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.


Fall 2020

BA Academic Acheivement:

Kanghyun Kwon


Kanghyun Kwon was born in South Korea. He graduated high school in China before becoming a member of Mason Patriots in Songdo, Republic of Korea. He studied Global Affairs B.A. with a concentration on Global Governance, and Conflict Analysis and Resolution as his minor. He studied the territorial disputes in the Kuril Islands and Dokdo in East Asia, air pollution in East Asia affected by COVID-19, and nuclear proliferation in North Korea.

Now that he awaits for graduation, in addition to the great academic achievement he made, he can remember so many experiences he had throughout the four years at Mason. In there he had several internships and met wonderful staff, students, and faculties as well as distinguished guests such as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. He haa accepted a letter of offer from the law school in Australia and ideally will move to Australia before April to start the new semester at the law school in May. Currently, he has been gathering his documents and academic portfolio to start his new academic career in a new environment.

He feel unfortunate that his experience at Fairfax was only a few months long since he left the country a few weeks after the first COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Before leaving the U.S., however, he had great classes and various intercultural experiences that made him feel like being a true member of global affairs department. The last career fair he had in Fairfax, which was also the last offline career fair he had, showed him how much opportunities and excitement he would have had at Fairfax if he had stayed without the pandemic.

He would like to thank his parents for supporting him, and every professor and staff member of the University he met in Songdo and Fairfax who have been showing great perseverance and commitment to their field of expertise even at the time of unprecedented crisis.

Christopher Green


Christopher graduated with a BA in Global Affairs with a concentration in Media, Culture, & Communication. He recently left his newspaper job. He has had so many freelance clients he thought, "hey, I'll just do this full time." He immediately lost all his clients. He now spend most days feeding pie to ducks in a park. After he get tired of this, he has big plans to go motorcycle camping until he runs out of money.

Jihyo Cha


Jihyo Cha is a senior majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in Media, Culture, and Communication, and minoring in Communication at George Mason University.

She has steadily developed her competencies in PR & Media and Communication. Previously, she worked as an intern in Admissions and Enrollment office and Communication & PR office at George Mason University Korea. She managed various social media platforms, wrote articles, and organized events.
She also broadens her broadcasting and communication skills as a project member of YouTube channel and as a Director of Broadcasting Studio in George Mason University Korea. With numerous experiences as an MC, announcer, and reporter, she has a good public speaking and writing skills as well.
Jihyo Cha is a Consultant at Allison+Partners Korea. Currently, she is supporting the PR tasks of Sony Korea.

Haseung Joung


Haseung “Madeline” Joung is from South Korea, but she also lived in Atlanta, Georgia for over 10 years. She spent three years at the Songdo campus and one year at the Fairfax campus. As a Korean student with an international background, she knew that George Mason University was a perfect fit for her because it promised an interactive and multi-cultural learning environment in both South Korea and the United States.

She majored in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and minoring in Journalism. What attracted her to Global Affairs was that it was an interdisciplinary program that offered a wide range of diverse courses, but also provided specific concentrations so that she could focus on what she is passionate about. She decided to minor in journalism during her exchange year at the Fairfax campus in 2019 due to her keen interest in news and media. She hopes to work in the international news media field in the future.  

Being a GMU student has presented her with some amazing opportunities. Particularly when she studied at GMU Korea, she got to have some memorable experiences such as working at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, being a UN College Leader for WFUNA, interning at Asian Boss, being a research fellow at the Center for Security Policy Studies – Korea, and being a Liaison Officer for the Secretary-General of OECD during the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge, and Policy. She was able to learn about these opportunities with the help of the faculty and staff at GMU Korea so she is so grateful to them. Besides this, some of her favorite memories are being part of The Voice and The Fourth Estate, being part of the GMUK Student Council, and being a Resident Advisor at Mason Korea.

She would like to thank her family for their unconditional love and support, her friends for standing by her every step of the way, and the fantastic professors at GMU Fairfax and GMU Korea for their guidance and support.

Melinda Kong


Melinda Kong is graduating in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance. She was born and raised in Virginia and transferred from James Madison University last year. She is the first of her family to receive a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year institution. Her parents originated from Cambodia to the United States as refugees during the Khmer Rouge and they are partially the reason why she is studying Global Affairs. Melinda's academic interests include human rights, international development and security, social justice, and non-profit organizations. She pursued the Global Affairs program because she was really interested on how the world interacts with one another and loved how the program is interdisciplinary. Melinda's favorite classes would be International Security and Environment Policy Making for Developing Countries because it really challenged her and was very informative. Melinda is very grateful for my GMU experience and everyone that supported her!

Elizabeth Munn

Elizabeth Munn is an international development concentration with a minor in conservation studies from Mobile, Alabama. She was involved with various activities on campus and interned with the Council on Foreign Relations. Elizabeth fostered her love of travel by studying abroad first in France and then South Africa, where she worked with children from a historically exploited community and learned about structural inequalities in a post-colonial state. Her most memorable academic experience at Mason was the immersive semester she spent in Front Royal with the Smithsonian Institute for Conservation Biology. She is also a University Scholar and won the Schartzstein research award. Elizabeth plans to attend law school and become a lawyer focusing on human rights and environmental justice. She is very grateful for the opportunities George Mason and the Global Affairs department has provided. She’d also like to thank her family for being so supportive of her studies and desire to explore the world.

