2017 Incoming Class: Ashton Bitton


Meet Ashton – First year MA in International Development Studies!

While I wish I could focus my studies on all areas of specialization, I plan to concentrate on Economic Development and Social Enterprise/Private Sector Development.

I graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in English Literature in 2015 with foci in graphic novels and movie analysis. Completely different from development, I know. I went to Rwanda for a service-learning project the summer before I graduated and it changed my entire trajectory.

After I graduated, I traveled around Western Europe and then taught English in China. I have worked remotely doing HR, marketing, and coordination for a translation/localization recruiting company based out of Portland for the last 4 ½ years now. I have always had an interest in learning languages but eventually limited myself to just bettering my Spanish (I often slip up and try my hand at Turkish on Duolingo).

The most exciting thing I’m doing this summer is moving all the way across the country from California to DC! I know absolutely no one in the area so I’m really looking forward to meeting you all.

In my free time I love to go running. I also like hoppy beer, Korean food, nice-smelling candles, and enjoying those three things while finding a movie to critique or TV show to binge on Netflix or Hulu. My favorite podcast is Chapo Trap House and my favorite part of SNL is Weekend Update.

With my degree I hope to work in bottom-up development wherever the help is needed by the time I graduate. I am incredibly excited to study at the Elliott School and take advantage of all the opportunities it has to offer!

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.