Max Schriner is a first-year student in the Latin American & Hemispheric Studies program. He grew up in a small town in Northwest New Jersey and raised on ski slopes at Hidden Valley and Mountain Creek resorts. He was a state champion ski racer in slalom and giant slalom, and also received varsity letters in football and baseball. When he started at GW in 2013, I had a lot to learn about the world beyond sports. He earned the opportunity to work for a State Department contractor as a Summer Program Assistant in 2014-5, which segued into a chance to intern in the Consular Section of U.S. Embassy Panama in 2016. He is currently working as a Program Assistant at the Foreign Service Institute.
When did you realize you wanted an international career and what inspired you to select your program/concentration at the Elliott School?
My freshman year of high school. My world history teacher showed a video of Jay-Z’s Water For Life campaign. I won runner-up top delegate at my school’s Model UN conference, and the following summer I enrolled in a volunteer program in Costa Rica with a group called Global Works.
I also went to GW for undergrad and received a B.A in Political Science and Spanish. I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain which drastically improved my Spanish and allowed me to immerse myself in madrileña culture with my host family. On the weekends I visited the Canary Islands (Gran Canaria for Carnaval), Portugal (for the wine and pasteis de belem), France (for the crepes), Italy (for the Uffizi and Statue of David), Iceland, and Scotland.
What has been your most rewarding academic experience (i.e., in-class, with an institute/office, at an Elliott sponsored on/off-campus event) at the Elliott School?
My short answer is the faculty. Last semester I took a class called Immigration in Weak States: The Case of Central America with the Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council, Jason Marczak, and I am currently taking a class called Security in the Americas with the Founder of the Women’s Foreign Policy Network, Jenna Ben-Yehuda. Courses are also available across disciplines, such as Professor Cynthia McClintock’s International Relations of Latin America, which doubles as a Political Science course.
What advice do you have for prospective students who are on the fence about applying to a graduate program at the Elliott school?
I am twenty-two. The prospect of graduate school is intimidating at any age, but with the right program and amazing faculty, anything is possible! The Elliott School provides access to industry pioneers. Director Paula Alonso has tailored the Latin American & Hemispheric Studies program to address a wide breadth of issues. The program deals with problems that are centered around culture, society, politics, and economics. One of my colleagues is also pursuing a Global Health certificate on the side.
If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
GW LAHS M.A student explores crowdsourcing in Central America to impede the irrational use of violence.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.