BA Certificate of Merit:

Eunhye Hong

Kamea Ridgley-Davis


My name is Kamea Ridgley-Davis and I'll be graduating with my Bachelor's degree in Global Affairs and a Korean Studies minor. I haven't fully decided on what I want to do for my long-term career, but I am leaning towards government work. In 2021 my plan is to try and head over to Korea and do a language program so that I can improve my language skills.  Some of my favorite classes I took include Transformation of language and culture in North and South Korea, Modern Korean literature in translation, and Environmental policy making in developing countries. Global Affairs is something that has always interested me and throughout my different classes I really learned just how important it is to learn about different countries and their cultures. It didn't feel like it while I was taking my classes, but I'd have to say overall my time at Mason flew by

Adriana Dominguez


Adriana Dominguez time at Mason has really shaped her into the person she is today. She would like to thank Dr. Suleyman Ozeren for being the best professor that Mason could offer. His passion, devotion, and encouragement has really helped her along the way. She would also like to thank her parents for their unconditional love and support. This fall she will be graduating with a bachelor's in Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Security. Her next chapter will start in graduate school where she plans to get an MA in International Security, to then start her career off as a counter-terrorism analyst. 

Yihyun Kwon


As a Global Affairs major, Yihyun (Andrea) Kwon has studied on both the Mason Korea and Fairfax campus. Her fondest memories on both campuses include pulling all-nighters at the library, deliberating between energy drinks or coffee, and discovering secret nooks and crannies on school grounds. Her time being a Global Affairs major has allowed her to expand her interests in international human development and migration in East Asia. Using her newfound degree, Andrea would like to continue to pursue these interests in both professional and academic settings. She would like to thank her family, friends, and colleagues for all their emotional support during her journey at Mason. 

Arielle  Rosenberg


Arielle Rosenberg is graduating Magna Cum Laude from the Honors College at GMU with a major in Global Affairs and a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Arielle first learned her passion for global affairs in high school, when she studied at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy in Virginia Beach, and has been committed to changing the world ever since. Passionate about all things language, culture, and travel, Arielle speaks Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish and has visited Israel, Northern Ireland, Italy and Canada. In her career and future, Arielle hopes to contribute to the Middle Eastern peacemaking process and continue to build bridges and relationships with others through language and cultural appreciation. Through her Global Affairs and overall George Mason studies, Arielle has been able to participate in a wide range of activities and gain invaluable skills and perspectives, including spearheading an undergraduate research project aimed at raising awareness of the Uyghur Genocide in China. Arielle would like to thank her parents, family, and fiancé for all of their support along her journey, as well as her amazing professors she has had the privilege of working with and getting to know throughout her time at George Mason. She is truly grateful for all of the experiences and knowledge the Global Affairs department and GMU have given her throughout her time at Mason, and will deeply miss all of the wonderful people she has met along the way. 

Spring 2020 and Summer 2020

Peter N. Stearns Global Citizenship Award 

Sophia Lutz

Sophie Lutz

Photo: Maasai women teaching Sophie the process of building a traditional boma hut

Sophie receives her B.A. in Global Affairs (summa cum laude) with a concentration in Human Security and a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.  Sophie is currently finishing her internship with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Africa Bureau.  Her assignment to the Prosper Africa Executive Secretariat shaped her interest in aligning policies and development efforts to improve economic security in the global south.  Sophie participated in two study abroad seminars.  Last spring, she was among the few undergraduate students who went to Jordan and gained a life-changing experience through the Fieldwork with the Syrian Refugees program.  She also spent her summer in the Philippines to carefully examine the complexities surrounding human trafficking. “The five nights I spent at Casa Esperanza, a temporary shelter for sexually abused children, compelled me to work harder and use my privilege and opportunities to make a difference.” Sophie also volunteered at Ayuda, a non-profit organization providing legal and social services to low-income immigrants in the DMV. 

Before she joined GMU, Sophie lived in Dubai and worked as a flight attendant for Emirates Airlines.  She has been to 56 countries so far.  Sophie speaks Filipino and English as a second language.  She will continue her academic career with George Mason as a graduate student of the International Security program.  She hopes to dedicate her future career to public service and increase her involvement with the international community.  Sophie would like to thank all her professors and academic advisor, Erika Marquina, for supporting her through her college career.

Outstanding Academic Achievement 

Haeun Choi

Haeun Choi

Haeun lives in South Korea. This was her first entering the American school and studying the academic curriculum all in English at George Mason University. Studying at Mason Korea, she has developed her English ability and tried to do my best in studying global relations and issues. Especially, during the junior and senior years, by experiencing life in Fairfax, she grew up a lot in terms of academic maturity and widen her horizons to the world by meeting diverse thoughts of people and new cultures.

