Incoming Student Highlight: Jarek Buss


I am excited to attend the Elliott School as part of the Security Policy Studies program this fall. I will concentrate my studies on East Asia and military history as a Wolcott Fellow and as a Pickering Fellow, prior to entering the Foreign Service in September 2018. Getting to this point in my life is the culmination of many years of travels, goals, work, and incredible support.

I grew up in Laramie, Wyoming until I left on a Rotary Youth Exchange to France in 2007.
That experience convinced me to pursue an international lifestyle and I have been preparing to join the Foreign Service ever since. I started my undergraduate in political science at Brigham Young University-Hawaii in 2009, then left for two years of religious mission work in southern France in 2010, working primarily with Chinese students.

I returned to BYU-Hawaii in 2012 and met and married my wife, Kaylee Lindahl, a brilliant soprano. Together we studied in Xi’an, China from 2013-2014, with me on a NSEP Boren Scholarship and Kaylee on other scholarships. Finishing that experience, we spent two more semesters at BYU-Hawaii but could not help leaving yet again in 2015, this time for Thailand. Together we interned with the Raks Thai Foundation in Mae Chaem, then took classes through BYU-Hawaii in Bangkok. At the expiration of our Thai visas but before the start of classes in Hawaii, we spent a month backpacking through Cambodia and Vietnam.

We returned to BYU-Hawaii for the last time in November 2015, and I graduated in February and Kaylee in June. This summer has been exciting so far, and will only get better—right after graduation, we toured with the university choir to Japan for two weeks, as I was the tour manager and Kaylee was the soprano section leader. We are now spending the summer with family in Denver, where, best of all, we will have our first baby, a boy, in August before moving to D.C. I have wanted to attend GW for years, and with everything coming together now, life could hardly be better!

Incoming Student Highlight: Kasey Stricklin

Kasey Stricklin

Hi New GW Friends!

I will be starting at the Elliott School in the fall as a student in the Master’s in International Policy and Practice program, and plan to focus on Russia and international security.

In 2010, I graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s of Journalism, and this is where I also fell in love with Russia through my Russian language classes. I received a Critical Language Scholarship also in 2010 to study intensive intermediate Russian during the summer in Vladimir, Russia.

After these experiences, I decided I wanted to improve relations between the US and Russia through mutual understanding, and went to law school with the aim of going into policy after. I graduated in 2014 from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. While in law school, I was able to study abroad in Russia and Switzerland, as well as travel fully-funded by the school to Uganda, Belize, and New York.

I’ve been working in the law school admissions office since graduation, but I’m so excited to head to DC, get more specialization, and get into my chosen career field! This summer I’ll be heading on a vacation to Russia before moving to DC in August. I’ll also continue working with my Russian tutor located in Moscow who I work with over Skype. In my free time, I am a big reader, both nonfiction and fiction. Let’s start a book club!

I can’t wait to meet you all.


Incoming Student Highlight: Jay Porter

Jay Porter

My name is Jay Porter. I am twenty-four years old and grew up in Decatur, IL. I enjoy going dancing, taking walks, playing video games, and talking about history. I will be majoring in the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program at GWU.

Currently, I am studying at Brigham Young University-Idaho and will graduate July 20th with a B.A. in History and a minor in Spanish. I served in Paraguay as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from May 2011 to May 2013. That’s where I learned to speak Spanish and Guarani. I hope to work with people from South America in a future career with the Department of State, Immigration Services, or non-profit organizations. Eventually, I want to publish a satirical book or two similar to Candide by Voltaire except taking place in modern times.

Incoming Student Highlight: Sergio Fontanez


My name is Sergio Fontanez. I am pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs with a concentration in International Law and Organizations. I graduated from Central Connecticut State University with bachelor’s degrees in History and Mathematics. After college, I spent six years in the military. During that time, I spent one year deployed to Afghanistan helping create a self-sustaining Afghan Air Force. After separating from the Air Force, I decided to pursue a law degree.

