#WeAreElliott: Kasey Stricklin

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Kasey Stricklin is completing her last semester of the mid-career Master’s in International Policy and Practice program with a focus in Russia and nuclear security. During her time at the Elliott School, she has interned at the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the State Department, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the Department of Energy. Kasey has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Texas and a JD from the University of Oklahoma. She is licensed to practice law in Texas.

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

I am currently a participant in the DOE Scholars program, so I am interning through the end of this semester at the Department of Energy. My focus of my graduate program is in Russia and nuclear security, and the DOE does a lot of important work in both of these areas. The DOE is a lot more technical than anywhere else I have worked, so it has been a very different culture and work environment to get used to, but I’ve enjoyed it.

What strategies have proven most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School or D.C.?

I knew I needed to make the most of my short time during grad school to find my dream job at graduation. I hit the ground running with internships, completing four over the course of the year-and-a-half program in all different aspects of Russia and in different types of organizations (government, research, and trade associations). This has been extremely helpful for both figuring out what I want to do and for networking. Getting involved in organizations (like young professionals groups specific to my field) have also been amazing for learning about new opportunities, meeting people, and getting inspired.

What piece of advice/wisdom would you have given yourself when you started your program now that you’ve completed your first year?  

I would tell myself that yes, there is a lot of reading and it is difficult to get used to at first, but you should still go out, have fun, and enjoy DC as much as possible. I really spent most of my time studying and interning my first year and didn’t take full advantage of the exciting events going on around the city. You have to strike a balance for your own mental health.

Best hidden talent?

I can make myself stop hiccupping instantly! As soon as I hiccup once, I’m able to focus enough to talk myself out of hiccupping again. I know they are supposedly involuntary, but somehow I’ve figured out the secret.

The #WeAreElliott series highlights current M.A. students at the Elliott School and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.

 

#ElliottProud Thursday Profiles

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What’s the job search like after graduation? What class recommendations best prepare students for a career in international affairs? What part of the Elliott School’s master’s programs best prepares our students for life after graduation?

Every Thursday, we’ll post alumni profiles answering these questions and more, aimed to help current and prospective students learn more about the Elliott School experience post-graduation!

Have a question for an Elliott School alumni? Send them to esiagrad@gwu.edu with “#ElliottProud Questions” in the subject line or leave them here as a comment!

See ya Thursday!

#WeAreElliott: Xiaodan Wu

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Xiaodan Wu is a second year M.A. International Affairs student whom has just finished her first internship in D.C. as a research intern in the Hudson Institute. Last summer, she spent 10 weeks at Waseda University in Tokyo to do an internship as a beneficiary of the Freeman Foundation Grant. Now she is an exchange student in the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Her future career goal is to be an analyst in the international organization, such as the United Nations.

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

I just finished my internship at the Hudson Institute, where I was responsible for drafting analytical reports on global security issues as a research intern. Through this internship, I polished my research skills and learned the way that think tanks work. I’m now an exchange student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, which I believe is an excellent opportunity for me to get in touch with various international organizations based in Geneva. It should help me a lot in terms of my career path since getting into an international organization is the goal that I am working towards.

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

The courses I’ve taken at the Elliott school were all very exceptional. Among them, I would especially recommend Formal Briefing, which teaches students how to give speech in a convincing way. After the first presentation, students will receive both peer reviews and instructor’s comments for improvement. Then you will get a second chance to do the presentation again and you can feel your progress. I think this course is really useful because you can rarely receive any honest feedback about your presentation in your future work, so it’s really a good opportunity for you to find out the problems and improve them. Another course I’d like to recommend is Oil: Industry, Economy and Society. The course is mainly composed of case studies. It provides some very insightful perspectives about oil industry, which should be really informative to those who are interested in energy, especially oil.

What advice do you have for first year students to make the most of their experience at the Elliott School?

The Elliott school provides numerous opportunities for students to explore different academic interests or career paths while our time and energy is limited, so I would suggest the most important thing is to think clearly about what you want to achieve through your graduate program. If you want to pursue a higher degree, you may need to concentrate on your coursework and establish contacts with professors who are doing the research that you are interested in. If you want to work for a specific sector after graduation, you may want to attend career-related events and network with your potential employers. You may also take the advantage of Elliott School’s perfect location in central D.C. to do some internships to prepare for your future career. To conclude, as a graduate student, you need to get used to stepping out your comfort zone and trying new things so that you will be able to make the most of your experience.

What 3 items would you take to desert island, other than food or water?

  1. A funny and smart companion so that I won’t get bored on the island. Plus, with a smart person, the survival probability should be higher since we can build a safe shelter or hunt for food together.
  2. Diving equipment. It will be fun to explore the underwater world around the island. Because it’s a deserted island, I probably will be the first person who dives into that water.
  3. Satellite phone (prepaid and solar powered). I will need it to talk to my family and friends when I miss them and let them know I’m safe.