Ever since she was a child, she loved studying English and learning about social justice, so she dreamed of working as a diplomat, lawyer, or working for an international organization. This naturally led her to get into the Global Affairs studies that cover all of them. The primary focus of her whole academic years was to explore global issues and international relations by analyzing diverse perspectives. Adding on that, studying Global Economics and Management made her study more about the major flow of global relations. Then, in the first semester of junior in Mason Korea, Haeun participated in the student fellowship of the Center for Security Policy Center(CSPS) and she could study in international security. It led her to have deepened interests in security studies, to do minor studies in international security sectors and decided her future studies in international human security in graduate school. Now, she has not regretted to decide my major in Global Affairs.

During the time in Fairfax, Haeun’s whole life was composed of new experiences. At first, the entrance ceremony was highly impressive and interesting, and adding on that, the mason Gold rush game was also exciting. She volunteered in the garden and greenhouse through the sustainability class. She also participated in a professional conference and symposium held by CSPS in Arlington and learned a lot about the think tank’s idea on international security. She helped to coordinate the language exchange program for Korean students who want to practice their English and with students who want to practice Korean, it was a fantastic experience to make friends.

Hauen experienced diverse methods of writing and media platform by working as a staff writer of ‘The Voice’ which is an official newspaper media of Mason Korea. When she was a sophomore, there was a music festival among Incheon Global Campuses in Korea where she got the 2nd prize. It was an awesome experience standing on the stage singing.

Haeun wants to study more in graduate school with a major in international security studies until getting a doctoral degree. Then she hopes to work in international organizations under the United Nations related to human security sectors and be a person who teaches good lessons by delivering a good influence on the future generation.

Haeun would like to thank God and her parents who have taken care of her until now, all thankful professors who taught, helped and led her, Mason Fairfax and Mason Korea faculties especially in Career Development Center, student and academic affairs, and all of the people who helped her to adapt to new circumstances and challenge a lot in Fairfax. Lastly she thanks the department of Global Affairs and George Mason University.

Jessler Elvira Grijalva

J. Elvira

As the eldest son of two immigrant parents from Latin America, one of whom is a small business owner who has recently obtained US citizenship, Jessler is aware of the implications of US national and international policies. He is determined to dedicate his career to upholding and advancing the principles of democracy that embody this country.

Jessler specialized in Global Affairs in order to receive a comprehensive education on national and foreign issues and dynamics that not only affect him, but everyone domestic and abroad. He selected Global Governance as his focus, as he felt it would provide him with a good knowledge base on transnational actors, whether it be the states of other actors and how cooperation can facilitate the resolution of international problems and challenges. His favorite class is a tie between International Security and International Economic Policy. Both instructors were fantastic and not only made the class enjoyable, but they were also very informative and interesting, which academically stimulated him every day. Professor Hunzeker and Professor Humphries definitely made his time in each respective course enjoyable and challenging from start to finish.

Post-graduation Jessler plans to use both his history and experience and what he’s learned at Mason to assume a position working in the public or private sector promoting the values ​​of the United States and contributing to alleviate and resolve international conflicts. In general, the study of Global Affairs has significantly expanded his scope when it comes to assuming a global perspective not only regarding my immediate surroundings, but relating conditions, situations, and phenomenon to a global viewpoint.

Taylor Huson

Taylor Huson

Taylor is a graduating senior majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and a first year Accelerated Master's candidate in International Security at the Schar School of Policy and Government.

She has held multiple internships at the US Department of State with the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (Regional Affairs) and the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Burma Desk). Recently she interned at the US Embassy in Myanmar, and will spend this upcoming summer with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the US Consulate in Mumbai. Previously, she interned with the Atlantic Council in the South Asia Center and spent over a year studying Hindi with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth in New Delhi. She has been the recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship to study Hindi in India and is fluent in Spanish and has working proficiency in French and Hindi. 

She is interested in the intersection of international security and human rights,  something she attributes to her academic experience at George Mason. While at Mason, she has had many unique learning opportunities, including a winter study abroad in Switzerland, where studied the role of international organizations in Europe and had the opportunity to attend meetings at the United Nations. 

In the future, she hopes to have a career in public service, working in intelligence or in federal law enforcement. She wishes to thank all of her professors at Mason, specifically Madame Carol Saltzman, Dr. Yasemin Ipek, and Dr. Mark Katz. She would also like to thank her academic advisor, Erika Marquina, for all of her advice throughout the years. 

Sohel Islam

Sohel Islam

Sohel is double majoring in Global Affairs, with a concentration in the Middle East & North Africa, and Anthropology. His academic interests vary widely and include many diverse subjects, but he is most interested in pursuing a career in ancient Near Eastern archaeology, with a likely research focus in pre-Islamic Arabia. In the long term, Sohel would also like to pursue, potentially after a career in archaeology, a role within the fields of international relations and foreign policy in regards to the Middle East, following upon his decision to concentrate on the Middle East. His current plans however are to wholeheartedly pursue a career in archaeology; He plans on taking a gap year after he graduates where he will obtain more professional experience in archaeology, and then in the fall of 2021 will hopefully enroll in a Master’s program in England for ancient Near Eastern archaeology. 

