#IncomingElliott: Timor Nawabi

Timor Nawabi, #IncomingElliott Student, M.A. Security Policy Studies, Class of 2023

Timor Nawabi is a first-year Master’s candidate in the Security Policy Studies program at the Elliott School, concentrating in Cybersecurity. He received his bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Polytechnic University.
He started working at a very young age and worked for more than a decade with international organizations, mainly NATO, in different strategic capacities. He has spent over five years working as a Business Systems Analyst for various companies in the DMV area. He is currently working as a Business Systems Analyst III for the NFCU HQ in Virginia. Before shifting his career towards business analysis, Timor worked as a Senior Media Analyst and Public Diplomacy Adviser for the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO HQ in Brussels. Timor has written several articles in different languages focused on the US Election, US War in Afghanistan, and the current pandemic. Timor enjoys practicing Arabic/Persian calligraphy, learning new languages, following a healthy lifestyle, and watching current affairs programs, documentaries, and tech shows in his free time. Timor also enjoys meeting new people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. He hopes to graduate with his MA in Security Policy Studies in 2023.

What has been your most rewarding academic or professional experience so far?

By far, the most rewarding thing I have experienced professionally was when I got to lead a team of journalists from different news outlets during numerous NATO conferences and, more importantly, during NATO’s Heads of States Summit both in Wales, UK – Dec 2014 and Warsaw, Poland in July 2016. My over a decade of work experience as the face and voice of the NATO’s Public Affairs Office representing over 50 nations as well as working in leadership positions like senior media analyst and public diplomacy adviser to NATO Ambassadors and military flag officers from different NATO member countries inspired me of the importance of this profession and how personally I relate to this discipline and enjoy reading and researching on related subjects. Overall, I enjoyed every day of my professional life for over a decade, and it was an unmatched experience for me. 

What made you interested in your graduate program of choice?

I’ve always been interested in public diplomacy; international and security affairs and chose the Security Studies Program as my graduate course of study. While I was immersed in studying this field, I had the opportunity to work in different countries like Afghanistan and NATO headquarters in Brussels. Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to work in one of the DOJ projects as a business systems analyst, which was an unmatched experience for me during which I learned a lot about the US judiciary systems from the immigration courthouses to the detention centers across the country. Through this experience, I got to work with the Department of Justice’s attorneys, judges, courthouse administrators, and interpreters. Meanwhile, my past and current work experiences have inspired me to pursue my master’s in Security Policy Studies with a concentration on Cybersecurity, which is the essential need of today’s world.

If you could be a paid intern anywhere in DC during your program, where would you want to intern and why?

I would love to intern with any of the below-mentioned places, and I would genuinely enjoy working with them as an intern or, eventually, as an employee in the future. Those places are the United States Institute of Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Department of State, and Department of Defense. I believe that my over a decade of experience with international organizations, including NATO in a strategic communication and public diplomacy level and over five years of experience as business analyst, along with my language skills, can help me accomplish some of my goals and working with the above organizations undoubtedly adds up on to my knowledge. I have chosen these esteemed places for an internship because of their contributions to the peace, security, and stability of today’s world.

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program?

My perception of SPS began to evolve during the “Bon Conference” following the international intervention in Afghanistan, the aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11. As a result, the new Afghanistan emerged in the world arena after decades of unrest, instability, and isolation. We are now celebrating countless achievements of the past decade that have changed the lives of millions of women and men across the country and the world; besides, we have new ways of interacting with potential partners at national and international levels and developing new understandings to maximize mutual benefits. As a young man involved in the political process and democratic practices in the past 12 years, I was devotedly inspired to pursue my graduate studies in Security Policy Studies at GWU. I am excited to take advantage of everything this program has to offer.


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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.”

