I graduated from GVSU in 2004 with a B.A. in international relations. I first became curious about the world outside Michigan during a high school exchange program to Graz, Austria. After another trip to Europe a few years later, I decided international relations was the perfect discipline -- a combination of many of my interests, including the study of languages and cultures, history, law and policy, political science, and economics. During my time at GVSU, I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, which was one of the most enriching experiences of my life.
After graduation, I relocated to Ann Arbor to work at the corporate headquarters of Borders Books. In 2008, I moved to Los Angeles, landed a new job at another corporate headquarters, and was soon laid off as the worst of the recession hit. Since hiring had all but ground to a halt that autumn, I used this time to pursue some volunteer opportunities. Soon after, I was hired as the volunteer assistant to the Summit Director/Research Assistant for a huge event that brought together public, private, and nonprofit partners plus a cohort of first ladies to address disparities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The African First Ladies Leadership for Health Summit was held in April 2009, with the aim of leveraging the office of the First Lady to bring awareness and resources to pressing issues at hand, including girls' education, HIV/AIDS, maternal health, and malaria. Through my work organizing the summit, I was able to segue into a job with the Pardee RAND Graduate School. At the RAND Graduate School, I provide student support, perform budget management, and help develop new proposals. I also manage external courses for domestic and international clients, and serve on a number of committees for the greater RAND Corporation.
I am currently finishing my master’s degree in international relations at the Freie Universität Berlin. This is a hybrid program geared toward working professionals; it blends online learning with in-house modules in Berlin. My thesis examines the policy levers in place regarding internally displaced people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
GVSU provided me with the liberal arts skills I use every day -- reading, writing and critical thinking. I also gained the substantive knowledge of IR that I learned in courses taught by high-quality faculty from around the world.