Student Awardees

We are incredibly proud of our Spring 2019 BA award-winning graduates and would like to spotlight their successes and accomplishments during their time at Mason. Read some of their stories below.

BA Academic Achievement

Dejza Brower

dbDejza is graduating with a concentration in Global Governance and a double major in Foreign Language with a concentration in Spanish. She is also a student in the accelerated master’s program for International Security. One of her most memorable experiences at Mason was being able to study abroad at the University of Carlos the third of Madrid in Getafe, Spain. During this time, she was able to travel to various cities in Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and visited Rome and London for the first time. This experience of travelling as an international student in Europe, brought her to her current business idea, which is a “welcome and travel agency” for international students studying in the DMV area. Dejza has been awarded a spot in the 2019 Mason Summer Entrepreneurship Accelerator program to research, explore, and build the platform for this business venture. She will be participating in this summer program and completing summer courses for her graduate program. In the fall, she will transition full-time into her graduate studies. After she obtains her master’s degree next May, Dejza plans to pursue a career in either the Foreign Service or the intelligence community. The Global Affairs program has taught her the importance of taking a step outside her own understanding to reach effective and sustainable solutions in her professional and personal life. Dejza would like to send a special thank you to her parents—who have provided unconditionally love and support—her professors, and the entire GLOA faculty for their guidance and support.

Carolyn McPhail


Carolyn grew up in El Salvador. Growing up there largely influenced her decision to pursue a degree in Global Affairs. After completing the Global Health Fellowship last fall, she is now pursuing a master’s degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Health through the Accelerated Master’s Program. If everything goes as planned, Carolyn will be graduating next spring with her MA. She would like to thank her parents for all their encouragement and support. They are the reason she have gotten this far in her education, and are the reason she is proud of where she is today. 

Vihba Bangarbale

vbVibha is from Ashburn, Virginia. Her global affairs concentration is in Global Governance, and in the future, she would like to work in humanitarian aid in some capacity. Her favorite memories at Mason all include singing with her A Capella group, the Patriot Pitches and performing at events all over campus and the DC-area. Next semester, she will continue on to her Master’s degree in International Affairs at George Washington University. Being a Global Affairs major has challenged her previously held beliefs about the way the world functions and strengthened her ability to see the different sides of a global issue or crisis. She would like to thank her parents, siblings, and friends for supporting her throughout her college career.

Lina Eid

leBorn in the United States but raised in Saudi Arabia, Lina Eid has always had one foot planted in the East and one in the West. She is the daughter of a Palestinian father and a Palestinian mother whom she appreciates for all of their love and support throughout her academic career. Lina interned with Congress and is now interning with the progressive foreign policy organization, Win Without War. After that, she plans to pursue her interests in critical race theory and advancing human rights on the world stage. Down the line, she’d like to attend grad school and eventually create a movement to use as a platform for long-term political change in the Middle East.

Sara Huzar

shSara Huzar is a senior from Lansdale, Pennsylvania double majoring in Global Affairs and History. She has held numerous on-campus leadership positions, and interned with Rise to Peace, the Hudson Institute, the Caspian Policy Center, and the State Department. Among other projects, she has completed research on disinformation campaigns in Ukraine and presented work at several undergraduate research conferences. She is a Phi Beta Kappa Junior Inductee, and a University Scholar. Sara is interested in World War II era nationalist movements in the Soviet Union and the influences of the geopolitical landscape in modern Eastern Europe. After graduation, she is pursuing a Fulbright Grant in Bulgaria.

Krya Dunlap

kdKyra Dunlap, is graduating in Global Affairs with a concentration in Europe and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. She thoroughly enjoyed her three years at Mason becoming involved with Mason Ambassadors, Mason Danceworks, and the Intelligence Community Club. As a teenager, Kyra lived in Belgium for two years and this kindled in her a love of travel and an appreciation for other cultures and perspectives. As a college student, Kyra studied abroad five times going to South Africa, Montreal, the Middle East, Malta, and Zanzibar. These study abroad trips were some of Kyra's best memories, as she was able to experience different cultures and explore global issues while traveling. Her love of study abroad inspired Kyra to work as a peer adviser for the Global Education Office to make sure that everyone can study abroad. Kyra plans to enter the public service in the Intelligence Community after graduation after the long background check process. Kyra would like to thank her family for being so supportive and encouraging her to explore the world. 