Sohel came to Mason as an Anthropology major and was intending to take on Global Affairs as a minor, but he decided that he wanted to double major in it. It ended up being a great decision by really broadening his academic experience, and while really providing him with a whole other career path that he is passionate about! He especially appreciates and would like to thank Dr. Yasemin Ipek for the classes he took of hers while at Mason! Her courses on “People and Cultures of the Middle East” and “Refugees in the Contemporary World” really challenged him in a way that almost none of his other classes did and he is grateful for that. 

His experience in the Global Affairs program has made an immeasurable impact on his future goals and plans! Thank you to the whole Global Affairs department and their fantastic program for this award!

Hea Su Lee

H. Lee

Hea Su Lee is graduating with a concentration of Global Governance and minor in Journalism.

She is originally from South Korea. She spent two and a half years in the George Mason University Korea campus (GMUK) and then spent one year on the Fairfax campus. She really enjoyed her whole experiences on both campuses. Since GMUK had the same educational curriculum with the main campus with amazing faculties and supports from school, she could fully enjoy various opportunities and learned that she can get as much as she works hard trying her best. With more variety, Fairfax campus also helped her to experience a wider world and compete with diverse students.

She could say GMU was her biggest source to grow herself with great opportunities such as working in student newspapers, student leaders, global ambassador, research fellow at Center for Security Policy Studies, school intern, RA, and more.

She is planning to attend graduate school of international relations and media field. She’d like to thank her professors, the GLOA and Journalism faculties for their guidance and support, with special thanks to her parents.

Pramila Murray

P Murray 2P Murray

Pramila was born in Nepal and was adopted by an American family at the age of 7. She recently went back to Nepal after 15 years and reconnected with her biological family. Her American family and her Nepali family are proud of her for completing her degree. She has worked really hard these past 15 years in school and overcome many barriers. She is happy to be graduating this year and beginning a new path.

Throughout Pamila’s undergraduate has studied global affairs as her major and anthropology as her minor. The combination of these two fields of study has expanded her perspectives on a variety of issues and has helped guide her toward an interest in working in the non-profit sector, specifically in the domains of international development and women’s issues. Her long-term goals are focused around a career in international development and She feels that her participation in the numerous study abroad programs through Mason will be useful in preparing her to work in a country that is not her own. 

After graduation, Pramila wants to complete a Master’s program in Crisis Management at Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Such an academic program would be a great way to continue to further develop the academic knowledge that she has gained during her undergraduate career. It would add to the skills that she has gained from her various professional experiences in the  non-profit sector in order to equip her with a greater set of practical tools to use as she pursues her long-term professional goals within the field of international development.

Her favorite memories of Mason would be participating in activities that involved dancing. She joined the salsa club freshman year and had a blast dancing with the group. She was part of the Nepalese dance team and participated in the IWeek dance competition. The most exciting part about the IWeek dance competition would be dancing on the Center for the Arts stage, showcasing the Nepalese culture, hanging out with her teammates and reconnecting with her roots.   

She wants to thank her grandmother, her parents, her aunt, and her friends for their support in helping her complete her degree.

Jongho Park

J Park

Jongho was born in South Korea. He is graduating with a concentration in Media, Communication, and Culture. Prior to studying at George Mason University, he served his home country, South Korea, in Korean Army for 2 years. After he finished 2-year mandatory military service, he used to work in beauty industry for 3 years. He also has experience as a museum tour guide at his former university in the Philippines before transferring to George Mason University. Global Affairs program provided him an opportunity to think about issues that stem from globalization; things that have been easily overlooked and that we have taken for granted.

Global Affairs program helped him to free himself from a narrow viewpoint and to become an open-minded person. He also has some memorable experiences in both Mason Korea and Mason Fairfax. When he was in Mason Korea, he sang Korean national anthem with his classmates during Mason Night at baseball stadium while a crowd of thousands was watching. In Fairfax, one of the classes he took provided him and his classmates an opportunity to have a lecture on a certain topic regarding globalization in front of INTO Mason students.

He would like to thank his family and friends for their huge support and encouragement. He would also like to thank all the professors in Mason Fairfax and Mason Korea who taught him.

Melanie Rahe

Mel Rahe (pronounced like "Ray") chose Global Affairs as their major in 2016 because they love traveling and learning new languages. Mel will be graduating with a major in Global Affairs and two minors in German Studies and Philosophy. Their favorite classes that they took for the Global Affairs major were International Economic Policy and Globalization and Culture. Mel plans on starting the Philosophy with a concentration in Cultural Theory Master's program in the Spring of 2021 and hopes to eventually get a doctorate in Cultural Studies. Mel is grateful for all the professors they have had over the past four years and looks forward to graduate school.