#WeAreElliott: Tyler Burrell

Tyler Burrell, M.A. Security Policy Studies, Global Gender Policy Certificate, Class of 2022, #WeAreElliott Current Student

Tyler Burrell is currently in her second year of the Master of Arts program in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School, concentrating in Transnational Security. She is simultaneously pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Global Gender Policy. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia in December, 2019 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both International Affairs and Communication Studies. Tyler is Research Assistant for the Gender Policy and Strategy team at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Coordinator for the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (U.S. CSWG). A member of the D.C. Student Consortium on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), Tyler has interests in homeland security, terrorism and violent extremism, gender policy, and disability rights. Passionate about the intersection of gender and security, she takes on the world with her service dog, Scorpio, by her side.

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?

I knew as I was approaching my undergrad graduation that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree. As someone who wants to enter the intelligence community one day, I knew a master’s degree would be an asset. Beyond that, I genuinely enjoy school and the prospect of delaying the realities of the adult world for two more years was mighty appealing. However, while making the decision to pursue a graduate education was easy, choosing which school to attend felt nearly impossible. I chose my undergraduate institution after a campus tour; I really needed to feel out the physical campus in order to confidently make my decision. Choosing a graduate school mid-pandemic without the opportunity to tour campuses was incredibly stressful. I made pros/cons lists, contacted current students to hear about their personal experiences, talked in circles around my options to anyone who would listen, and researched literally everything I could before making my final decision. Ultimately, I decided on the Elliott School because it had my ideal combination of various specialty program classes, location in D.C., opportunities for extensive networking and connection-building, and relative cost. I felt that the Elliott School gave me the most bang for my buck, and now that I’m 75% of the way through my program and have spent one semester partially on campus, I can honestly say that I haven’t regretted my decision for a second.

What has been your most challenging academic experience (i.e., in-class, with an institute/office, at an Elliott sponsored on/off-campus event) at the Elliott School and how did you overcome it?

My most challenging academic experience was related to capstone registration. I have been assured by program coordinators and alumni that capstone is not typically as stressful as it was for the class of 2022, as we had to go through the entire process online. Starting capstone, none of us had been on campus yet, and we knew hardly anyone within our programs – let alone across programs. The end result was that half of students formed their groups prior to registration and were relying on getting into the same section as their groupmates, while the other half of students picked the most relevant section to their interests and planned on forming groups once capstone began. This division, coupled with a lack of information coming from the Elliott School regarding the process and what to expect, culminated in one of the most stressful experiences of my academic life. Only by the grace of God – and a dear friend who connected me with my capstone partners – did I emerge unscathed. It is my sincere hope that future classes will not have a capstone registration experience reminiscent of the Hunger Games.

Where do you currently work, intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?

I currently work as a Research Assistant for the Gender Policy and Strategy team at the U.S. Institute of Peace. As part of my role, I am Coordinator of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (U.S. CSWG), a non-partisan network of over 50 civil society organizations with expertise on the impacts of conflict on women and their participation in peacebuilding. As someone whose interests lie in the intersection of gender and security, there is nowhere I would rather be at this point in my career. Not only am I working under truly incredible women and networking with dozens of the most relevant civil society organizations working on the advancement of the WPS Agenda, but I am also learning how to administrate a coalition and apply gender as an overarching lens to various levels of programming. This position will serve as the perfect stepping stone following my graduation, as I hope to remain within the field of gender and security and know the connections I make now will follow me for years to come.

Now that you’re a graduate student, what do you wish you knew during the graduate application process?

It sounds cliché, but it’s so important to remember your own worth. I was hit hard with imposter syndrome my first year at the Elliott School, and I know that was not a unique experience – every single person I opened up to about it admitted they felt the same way. Graduate school is not like undergrad; everyone here already knows what they want to do and what they’re passionate about. Many are returning to school after spending a few years gaining experience in their chosen field. You are surrounded on all sides by incredibly intellectual, talented, accomplished individuals. It was way too easy to play the comparison game, and every time I was coming up short. I couldn’t understand what I was doing in the same program with these people, and I was convinced that eventually someone was going to recognize the mistake. It wasn’t until my third semester, when I really got my feet under me and began achieving some of my own goals, that I realized how destructive my imposter syndrome was for my mental health. Just remember that you are where you are for a reason, no one made a mistake, and you bring something valuable to your program. Success is not linear, and it doesn’t have a single manifestation, so everyone’s journey will look different. I believe in you!

