broadcasting Services during PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018, and studying as an exchange student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2019. Through these experiences, she has broader global view on her vision.

Hyunjung would like to deliver a heartfelt word of gratitude to Professor Yingji Jin. Professor Jin taught her Chinese language courses for three consecutive years. Thanks to Professor Jin’s diligence, passion, and dedication to her students, Hyunjung really enjoyed learning Chinese from her.

Including academic intellectual heritage from Global Affairs program the greatest legacy that George Mason University gave to Hyunjung is the quote from school’s vision, “Innovation is Our Tradition.” This short sentence changed her mindset toward life. As a proud Patriots, she will never stop learning to keep on growing for her dreams and talents. 

Hyunjung would like to express her gratitude through this moment, “Thank you, my friends, faculty, staff, and George Mason University. My life is swell because of you all. I heap praise on all of graduates’ achievement and wish a brilliant future. Special thanks to the biggest love, my dear family.” 

Andrea Sevilla-Munguia

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Andrea Sevilla was born and raised in Honduras but moved to the US five years ago. She is a BA Double Major in Global Affairs with a concentration in Media, Communication, and Culture as well as Foreign Languages with a concentration in French. After graduation, she plans on taking a gap year in order to work, and then apply to Law School to become an Immigration Attorney so she can help kids just like herself succeed.

Gabriel Santos

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Gabriel Santos has taken a circuitous road to his undergraduate degree but he would not have changed a thing.  His experience at George Mason has been outstanding.  He has had excellent professors throughout his time and would like to thank all of them for their excellent guidance and instruction.  He could not have picked a better time to study Global Governance as the last five years have been full of headlines that directly apply to his major. 

Gabriel plans to continue his studies at George Mason in the Global Affairs department and is currently accepted and enrolled in the master’s program.  He hopes to use his degree as a foreign affairs officer for a government agency or take his educational background with his fluency in Japanese and teach Global Affairs abroad in the University setting in Japan.

Jacqueline Marquis

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Jacqueline Marquis is graduating with a concentration in Global Governance. She focused most of her studies on Southeast Asia, studying Japanese and Chinese over her years at Mason. The best opportunity she had was her exchange program where she studied in Tokyo, Japan at Aoyama University for a year. Here she was able to meet so many amazing people and see the concepts she had been learning in practice. Jacqueline even joined the Aikido club and participated in the school festival! Through this experience she was able to get her internship with the Olympic Broadcasting Services and she will be heading back to Tokyo to work for the 2020/2021 Olympics.

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