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!