Student Highlight: Dimitra Hatzudia, Global Communication

Hatzudia Dimitra Portrait 6264 (2)Dimitra Hatzudis Is a current Global Communication student with a focus in public diplomacy.  Before joining the Elliott School, Dimitra completed a BA in Political Science and Global Studies from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  After graduating from her BA, she interned with the Embassy of Greece.  There she analyzed US and international press coverage of Greece and developed a social media strategy for multiple campaigns.

While at the Elliott School, Dimitra held an internship at BrandLinkDC and Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).  She found her BBG internship through a guest speaker in a first semester public diplomacy course! As Dimitra was working at BBG, she was connected to staff members at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).  Through this connection, Dimitra has been working as a research assistant in the public affairs and communications office at USIP since the spring semester and will be there until December! During the summer, Dimitra is also planning a trip to Greece to visit her family.

Thanks Dimitra for sharing your experiences as an Elliott School graduate Student!

Student Highlight: Kudulaiti Ainiwaer, International Development Studies

4Kudulaiti “Kerry” Ainiwaer is an incoming International Development Studies student from Xinjiang, China. Kerry completed his BA in Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University (Tokyo, Japan) in 2014. Throughout his childhood and undergraduate career, Kerry has studied four languages: English, Japanese, Chinese and Uyghur. His international degree ensures he is prepared for many multi-cultural country interactions. After completing his degree, he started working with Silicon Valley start-ups by tele-commuting around the world!

During his Elliott School studies, Kerry plans to focus on International Development Management and he will endeavor to get a formal job in World Bank to help reduce the poverty. His ultimate goal is to establish a NGO to provide children in poverty with health care and better education in Xinjiang.

Outside of the classroom, Kerry has signed up to be a runner and a fundraiser this year. He’s running the Marine Corps Marathon with the GW Cancer Institute in October.

We wish Kerry the best of luck with his program and training!

Student Highlight: Anna McCracken, Global Communication

Hello readers! My name is Anna McCracken, an incoming Global Communication student.  As an undergrad, I never pictured myself pursuing this path, but after working in the communications field for two years, I am certain that this program will give me a great balance of international relations knowledge and strategic communications skills.

While I was at Elon University I was very involved with our Model UN organization and like many international relations students, always assumed I would work in foreign policy or national security. Soon after graduating, I took a job at a government contracting company called Barbaricum and with a leap of faith from our leadership, was put on a contract supporting strategic communications at the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force, located at Fort Belvoir, VA.


During my semester abroad at the University of Ghana – Legon, I realized the importance of America’s public diplomacy during many conversations with my local roommate. She also taught me how to pick the best mangoes from a fruit stall! The one pictured here was my favorite, located right by my dorm building.

For the first year I struggled deciding which route to take – policy or communications. As I got into the swing of things at my job, I realized how much I liked doing communications, especially for a defense client.  It’s a great blend of my interests. When I was looking into graduate programs in the DC area, I searched for one that had a similar blend and for me the Elliott School’s Global Communication degree really stood out.

I’m really excited to start at ESIA this fall and can’t wait to see how it enhances my skill set at my client site, where I plan continue to work, and for my future career!!

Student Highlight: Kristine Landau, International Development Studies

Kristine Landau will join the Elliott School this fall as a candidKristine Landauate for a M.A. in International Development Studies (IDS).

Kristine graduated from the Elliott School with a B.A. in International Affairs in 2008 and looks forward to returning to GWU to pursue her graduate degree.

After completing her B.A. at GWU, Kristine spent a year teaching English in Shenzhen, a city of approximately 10 million people in the province of Guangdong, China. It was there that she developed a love of Asia, and she plans to return to the region in the future.

Kristine currently works with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Democracy, Governance, Peace and Security Analyst. In this role, she has been privileged to work on civil society and peace and security issues in the Middle East. Kristine has worked with USAID for approximately four years, and over the course of this period she has had the opportunity to provide support to Yemen’s democratic process, help re-establish USAID’s mission in Burma, and train USAID staff headed to Afghanistan for new assignments.

Kristine is passionate about preventing conflict, genocide, and other atrocities and is also committed to working on gender issues. She looks forward to studying these subjects at the Elliott School over the next two years.

Student Highlight: David Okun, Latin American & Hemispheric Studies

Hello! I am David Okun, a current Elliott School graduate student! I look forward to welcoming the incoming class during Orientation in August! I will be one of the orientation leaders so please do not hesitate to reach out ( should you have any questions as you make the transition to graduate school! Keep reading to learn more about me and hear my advice to new students.

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Student Highlight: Elena Zambetti, International Development Studies

ElenaElena Zambetti is an incoming International Development Studies student.  She has an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and is considering a concentration in conflict and development within the MA program.  After graduating, Elena traveled the globe to China to study Chinese and France where she worked as an intern with an international agricultural cooperative.

Before starting classes in the fall, Elena will begin working as the Business Partnerships Fellow at GlobalGiving, an international non-profit that provides a crowdfunding platform for the grassroots charitable projects of social entrepreneurs and non-profits worldwide. Her role supports the Business Development team, which works with Fortune 500 companies to support their global citizenship goals. Specifically, they help companies with employee engagement, consumer-facing campaigns, and international grant-making.

In addition to the fellowship at GlobalGiving, Elena is a contractor with Proofix.  As a contractor, she proofreads documents sent in to the website by both native and non-native English speakers.

Both her education and professional experiences are sure to set Elena up for great success in the International Development Studies program!  We wish her the best of luck with her first semester!