Rachel Potter

Rachel knew that she wanted to study Global Affairs from the very first day in Dr. Hultin's GLOA 101, which also happened to be her very first class at Mason. Since then, she has added Arabic as a second major and enjoyed the many opportunities for research in international studies offered through Mason coursework. After graduation, she is planning to work with an NGO focused on the Middle East. 

BA Certificate of Merit

Margo Zuchristian

mzMargo is graduating with a concentration in Global Governance, and a double minor in Professional Writing and Japanese Language. Living the nomadic life of a military brat, she has always been traveling to different states and countries. She choose this major to ensure that she can continue to travel.

Her favorite class has been International Security with Dr. Hunzeker. Despite the serious nature of the course, he managed to keep her laughing and engaged with the course. It was easy to see that he truly cared about the subject and his students, and for that reason she was inspired to look into the intelligence field.

One of her best memories at Mason was the Snowmaggedeon during her first year. Her entire building ran outside and engaged in a snowball fight. It was great to start the semester, with a building of college students having some simple fun.

She would like to take this time to thank her parents, who have provided more love and support that she could have ever imagined. She would also like to thank her siblings and friends, who have enriched her life in every possible way.

Nickolas Webb

nwNick Webb is a well-rounded student at Mason. He has shown his leadership skills, dedication to his internships, and engagement with his studies.  He is graduating with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Nick was elected a Freshman Senator and immediately elected vice-chairman of the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee.  The following year, Nick was reelected to the Student Senate and elected to be the Chairman of University Life, where he was one of the leaders who put together GMU’s largest spirit event: Gold Rush.  Nick obtained an internship on Capitol Hill with Congressman Gerry Connolly, where he worked closely with the Foreign Affairs Liaison.  He specifically worked on research pertaining to the Middle East, which worked well with his minor studies. It was also a plus that he traveled to Lebanon just the summer before, where he learned a lot about the politics, economics, and culture of Lebanon and the greater Middle East.  While interning on the Hill, Nick was in the Global Politics Fellows Program. Nick’s final year, he studied abroad at Sciences Po in France.  While there, he gained a certificate in International Relations and Security.  During his final year at Mason, Nick has been working as a sales associate at the Frye Company, where he has gained customer service experience. He has an internship at Rise to Peace.  There, he writes weekly articles about terrorist related activities in the Middle East and North Africa.  Nick has had an unimaginable experience here at GMU. He is very appreciative to his family, friends, and professors that have supported him these past years.  He would like to give special thanks to Dr. Breglia and the Global Affairs program for making his experience here world class.  He looks forward to the future and hopes to make our globalized world more prosperous and peaceful. 

Grace Zipperer

gzGrace knew she wanted to focus her energy on understanding interconnectivity between global systems and communities, with a particular focus on migration issues. Majoring in Global Affairs helped Grace to find her passion: refugee advocacy. She was able to study abroad in Budapest, Hungary to learn specifically about European asylum laws. This experience influenced her decision to take a semester off to volunteer in refugee camps in Greece and Croatia. Grace has also had many professors who encouraged her to continue research on refugee issues inside the classroom. One of her favorite includes her research from Professor Keener’s Cultural Studies class, where she looked into the post-colonial relationship between Italy and Libya and its influence on their joint migration policies. Grace sees her degree as just the beginning of her academic career and it has been an encouraging beginning. Thank you Dr. Woolsey and Dr. Ashley for assuring her that she is on the right track. 


Holden Spence

hsHolden Spence is graduating with a concentration in Global Inequalities and Responses. He transferred to Mason in the fall of 2016. Since becoming a Mason Patriot, Holden has served in various formal and informal roles on campus - notably as the Undersecretary for Identity Affairs, the Executive Secretary for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs for Mason’s student government, and a multicultural education coordinator in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education and LBTQ Resources. Holden has also served as a Teaching Assistant to Dr. Sonja Taylor and His Excellency, Ambassador Ahmad Kamal for GLOA 450 (Global Issues with UN Ambassadors). Holden would like to thank his academic mentors Professor Noura Erakat of Integrative Studies, Teejay Brown and specifically GLOA’s very own Dr. Jennifer Ashley. He cannot thank them all enough for the love, support and motivation you have all shown him. 

