Brian Iraheta is a second-year Masters candidate in the Security Policy Studies program at the Elliott School, concentrating in U.S. National Security. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder in Winter 2019. Particularly, he is interested in the Intelligence Community and Foreign Policy affecting the security interests of the United States. Brian is currently working as a contractor for the Joint Staff as an Information Management Analyst, facilitating management of records for the DoD. In his free time Brian enjoys binging the latest shows on Netflix, discussing current events, traveling, and providing for his two cats and dog with his now GW alum fiancé.
What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you pick the Elliott School?
I knew I always wanted my future career to take me to Washington. Growing up in Colorado, while I love the mountains, I wanted my career to focus on Foreign Policy/Security, and I could only do so much over there. I chose the Elliott School not only because it was well-known for its amazing program in Washington D.C., but also because many of the professors are actual practitioners in their field. These are professionals with full time jobs teaching the next generation of leaders, and it truly is an honor to learn under them.
What has been your favorite course at the Elliott School so far and why?
My favorite course so far has been Russian international security! Professor Skaggs and Professor Purcell taught the class together and they were an amazing duo. Not only did the class have very engaging discussions considering the war in Ukraine, but they also brought in amazing speakers every so often including a Ukrainian general. It was a pleasure to take their class and I recommend it entirely for anyone on the fence, whether you have a minor or large interest in Russian foreign policy.
Where do you currently work and how does it fit in with your career goals?
I currently am working as an Information Management Analyst contracting with the Department of Defense under Joint Staff. While working with Joint Staff is fun, I hope to use it to help me in my future to get me into the Intelligence field, or maybe somewhere in the DoD, they are both great agencies to work for.
Think of where you were when you applied to the Elliott School. What advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now, as a student?
Looking back when I applied, I would say my biggest piece of advice would be to be honest in your statement of purpose. Not everyone knows where they are going, or what they want to do, and that is ok. When writing your statement, be honest and think about how the program you are applying to will help your future career! The Elliott School provides students with so many policy practitioners that you will find someone who might one day help you find the spark you are looking for!
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at the Elliott School?
The most valuable thing I have learned at the Elliott School is that you get what you put in. It is easy to just go to class, earn the grades, and graduate but if you go above and beyond and make those connections or informally talk to your professors about their careers you will get so much out of these two years.
What is your favorite region that you’ve visited and why?
I think my favorite region still has to be the Rocky Mountain Region. Only in Colorado can you be only 20 minutes away from a sea of mountains, it will always be my home.
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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.