Fatima Sheikh

Fatima is honored to be given the Global Affairs Student Achievement Award. Majoring in Global Affairs has been such a rewarding experience. The best part about the program is that it is interdisciplinary, so she was able to learn about various topics from different disciplines. She concentrated in International Development which allowed her to take courses in economics, anthropology, and global health. She is also pursuing honors in the major which requires a comprehensive research project done over the course of a year. Fatima’s research topic is about the rise of Hindu Nationalism in India and how it has affected the Kashmir Conflict. The Global Affairs program has afforded her great opportunities that she knows will guide her in her professional career. She is grateful to all professors, friends, and family.

Sonja Thyssen

Sonja T

Thank you to all the professors and staff who made it possible for Sonja to achieve so much during her short time at Mason. She came to Mason with uncertainty of what to study, but with a strong passion to travel and a desire to study languages. She was uncertain of the path to take as well as what her goals were exactly. With that in mind, she is forever great full for those who helped guide her in the right direction. First, she discovered the Global Affairs Department and after falling in love, she found out that she could focus on Human Security. Discovering the concentration finally put a name to what she wanted to do. She has not only been able to discover her career aspirations at Mason, since she began her studies, she has found a passion for backpacking and have explored incredible places including Guatemala, Tanzania, Germany and Ecuador. Now she is happy to say that she is graduating early and intends to begin her Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies in Magdeburg, Germany while focusing on human rights violations. Once again, thank you for all of you who helped her get here.

James Triplett

James is from Fredericksburg, VA. He spent the past four years at Mason working on his degree in Global Affairs with a Global Governance concentration and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. He plans on commissioning into the Army Reserve in May as a Signal Corps Officer and to work as a Security Specialist for the government. He is really interested in International Security and Counterterrorism, so many of his classes within his program have been centered around those subjects. His favorite class was GOVT 346 (American Security Policy) with Professor Roberts. It was very informative, and he really appreciated the class structure because it was more seminar based as opposed to lecture. He highly recommends it for anyone who wants a better understanding of our country's current security apparatuses. The past four years at Mason have been incredible and he is truly grateful for everything that he has learned within the Global Affairs Program. He thinks what makes this program unique to others is that this degree plan is incredibly diverse allowing you to make it your own. Through his classes and his professors, he has learned the multitude of perspectives and the importance of global understanding. James wants to thank everyone in the Global Affairs Program, his Cadre in the GMU ROTC program ("Patriots Lead the Way!"), and his loving family for always supporting him in everything he does. Thank you. 

Alexandr Zabelin

Alexandr is a transfer student from NVCC where he finished his Associate of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Political Science. While he was torn between various International Relations programs that Mason was offering, he was really interested in learning about various other fields. He ended up choosing Global Affairs with concentration in Global Governance. He had an opportunity to study various fields and create various projects. He has written about the use of Artificial Intelligence in Warfare for his capstone, created environmental blueprint based on Belizean environmental policy for Environmental Policy in Developing Nations class, and wrote a response to the idea of a more fair taxation system for Economics of Developing Nations class. He also participated in the Fall 2019 Global Politics Fellowship, where he achieved Outstanding Fellow Award. Outside of the class he also participated in the Alexander Hamilton Society, a national organization that focuses on the debates surrounding foreign policy and national security of the United States. As a Vice President of the club, he is delighted at the debates that Mason students bring to our club and humbled by providing a platform for such a fantastic student body. Beyond school, Alex is planning to continue working in the fields of national security and foreign relations in think tanks and government organizations. His specific fields of interest include Great Power competition and 21st century conflict strategy and analysis. He would also like to thank Dr. Colin Dueck and Dr. Susan Keltner for their tireless work on making him the best writer he can be.

Sydney Kochan


Certificate of Merit

Lucia Bautista

L Bautista

Lucia is graduating with a concentration in Global Inequalities & Responses and minor in Conflict Analysis & Resolution. During her time at Mason, she focused her studies on understanding worker rights and the responsibility that governments and businesses share to protect them. When she arrived at Fairfax from Pittsburgh, she was initially nervous about studying so far away from home, but GLOA 101 and the classes that followed assured her she made the right choice. Through her courses, she met Dr. Ashley, Dr. Hultin, and Dr. Ipek, who encouraged and guided her curiosity and growth as a student. She also had the opportunity to study abroad at Oxford University and join SCAR’s Peacebuilding Fellowship. After Mason, she will temporarily move to Brazil with the support of Fulbright to study the beneficial practices of sustainable cotton production and its local impact.

Nicholas Campbell

N. Campbell

Nicholas will be graduating with a degree in Global Affairs and a Concentration in Global Governance. As a native of New Jersey, Nicholas discovered his passion early on after he decided to enroll in a Russian language course during his freshman year of high school. Following high school, Nicholas wanted to continue his Russian studies - therefore, he paired his degree in Global Affairs with a minor in Russian. It was a very satisfying moment for Nicholas when he was able to judge at the annual Olympiad of Spoken Russian, a Russian language competition, since he competed three different times when he was in high school.