The #WeAreElliott series highlights current M.A. students at the Elliott School and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.

 

 

#WeAreElliott: Sergio Fontanez

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Sergio Fontanez graduated from Central Connecticut State University with bachelor’s degrees in History and Mathematics. After college, Sergio spent six years in the military, during which he spent one year deployed to Afghanistan helping create a self-sustaining Afghan Air Force. After separating from the Air Force, he decided to pursue a dual law (JD) and MA degree in International Affairs with a concentration in International Law and Organizations at George Washington University. He has been a Pathways Intern with the U.S. Department of State since 2016 and hopes to become a Foreign Service Office after graduating. In his free time, you can find him at a movie theater!

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

Currently, I am a Pathways Intern in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. Department of State.  It fits perfectly with my current career goal, becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

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

All of the courses I have taken have contributed to the overall skill of critical analysis.  Critical Analysis is one of the most useful skills you can have at the Department of State.  Courses at GW have taught me to read something and not only understand what they are saying, but what it means on a global stage.  Applying your knowledge on a macro scale is something that the Elliott School does a great job teaching in all their classes.

What advice do you have for first year students who are starting their internship/work experience search?

Be bold.  Talk to people.  Seek information.  A lot of Washington D.C. is talking to people and building relationships.  If you take the time to cultivate relationships, they will lead to great opportunities.  

Best hidden talent?

I am the best whistler you will ever meet.  I’m still looking for three people to fill my whistling quartet.

The #WeAreElliott series highlights current M.A. students at the Elliott School and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu

#WeAreElliott: Lizzette Marrero

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Lizzette Marrero graduated in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin with double bachelors in Government and International Relations and Global Studies. She is currently a second year Security Policy Studies student concentrating on transnational and cyber security and serves on the Graduate Admissions Advisory Board. Lizzette has worked at Search for Common Ground within Global Affairs and Partnerships, Department of Homeland Security Office for Community Partnerships, and currently works at Mercury Public Affairs LLC.

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

I had the opportunity to work on a short-term consulting contract from January to June at the Department of Homeland Security, Office for Community Partnerships. I served as a program analyst I focused on domestic Countering Violent Extremism efforts and project implementation for the FY2016 CVE grants program. Recently, I began working as a junior associate at Mercury Public Affairs, where I conduct research for clients and concentrate on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis. I hope to combine my public and private sector experiences in conflict and countering violent extremism to work in the digital space in the battle against ISIS and other terrorist groups. Whether through program and project assistance or by creating products that delegitimize violent extremist propaganda, I aspire to contribute to continuing efforts to deradicalize and rehabilitate potential violent extremists.

What strategies have proven most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School or D.C.?

The Elliott School and Washington D.C. in general carries so many opportunities to shape your career. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to take advantage of every opportunity to grow and learn, and attend as many events in the city as you can. I have had the opportunity to have one on one conversations with leaders in my field because I took advantage of communicating with the amazing staff at the Elliott School, and I took advantage of opportunities to learn from the plethora of think tank events around D.C.

What piece of advice/wisdom would you have given yourself when you started your program now that you’ve completed your first year?

I came into the Elliott school telling my professors and peers I wanted to be an intelligence analyst. However, I didn’t really know what national security issues intrigued me. I had a very microscopic view of what national security means. National security issues range from weapons of mass destruction to environmental topics, and if I could give “first year grad student me advice” it would have been to spend the summer examining the range of opportunities this graduate program has to offer.

If you could give 1 gift to the world, what would it be and why?

Hesed. It is a biblical term but it can take on a non-spiritual meaning as well. Hesed cannot even be directly translated because it essentially means a loving kindness that cannot be described. If I had the ability to give a non-human level of kindness to the world and everyone in it, I would.

The #WeAreElliott series highlights current M.A. students at the Elliott School and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu

 

#WeAreElliott: Sahil Jain

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Sahil Jain, a native of Northern California, began his time at the Department of State in the Office of Israeli-Palestinian Affairs. Subsequently, he joined USAID assisting with the launch of the Global Development Lab Bureau.  He then returned to the Department of State, where he is currently a Country Officer assisting on Hague Convention treaties. In 2018, Sahil—a current U.S. Department of State Charles B. Rangel Fellow and a 2018 master’s candidate at the Elliott School—will join the Foreign Service as a political officer.

When did you realize you wanted an international career and what inspired you to select your program or concentration at the Elliott School?