What has been your most valuable experience while studying at the Elliott School?

My most valuable experience while studying at the Elliott School has been joining the D.C. Student Consortium on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). Established in 2020, the Consortium is a student-led organization that aims to – in collaboration with the U.S. CSWG – promote awareness of the implications of women and gender in security and foreign policy. The brain-child of Dr. Shirley Graham, the Director of the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs and my favorite professor at the Elliott School, the Consortium has quickly become a community of brilliant young professionals united in their passion for gender, peace, and security. Watching the Consortium grow and thrive has been one of the greatest privileges of my time at the Elliott School, and I’m already working alongside some of my fellow members in the WPS space. We welcome both undergraduate and graduate members, and I highly recommend joining if you are at all interested in gender, peace, and security.

If you could bring any food from abroad to D.C., what would you bring?

One food that I think about frequently is the mamey, or mamey sapote. It’s the fruit of a tree native to Mexico and Central America, and I’ve only eaten it once in my life. In the summer of 2015, my mother and I traveled to Tulum, Mexico. Our taxi driver for all of our excursions, José, had quickly become something of a grandfather figure and was always taking care of us. One day, on our way back to where my mother and I were staying, José asked us out of the blue if we had ever had a mamey. When we responded with, “What is a mamey?” he pulled over and bought us three mameys from a roadside seller. Upon making it back to our hotel and trying my first bite, I finally understood José’s hype about mameys. Delicious and utterly unique! I haven’t seen one since, and something tells me they wouldn’t taste quite the same in D.C.


Want to connect with current Elliott School students and alumni? Click here to see how!
Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!
Join us for an information session, RSVP here!
Click here to apply to the Elliott School!
Twitter · Facebook · Instagram

The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs

#WeAreElliott: Kimberly Archuleta

Kimberly Archuleta, M.A. Latin American and Hemispheric Students, Class of 2022, #WeAreElliott Current Student

Kimberly Archuleta has a BA in International Affairs and a minor in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder, during which time she studied abroad in Costa Rica. In undergrad, Kimberly interned with the International Rescue Committee and the Department of State. Currently, Kimberly is a case management analyst with the DoS Refugee Processing Center and is working on processing Afghan refugee referrals. She hopes to continue her career in refugee work and hopes to aid in the development of better refugee policies and practices, particularly in Latin America. At the Elliott School, Kimberly serves on the Graduate Advisory Board and is a managing editor for the International Affairs Review. She hopes to graduate with her M.A. in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies in 2022. 

What has been your favorite experience at the Elliott School so far and why?

My favorite experience thus far has been attending the LAHSP event featuring former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla. I studied abroad in Costa Rica during my undergraduate studies and learned so much about her, her platform, and the change she’s been able to make. Being able to hear from her in person was incredible and gave me the opportunity to meet a woman that’s incredibly accomplished in this field. Her thoughts regarding current crises in Latin America were insightful and even gave me some ideas for the projects I am working on this semester. It’s so important for women in international affairs to hear from women that have accomplished so much in this field, and I really valued the experience. The Elliott School is always offering events with experts in international affairs, and each event I’ve gone to has inspired me to work harder in my own studies and given me goals for my life after school.

What courses have you found most helpful in your work/intern/volunteer experiences and how have they been useful?

The two classes that have been the most helpful in my work experience would be two of the classes I’m taking this semester. I am taking Human Trafficking and Immigration and Weak States: Central America in Comparative Perspective. Both classes touch on the broader issues of migration. I am currently working as a case management analyst with the DoS Refugee Processing Center, and being able to apply what I learn in the classroom to my every day work is incredible. I have seen the theories and practices I’ve been taught apply to real world work experience. I’ve also been able to use my own work experiences to aid in my class discussions. Migration itself is such an important issue to work in, and I’ve tailored my classes to aid in my own career goals in this subject. These classes also focus on such important topics, and I know I will miss having these professors to learn from.