As a Global Affairs Major, Nicholas was able to immerse himself with a wide array of coursework throughout his time at GMU. Some of his favorite courses include the Government and Politics of Russia, the War on Terror, International Relations Theory, and American Foreign Policy. Nicholas truly felt his studies come full circle during the winter term where he decided to take part in a study abroad program in Fribourg, Switzerland. He coupled the information he learned while at Mason with the different perspectives that he was exposed to during his time at the University of Fribourg, the United Nations in Geneva, as well as various institutions of the European Union. This was truly an unparalleled experience for him, and he believes that this was the perfect way to conclude his time at GMU.

Nicholas would like to thank Dr. Levine and Professor Guglielmi for expanding his knowledge of the Russian language. The Russian department is a close-knit group, and he benefited greatly from that. Nicholas would also like to thank Dr. Katz and Dr. Shiraev. He believes they played an instrumental role in his development during his time at GMU. Even though Nicholas will be moving on from GMU in May, he will never forget all of the incredible experiences that GMU, as well as the Global Affairs program, had to offer.

You Jin Cho

Y. Choi

Youjin was born and raised in South Korea and is attending George Mason University Korea. She is graduating with concentrate in Global Economy and Management and minor marketing. She is interested in various fields especially urban planning and environmental issues. Not only taking the business-related field but also took classes on EVPP (Environmental Science and Policy) and did OSCAR URSP research to find the way to create intergovernmental involvement based on migratory birds and wetland conservation various counties in EAAF (East Asia-Australian Flyway).  Her first year in Mason Fairfax was her best experience ever in her life as a student of George Mason. Exchange of different culture and knowledge among students from various backgrounds widen her perspective as a Global Affairs student. One of her favorite classes is GLOA 400 Capstone class with Dr. Bockman about Global Cities and Global Crisis was my best class

Youjin’s future plan is she would like to take some time to think about her future along with all the various experiences that she had in Mason.

She would like to say thanks to Dr. Ahn who allowed me to research the OSCAR URSP program, Dr. Bockman, and all the professors she has ever met in class.

Matthew Delgado

M. Delgado

Matthew is a Global Affairs Accelerated Master’s Student with an interest in international development and global security. The most memorable experience he has had at Mason was studying abroad in Havana, Cuba, where he met his girlfriend Nancy Duan. The impact that GLOA has had on him has made him more knowledgeable about different cultures and has inspired him to work with shaping the international processes between different countries. Matthew would like to thank Professor Niklas Hultin for being there for him as a mentor in scholarly research and Krystalyn Morton for inspiring me to continue my academic journey to grad school.

Maggie Eason

M. EasonM. Eason 2

Maggie is a graduating senior double majoring in Global Affairs and Russian and Eurasian Studies. She is also in the Accelerated Master’s program for Global Affairs, which means that she'll be graduating again next May with her Master’s in Global Affairs. George Mason isn't getting rid of her just yet! 

She came all the way from sunny Tampa, Florida to experience everything that she could in her four years at Mason, and she think that she did a pretty good job with that. During her time here, she studied abroad twice (at Moscow State University and a semester abroad at Oxford University), worked on-campus at the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) for almost three years, and completed two internships at non-profits in the DC/Virginia area with international focuses (Just Neighbors and the Institute for Education).

The Global Affairs program at Mason taught her so much about the world around her. She learned about conflict analysis, global economics, international development, and so much more that will be an important background for any career in her future. “What is she going to do next?” That's a great question that she still doesn't have a good answer for. Every time she gets asked that she has a different answer. For right now, her next step is to finish her Master's degree and then take it from there. She also aims to get a cat in the near future, but that's not the "future plan" that family keeps asking her about. 

I'm so thankful for everyone at Mason who has helped shape her experiences. Especially Dr. Woolsey in the Honors College, who has been the best advisor she could've asked for. She came into college with so many extra credits from high school, so together we came up with a lot of creative class schedules that allowed her to get the most out of every semester. Every time she went to him for advising he would ask "Wait- when are you graduating again? I feel like you could've graduated a semester or two ago". Well, now I'm finally graduating!

Nada Elhawary

N. ElhawaryN. Elhawary 2

Nada is from Egypt. She is a graduation with a concentration in Global Governance. Mason gave her a lot of great opportunities, life experiences, and unforgettable memories. Academic wise, she studied abroad through the GEO department, she studied in France at Sciences-Po, which is ranked top of the world political institutions. Through the study abroad program, her studies at Mason, and her internship at Center for International Private Enterprise, she has a greater understanding for international relations through different lenses. Hence, she is able to understand her field of interest, she would like to work at NGOs, IOs, or think-tanks, such as the United Nations. She is interested in human rights, women empowerment, and environmental policies.

Nada has had an amusing and amazing memories all around the Fairfax campus at Mason. Starting from learning salsa at the Azucar Salsa Club and dancing in different parts of the campus in the middle of the crowd. She has had picnics with her friends at Mason Pond. Another memory is when it snowed, her and her friends would get floaters and slide across the mini gardens and play with snow. At Mason, she met her friends, who were exchange and international students and have had great memories with them.