As a first generation Asian-American growing up in a diverse neighborhood in California, I was lucky enough to realize in my elementary school days that I enjoy cultures and international affairs (without explicitly knowing the term).  My first class in college happened to be Intro to International Affairs with Dr. D’Amico who introduced diplomacy to me, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to join the Foreign Service. Currently, my concentration is U.S. Foreign Policy.  I’ll be joining the U.S. Foreign Service next year, and to understand and contribute to this field in academia is a privilege and an honor.

What resources (online or offline) have proven to be the most valuable in helping you reach your career success?

Mentors! To have someone make an unorthodox investment in me is the only reason I’m still in D.C..  Through my mentors, not only did I gain knowledge, but personal support throughout the beginning of my career.

What piece of advice/wisdom would you have given yourself when you started your program now that you’ve completed your first year?

My favorite part about Elliott is the faculty. Dr. Burrows, for example, former Counselor to the National Intelligence Counselor and chief drafter of Global Trends 2030, was one of my professors.  He currently works a few blocks away at the Atlantic Council, and without the Elliott School, there would have been slim chances of me meeting him, let alone him giving feedback on my work.  I hope to keep relationships like this beyond my time at The Elliott School and would advise everyone else to take advantage of this diverse faculty.

If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

D.C. Resident Forgets his SmartTrip Card at Home–Again.

The #WeAreElliott series highlights current M.A. students at the Elliott School and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu

#WeAreElliott Wednesday Profiles

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School is back in session, our fall travel is in full swing, and students everywhere are preparing their graduate school application! And what better way to learn about why the Elliott School is the place to be than from current students!

Every Wednesday, we’ll post profiles provided by current Elliott School students about why they chose Elliott, living in DC, finding jobs and internships and more!

Have a question for a current Elliott School student? Send them to esiagrad@gwu.edu with “#WeAreElliott Questions” in the subject line or leave them here as a comment!

Catch ya on Wednesday!

2017 Incoming Class: Madison Nervig

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Meet Madison – Incoming International Affairs student concentrating in International Development and Conflict Resolution!

I graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in 2017 with a degree in International Studies and Spanish. I focused on Africa and the Middle East as well as obtaining a concentration in Conflict Resolution Studies. During my time at W&J I studied abroad in Pamplona, Spain for a semester and traveled to Germany and France while abroad. I studied traditional and modern political systems and societies while in Senegal and I studied federal funding in regards to public works in Puerto Rico. I look forward to continue my international travel during my time at the Elliott School and seeing more of the world.

This summer I plan on working as much as possible and saving money as well as traveling when I have the chance. In the past, I have completed different internships ranging from sales to a 501(c)3 charity intern!

In my free time I love to read, go on food adventures, cook, and talk about peace initiatives at social gatherings. I hope to work in the field of conflict resolution helping to resolve many modern and future conflicts, potentially at the UN, after receiving my degree from the Elliott School.

The 2017 Incoming Class Series highlights students starting a Master’s degree at the Elliott School in the Fall 2017 semester. The series will run from June through the beginning of the semester. For more information, contact esiagrad@gwu.edu.

2017 Incoming Class: Yint Hmu

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Meet Yint – Incoming Security Policy Studies student from Burma concentrating in Intelligence!

I was born in Yangon, Burma and grew up there until I moved to New York a few months short of my fourteenth birthday. Before I moved to New York, I was a competitive sailor for a few years. I represented Burma on numerous occasions and competed in international regattas. My childhood sports career peaked in 2009 when I ranked number one in Burma and was made the National Team Captain.
I recently graduated from Fordham University with double-majors in Political Science and Classics. During my time at Fordham, I served on the executive board of the undergraduate United Student Government for two years and got a first hand experience in dealing with bureaucracy, something that I will never forget.
I’m in the Security Policy Studies program with a concentration in Intelligence, though I have yet to decide on a second concentration.
I love every aspect about food. A lasting influence of growing up with grandma. I actually chaired a Student Government committee on improving the dining services on campus for two years. If I’m not out seeking new restaurants, you’ll find me in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes.
Looking forward to meeting all of you. Come say hi and don’t be a stranger!
The 2017 Incoming Class Series highlights students starting a Master’s degree at the Elliott School in the Fall 2017 semester. The series will run from June through the beginning of the semester. For more information, contact esiagrad@gwu.edu.

International Affairs Review (IAR) CALL FOR STAFF

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Looking to get more involved at the Elliott School, build your resume, and work with a great staff? Well you’re in luck! The International Affairs Review is still accepting applications for editors for the 2017-2018 academic year. Come be a part of the Elliott School’s prestigious academic journal and contribute to the biannual publications. Please visit http://www.iar-gwu.org for a detailed description of open positions and submit your resume, cover letter, and a brief writing sample to iar@gwu.edu.