Roberto Malta

rmRoberto Malta was born in Brazil, from a small village of 13 million people named Sao Paulo. Since December of 2014 he has lived in Virginia and attended George Mason University since the Summer of 2015. He has obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs, with a concentration in Global Governance and a minor in History. Roberto's biggest honor from his time at Mason was being president of GMU's Philosophy Club during his senior year. His favorite class was "The Second World War" under the History Department. His career goals are to work in a think tank to influence policy and have an impact via one of his passions, writing. Roberto would like to thank professors, friends, and people he has met in the way that made this four-year long journey the most entertaining period of his life and something to inspire him as he moves into the feared real world. 

Mariham Philobos 

mpMariham was born in Egypt, though against common beliefs, as a child, she did NOT ride a camel to school or lived in a pyramid. However, this time of her life did spark an interest in Middle Eastern Studies especially how it interacts with the rest of the world. Because of her background and passion, she chose the Middle East and North Africa concentration and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. The most important lesson that she learned throughout her Global Affairs studies was that “Globalization is NOT global!” – Mariham will be taking this valuable lesson into the workplace soon. She will one day work in Counterterrorism in hopes of protecting our country from “the bad guys”. Throughout her time at George Mason, she went to Lusaka, Zambia where she spent the best weeks of her life serving, and then she continued that service throughout her community here. She learned so much throughout her 3 years at Mason, and she is excited to see what is ahead in the “real world”. She could not have done all this without the infinite love of her family, the support of her friends, and the grace of God. Cheers too many more amazing memories!  

Deborah Nicholas

dnDeborah joined the Mason family back in 2014 after serving five years on active duty as a Logistics Specialist in the United States Navy. Her experience in the military is what motivated her to pursue a degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Economics and Management. Studying Global Affairs has had a lasting impact on her because it has allowed her the opportunity to explore and discover who she is, what she believes in, and where she fits in this world. Deborah loved being a part of this department and she will be forever grateful for all that she has learned. She wanted to thank her husband, Nathan, for all of the support that he gave to her throughout the years. He never failed in providing her with encouragement and strength to finish her goal in pursing her degree in Global Affairs. This accomplishment is just as much yours as it is hers and she is honored that she gets to share this moment with you.

Jeremy Legg

jlJeremy Legg graduated from St. Mary’s Ryken Highschool in 2010, after which he enlisted in the United States Army serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. After finishing his initial contract in 2014, he enrolled at Mason while serving in the Maryland National Guard. His experiences abroad would instill both a sense of service, and an interest into the U.S. Foreign Policy. After his initial dive into the academic world, he would soon find his interests focused within the intersection of Russia and International Security. Global Affairs would fulfill this passion through its emphasis on interdisciplinary study allowing for a variety of courses ranging from economics, conflict analysis, history, and governance all through writing an endless amount of papers. After graduating, Jeremy plans on working for a U.S. Intelligence Agencies, or a Think Tank with the eventual goal of affecting U.S. Foreign Policy. This journey was only made possible by the limitless support he received from his parents Mary Jo and David Legg, his girlfriend Brielle Weber and her patience as he droned on about International Politics, and his Grandmother Joan Sell bestowing him with all of her smart genes.

Destany Martin

dmDestany Martin is graduating with a global inequalities and responses concentration. She hopes to continue her education someday, but she would like to spend a few years working post-graduation. Destany has had the pleasure of working at the Global Affairs office for over two years of her time at Mason. Though she would like to thank her mother, father, sister, best friends, and Angela (because she really does deserve a separate category) for all their support and love during the years, she would like to say that her Global Affairs family will have a lifelong impact on who she is and what she does. She would like to thank everyone at the office for their support, guidance and ability to make her smile each and every day. She is forever grateful for the opportunity (and specifically free food) and she cannot wait to use all the skills she has been given by the faculty and staff in the real world.

And Destany doesn’t know that we added this part to her bio, but we want to say an extra special thanks to her, for keeping us all in one piece, that we’ll miss her in more ways than she’ll know, and that what she left out is that she deserves a HUGE congratulations for some post-graduation plans you can ask her about after the ceremony. 