Throughout her time at Mason, she has met great people that have helped her succeed. They supported her to pursue her goals. She would like to thank her family, professors, her advisors, and her friends. Thank you all for making her time at Mason memorable and unforgettable!

Marisol Florez

M. Florez

Marisol is honored to have received the Global Affairs Certificate of Merit. She will be graduating with a concentration in Global Inequalities and Responses and a minor in Immigration Studies. During her time as a global affairs student, she has been given the opportunity to turn her passion into reality. In the near future, she will be attending law school to become an immigration attorney and serve those in need. Marisol cannot thank her family enough for helping her every step of the way and supporting her dreams since the very beginning. “Thank you, mom and dad”

Connor Grubbs

C. Grubbs

Connor is honored to be awarded the Certificate of Merit within the Global Affairs School. As a Global Affairs student, he has had the opportunity to further his education in environmental conservation through a minor in Sustainability Studies and study human rights through a concentration in Global Inequalities and Responses. Led by his passion for humanitarian efforts he spent nine months interning for the Human Rights Campaign where he fought for LGBTQ rights and equality. Through his minor, he diversified his education in the environmental protection field including his capstone work where he set the foundation for a student-led farmers market on campus. During the winter break of his senior year, he had the amazing opportunity of studying abroad where he delved into the Monumental Politics of Rome and Athens. Post undergrad, he hopes to continue fighting for LGBTQ rights and ensure environmental conservation for generations to come. Connor would like to thank his family for their continued support throughout this journey and all his friends who stood by his every step of the way.

Shreya Gurung

S. Gurung

Shreya's time at George Mason has been filled with interesting and colorful experiences that she'll remember fondly for years to come. The classes have been rigorous and intellectually stimulating not to mention the diverse group of people she has had the privilege to share classrooms and befriend throughout the years. While we are going through some tumultuous times right now, Shreya has no doubt that what she has learned here will serve her well with whatever she does in the future.  

Francisca Idio

F. Idio

Francisca is a Global Affairs major with an Economics minor who is interested in International Trade, Law, and Economic Development. Her Nigerian-American heritage and her growing love for the Spanish language inspired her to focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America in the majority of her studies. Her most memorable moments at George Mason University was joining the Black Mambas African Dance Team, where she had learned to not be afraid of her background and to keep in touch with her culture through dance. In the academic realm, her former professors, Abigail Devereaux  and Audrey Pettibon  had inspired her to pursue academic challenges such as applying for an Economics Minor and studying at the University of Oxford for her first study abroad experience. Francisca’s long term goals are to work for the World Trade Organization or the World Bank Group as an Economic and Trade Analyst or as a Trade Lawyer. But in whatever capacity that God puts her in, she wants to ensure that she will give her all in helping others and continue to challenge herself in the life she has been given. She would first and foremost like to thank God for allowing her to complete her degree program and to meet the wonderful professors, peers, and mentors in the George Mason Community. She would also like to thank her mother, Edemakong Esema, who continues to stir the fighting spirit that is within her. Lastly, she would like to thank her family, friends, and others who have stood by her side through this stage of her life.

Viktoria Ivanova

V. Ivanova

Viktoria is a Russian and Canadian citizen, which has influenced her to pursue a double major in Global Affairs and Russian Studies. She has a passion for exploring the issues, policies and trends that affect our international community. She has enjoyed many classes at Mason, but one of her favorites would be Contemporary Post-Soviet Life with Professor Johanna Bockman. Her global affairs studies have taught her to better appreciate the world we share and to continue to foster transnational interconnections.

Eria Ma

E. Ma

Erie was born and grew up in South Korea for the majority of her life. She is graduating this Spring semester with a concentration in Human Security and minoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. The most memorable experiences at Mason are countless, but to choose one, on-campus student organization activities were amusing since the student clubs were important hubs for her to not only relieve stress from academic works, but also to build up relationships and meet fellow Patriots. If everything goes as planned, she wishes to study at graduate school as a full-time student to research Human Security and international development.

Emily Rusch

E. Rusch

Emily is graduating with a double major in Global Affairs and Religious Studies. Her concentration is in Asian Studies. Emily’s favorite classes include Introduction to Anthropology, Arts of India, Religions of the West, and Alexander the Great to Cleopatra. Emily highly recommends taking any classes taught by Charles Garretson or Christopher Gregg. One of Emily’s favorite parts of college was traveling to Jamaica through the Study Abroad Integrative Learning program. A Wisconsin native, Emily hopes to stay in the Washington, D.C. area after graduation. Emily would like to thank Religious Studies professors Dr. Garretson and Dr. Ro for expanding her perspective on religion and spirituality. She also thanks her parents for supporting her decision to go to an out-of-state university.

Steven Schram

S. Schram

Steven is a Northern Virginia native and transferred to George Mason in the spring of 2018. He is grateful for his time here and especially the 2019 spring semester where he was as a Global Politics Fellow. During his time as a Fellow, he was fortunate to intern for two George Mason Alum at a lobbying firm called David Turch & Associates.