Currently, I am participating in the joint-degree program at The George Washington University pursuing a juris doctorate and a master’s degree in international affairs. After graduating, I hope to become a Foreign Services Officer with the Department of State. On my free time, you can find me at a movie theater. I try to catch a movie once a week. I am really looking forward to the upcoming year!

Graduate Admissions: It’s All About Preparation.


It’s that time of the year again! Time to start preparing and exploring which graduate school program might be a good fit for you. Check out the below tips!

Learn about Graduate Programs:

Beginning in September, most U.S. graduate schools will travel all over the country to attend graduate fairs. Some great ones to check out if you’re interested in International Affairs and Public Policy are the APSIA and Idealist fairs. Follow the links to see if they will be near your town!  There will also be graduate fairs hosted around the world. For fairs outside of the U.S., check out QS World Grad School Tour.

*We will host the APSIA DC fair on GWU’s campus! Click HERE to register.

Many individual colleges and universities host their own graduate and career fairs. Be sure to check out the schools in your area to see what events might be happening this fall. Our office will begin to travel to a range of schools, events, and fairs this fall as well. Be sure to view our Fall 2016 Event Schedule and meet us on the road!

Dive Deeper:

The Elliott School hosts an Open House each Fall. We will have faculty, current students, alumni, and staff on hand to help you better understand the Elliott School. This year our Open House is on November 15th. Save the Date!

Understand the “average applicant”. Each October, we post information about the newest incoming class. Be sure to view our Class Fact Sheet for information about average GRE scores, average GPA, and other relevant statistics. It’s important to note that many things are taken into consideration when an admission decision, or fellowship decision is made. Be aware that both admission and fellowship decisions depend on quantitative factors like GRE and GPA, but also on things such as work experience, foreign language skills, economics background, and your interactions with the Elliott School community. It’s great to shoot for our averages, but students who fall ABOVE our averages position themselves for a great chance to gain admission and fellowship offers.

Sit in on a class. Attend an information session. Talk to an alumni. Attend an event. Speak with a faculty member whose research you’re interested in. Read course descriptions. These are all great ways to find the right fit!

Application Tips:

If you’re beginning to think about pulling your applications together and apply for next Spring or Fall be sure to review our Application Requirements.  The more knowledge you have about the application process, the more successful you will be as an applicant. A few other quick tips:

1.) Take the GRE/GMAT early and be sure to prepare for the exam.

2.) Pay attention to details… directions, deadlines, and requirements are all important!

  • Be sure to understand the requirements of the program in which you are interested in applying for!
  • The Elliott School has Statement of Purpose Essay prompts to help guide your writing.
  • If you’re applying for a spring semester, our application deadline is October 1st. If you’re applying for a Fall semester, it’s best to submit your application by January 7th!
  • Read the emails our office sends you, often there are follow up questions or contain other important information.
  • Elliott is spelled with two L’s and two T’s… Just sayin’🙂


We can’t wait to meet some of you on the road this year and begin to interact with our 2017 applicants!



Incoming Student Highlight: Atem Malak

Atem Pic

My name is Atem Peter Malak. I will be undertaking M.A of International Affairs with a Conflict and Conflict Resolution emphasis this fall. During my undergraduate studies, I majored in History with an Economics minor at Walla Walla University, College Place, Washington. I am fluent in Dinka (my native tongue), Juba-Arabic (spoken only), Basic French and fluent in English.

What I want to do with my Elliott School’s MA is to go back home (South Sudan) and work to promote peace, reconciliation and conflict resolution.

I am spending my summer familiarizing myself with Washington DC and attending many amazing events at different Think Tanks and also trying to get myself a decent job. In my free time, I like to play chess, hike, read, and hangout with friends.

Incoming Student Highlight: Chris Beauregard


Since graduating from The University of South Carolina in May of 2013, I’ve worked in business development in the Washington DC office of ThyssenKrupp, a German engineering firm focusing specifically on elevator technology. At GW I will be studying space policy within the ISTP program to begin my career in commercial spaceflight operations, business development and strategy. Much of my spare time is dedicated to building a company that I started to provide AED equipment to buildings in the metropolitan area.
My summer will be spent growing my customer base, preparing for classes and traveling, including Rio for the Olympics.