Describe the pros and cons of being a full-time/part-time student at the Elliott School.

I am currently working full-time and going to school full-time. It is challenging, and requires a lot of sacrifice of social life and personal time, but it means I can both finish my degree in two years and gain experience for when I graduate. I am gaining experience in my field, taking classes that will help in my career, and learning so much both in and outside the classroom. However, I don’t always have time to meet friends for coffee or go to every ESIA event that I would like to go to. I’ve really had to learn to manage my time well and prioritize tasks, but I think that will only aid me in my future career. Doing both full-time school and full-time work is incredibly challenging and requires a lot of sacrifice, and patience from friends and my partner, but ultimately will only aid me in the future. 

What resources or strategies have proven to be the most valuable in helping you reach success at the Elliott School?

The Graduate Student Services (GSS) office has been the most valuable in helping me reach success at the Elliott School. Meeting with my career advisor to go over my resume, cover letters, and overall strategies to job hunting helped me find my current job. Whether I’ve needed some quick help regarding a term an employer used that I wasn’t familiar with, or long meetings about utilizing LinkedIn, I’ve always received incredibly useful help from GSS. Outside of them, keeping detailed notes for what needs to be done in a day, and a detailed calendar, have really been valuable in juggling school and work. The white board I bought on a whim when I started grad school has become so helpful in remaining organized and successful. Another strategy I really recommend is to carve out time for self-care. Whether it’s taking an hour to start reading a new book, or finding time to walk around the Monuments, taking care of my own mental health and well-being has influenced my success. 

What advice do you have for prospective students who are comparing a graduate program at the Elliott School with other DC grad schools?

I would advise prospective students to really research not only the school they’re looking at, but also the individual professors and classes available. The professors I’ve had have all been experts in their field and have taught me essential information for my career. I also think it’s important to speak with students at these schools and learn about the atmosphere, and even the location of the school. I chose GW because of the classes I could take, the overall atmosphere and passion for international affairs, and of course, the central location. Biggest takeaway- take your time and really think about what you value the most from a graduate program and what your graduate program can do for you.

What show or song will you forever associate with quarantine?

I will forever associate Tiger King with quarantine. I remember my partner and I hearing all about this documentary, and decided we had nothing else to do. Being locked up in my undergrad college town and unable to travel home for the own health of my family meant I need something to distract myself with. I’m sure decades from now I’ll still remember this documentary about a man that owned tigers and had a rivalry with Carol Baskin, the woman who may or may not have killed her own husband. With all that was happening, having this insane show to watch helped just a little.


Want to connect with current Elliott School students and alumni? Click here to see how!
Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!
Join us for an information session, RSVP here!
Click here to apply to the Elliott School!
Twitter · Facebook · Instagram

The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.

#WeAreElliott: Jocelyn Trainer

Jocelyn Trainer, M.A. Security Policy Studies, Class of 2022, #WeAreElliott Current Student

Jocelyn Trainer is a second-year student in the Security Policy Studies program at George Washington University with a concentration in Conflict Resolution. Her career aspirations are to work on stabilization and peacebuilding in sub-Saharan Africa while applying environmental security and gender lenses. Most recently, Jocelyn researched global governance and international institutions while interning at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before graduate school, Jocelyn was a project lead with CRDF Global, implementing events and writing proposals to promote gender equality and best practices in nonproliferation and nuclear security. Jocelyn was also an international program coordinator at the Quixote Center, where she worked on sustainable agricultural practices in Nicaragua and Haiti. Jocelyn received two Bachelors of Arts degrees in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in International Relations from Loyola Marymount University. As an undergraduate, Jocelyn studied and interned in Cape Town, South Africa, and London, the United Kingdom.

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