The professional relationships he built at the firm helped him secure an internship that summer at the Niskanen Center as a Government Relations intern. Additionally, Steven interned at the Department of State: Foreign Service Institute the following semester in the fall of 2019. To end his busy, yet exciting time at George Mason, Steven participated in a study abroad program in a winter Switzerland and France focusing on the European Union and United Nations. Even though it was short, he loved his time in Europe and the trip reminded him of his love for international politics.

He would like to thank his friends and his family who supported him throughout his studies. He would like to specifically thank his professors Dr. Ghosh and Dr. Braun for their support and for making his time at George Mason special. Steven is pursuing a career in foreign diplomacy and would like to work either on Capital Hill or at the Department of State.

Shreetika Singh

S. Singh 2S. Singh

Shreetika Singh is a senior from Houston, TX majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in International Development. During her academic career at GMU, she presented her research on pesticide poisoning in Kenyan farmers at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, studied International Political Theory at Oxford University, and received the Top Fellow Award during her semester as a Global Politics Fellow on the Arlington Campus. She also competed on the nationally-ranked Mason Forensics Team for two years. While she is not standing in the long Chipotle line in the JC or taking selfies with a starship robot, she volunteers with her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, for Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. For her Honors project in Global Affairs, Shreetika traveled to India to research human trafficking and collected extensive interview data. Her research was selected for presentation at the National Conferences of Undergraduate Research in Bozeman, MT. Upon graduation, Shreetika plans to work as a paralegal at a Federal Employment law firm in D.C. Her long-term the goal is to attend law school and become a practicing attorney. Global Affairs has had a profound impact on her life, she says, “It has made me hyper-aware of the world around me, and how rapidly things can change. Combatting climate change, electing capable leaders, and condemning human rights violations around the world is essential now more than ever”.

Justine Marie Suegay

J. Suegay

Justine Suegay is graduating with a double major in Spanish and Global Affairs, with a concentration in Media, Communication and Culture. As part of the Honors College, her research and academic interests involved Asian American studies, media representation, sociolinguistics, immigration, social justice, and education equity. On campus she was very involved with the Asian American community as a former President of the Filipino Cultural Association and outgoing President of the Asian Pacific American Coalition. She was also a Committee Head for Immigration Monologues and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for the past three years. Additionally, she has worked at the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education as a Student Staff Coordinator. Outside Mason, she has been a Congressional Intern and has years of non-profit experience serving a Filipino American federation. 

Born and raised in the Philippines, Justine’s global perspective was complemented by her global affairs studies that comprised some of her favorite classes. From learning about intercultural communication, to globalization & culture, or cross-cultural anthropology to postcolonial literature, her Global Affairs major has made Justine passionate about her identity, history, community, and activism. Justine plans to pursue a career in higher education and leadership development, with the goal of supporting students of color and historically marginalized communities on university campuses.  

Ma Vanessa Thompson

V. Thompson

Vanessa Thompson is a graduating senior at George Mason University. She will be graduating with a concentration in Human Security and a minor in Intelligence Analysis under the Criminal Justice Department. She chose this degree combination because she enjoys learning about different cultures, history, languages, groups of people, and the national security apparatus. Prior to college she was a student at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy of Tallwood high school where she was introduced to International Studies and began her journey to becoming a “global citizen.” Her love and passion for traveling and learning new languages has also kept her interested and engaged with the program.

At Mason she studied two semesters of Arabic and French and plan to continue Arabic in graduate school. In the near future she will be taking on a master’s degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Conflict and Security. As you can tell she has really enjoyed this major, mainly because it not only teaches from an academic standpoint but also life lessons as she continues to learn about what our world is truly like—the good and the bad. For her future career path, she hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer and possibly a Special Agent for an Office of Inspector General, preferably USAID where she has been interning for and have enjoyed her experience.

She wants to thank God, her family, and friends for the support and always being there to encourage her to do better. She also wants to thank her past supervisors and colleagues from UI as well as her current team at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being who has been there to guide her, mentor her, and supported her throughout her four years at Mason. Without her loved ones, she truly would not be where she is today.

Jacob Wilbur

J. WIlbur

When Jacob began college, he would never have imagined that Global Affairs would become his major, nor could he have imagined the places it would take him. Right out of high school he attended the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry's (SUNY ESF) Ranger School Program, where he learned practical skills relating to surveying, forestry and conservation. However, he soon realized this was not the career path he wanted and spent a good bit of time in Northern Virginia attending NOVA community college and working before coming to GMU.

His time at GMU has been meaningful and certainly memorable. He will never forget studying in Beijing with professor Zhang, nor will he forget his time working as an intern with the National Archives. His coursework continues to impact the way he thinks about the world and has given him a greater appreciation of the ways in which individuals, communities, and governments interact with each other.

He would like to thank his parents and his sister for supporting him through good times and bad, as well as his professors for all they have done to broaden his understanding. 

Juwairiyah Brown

Camila Carrasco

Kerrie Thompson

Spring 2019

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.