Simone Van Heijst

svSimone comes from the Netherlands and she was originally going to study International Studies the University of Leiden in The Hague. However, those plans changed when her family got the opportunity to move to the Washington D.C. area. At first, she was actually hesitant to take this opportunity as well, because it took her longer than usual to figure out what kind of career she wanted to pursue. However, when she thought about it, not taking the opportunity to study Global Affairs close to one of the most international cities in the world would have been foolish. Simone chose Mason’s Global Affairs program because it looked promising, and the campus atmosphere felt nice. Her favorite memory from the past four years is definitely when she participated in the Global Politics Fellowship. She met some of her best friends there, and the courses, and especially professor Ghosh, have been fundamental in shaping her plans for the future. Simone now plans to pursue her master’s degree in International Law and Global Governance at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands.

Abigail Loughlin

alAbigail Loughlin will be graduating with a degree in Global Affairs, a concentration in the Environment, and a minor in Middle East Studies. After Mason, she will hold a position with Teach for America in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she also hopes to pursue a law degree at Tulane. Her time at Mason has allowed her to study the environment among experts in sustainability at the Smithsonian, work in sustainable agriculture in Bali, Indonesia, study Arabic in Jordan, and conduct research regarding water accessibility in the Middle East. She is very grateful for her time at Mason and the opportunities the Global Affairs department has provided. She would like to thank two professors in particular: Dr. Heba El-Shazli and Dr. Lisa Breglia, who have gone above and beyond while supporting her research and academic interests! She would also like to thank her friends, family, and the WYSE program which provided her the opportunity to attend Mason.

Maggie Zargarpur

mzMaggie is half-Afghan and half-American, and growing up with a multicultural background gave her the inherent skills of mediation and bridge building. It also made her passionate about learning about the world with the hope of making it better. She is graduating with a concentration in Global Governance. Maggie will continue her education in the Accelerated Master's program in Global Affairs concentrating in Conflict & Security.

Two memorable experiences Maggie had at Mason were studying abroad in Switzerland (Summer 2018) and in Cuba (Winter 2019) with Dr. Lisa Breglia. She enjoyed so many of her classes, each of them holds a special place in her heart and there are no favorites!

Maggie is currently job searching! Her long-term goal and greatest ambition would be to build bridges on an international level to help establish long-term peace. After graduation, Maggie plans to enter the work force in international relations, focusing on development and to continue her studies. Studying Global Affairs has been one of the best experiences of her life. It has empowered Maggie and reaffirmed the passion that brought her to study. She would like to thank her parents for being her role models and for all of their support. Maggie would also like to thank her boyfriend, Marbin, for being her biggest fan and helping her believe in herself. 

Stearns Award for Global Citizenship

Laura Hillard


The Global Affairs program created this award in 2013 in honor of Mason’s former Provost, Dr. Peter Stearns. Dr. Stearns is a scholar and an eminent champion of global studies and our program is the has grown out of his vision (and grown perhaps beyond his wildest dreams!) for the intellectual and experiential pursuit of  understanding the complex and often confounding processes and dynamics of globalization. 

We established this award as a legacy to Dr. Stearns and his commitment to our program and the success of our students. In her studies and in her life pursuits, Laura demonstrates the character, curiosity, and commitment of global citizenship embodied in this award.

Laura is from Maryland and graduating with a concentration in International development and a double major in Economics. She is passionate about making economic opportunities more accessible to developing nations, which led her to pursue a funded undergraduate research project focusing on cash transfers in Malawi. She was one of only three undergraduates selected to present her research at the Virginia Association of Economists annual conference. Outside of the classroom, Laura learned a lot from her semester abroad in Spain as well as her jobs and internships at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Council on Foreign Relations, Catholic Relief Services, Appalachia Service Project, and on Capitol Hill. On campus, she served on the executive board of several service-oriented student organizations. After graduation, Laura is excited to teach English in Vietnam through a Fulbright grant. She wants to thank the Global Affairs Program, especially her advisor Erika Marquina, the director Lisa Breglia, and her professors, for teaching her so much over the past four years. She also wants to thank her parents, family, and friends for their continued support.