2017 Incoming Class: Steven Haines


Meet Steven – Incoming Asian Studies student concentrating in East Asia and International Security Policy.

My passion for China began my junior year at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). I was sitting in a history and culture of East Asia course when I was hit by a strong notion to study Mandarin. I walked out of class, made a beeline to UNR’s study abroad office, and applied for a two-year program in Chengdu, China. That summer, I moved to Taipei, Taiwan for an intensive Mandarin course and never looked back.

I spent the next seven years studying Mandarin and Sichuanese, living with my Chinese host family, and working in the global oil and gas industry.  After living in Chengdu and Singapore, I re-located to Houston, TX.  It wasn’t long before I was chomping at the bit to get back to Asia. When an opportunity presented itself to join a tech start-up and relocate back to Singapore, I decided to leave the oil and gas industry. Sadly, the company did what most start-ups do—it failed. This unexpected turn of events caused me to deeply consider what I wanted to do next. So, I decided to move to Washington DC to follow my passion for facilitating US-China relations.

I will be spending the summer working for a Beijing-based speakers’ bureau founded by two former White House officials, exercising (yes, I will need a workout partner when school starts), taking a summer skills course, spending time with my beautiful wife, exploring Virginia’s craft beer scene, catching a blockbuster or two, and binging on House of Cards Season 4.  I am excited for this fall and looking forward to meeting everyone.

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.