#WeAreElliott: Sebastián E. Reyes

Sebastián in the World Affairs Conference. Sebastián Reyes, M.A. in International Development Studies, 2023, #WeAreElliott

Sebastián Eduardo Reyes is the Operations Lead for the Elliott School’s Student Services Division. He also oversees the logistics and planning for the Leadership, Ethics, And Practice (LEAP) Initiative and the Elliott School Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). Sebastián is also the Coordinator for the U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program (USFPSP) and the Japan-US Leadership Program (JUSLP). In his role, Sebastián oversees events management, financial operations, marketing and communication processes, program development, and academic affairs. Sebastián is an Elliott School alum; he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in International Affairs and Economics with honors. Sebastián is a graduate student in the M.A. in International Development Studies Program. He plans to continue his education and earn a Ph.D. in Political Science.

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?

I have been part of the Elliott School since 2018. It has always been my safe space. I have grown, learned, and found myself more times than I could count, thanks to this institution’s structure, faculty, and staff. When it was time to decide the next steps of my academic journey, the Elliott School was the perfect match for me.

Where do you currently work, intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?

I work for the Elliott School as the Assistant Director of Operations. Interestingly, this job matches my career aspirations as I aim to become a Professor and dedicate my life to higher education and academia. Education has always been the great equalizer for me, and helping future generations to find their purpose and journeys in and outside the classroom is the perfect way to give back and do for others what so many did for me.

What tools or strategies have proved most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School?

Be organized and ask questions. Approaching faculty members, peers, and students that were ahead of me in the program always gave me insight into the information I needed to accomplish my goals and get what I needed and wanted from my program.

How has involvement in student organizations shaped your experience at the Elliott School?

As the Managing Editor of the International Affairs Review, I have enhanced my writing, editorial, and analytical skills as my role requires me to think critically and fact-check all the student pieces that come across my desk. Being a part of this publication and being a published author myself has allowed me to deepen my understanding of the steps and processes that come before the publication of a research piece.

What advice do you have for students to stay motivated at work or in class?

Have a North Star. It doesn’t matter where, but as long as it is yours, that will give you the motivation to move forward, pursue the next milestone, and achieve your goals. The other piece of advice is to give yourself a break. It’s ok to breathe and take an evening for yourself; it’s ok to have that greasy food that you love; it’s ok if you were the best student in one class or if you got an A+ on an assignment. It is ok to need a break. Grad school can be a lonely and stressful journey, so give yourself some grace and the pampering you need to move forward without burning out.

What has been your most memorable experience while studying at the Elliott School?

One time I witnessed one of the most heated debates I have ever seen in a classroom. Everyone got involved, and the Professor took it as an opportunity to make a teachable moment about the discourse in America and how we should be better when discussing our ideas and expressing our thoughts. 

What is one book you think everyone should read and why?

Les Misèrables by Víctor Hugo.


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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 esiagrad@gwu.edu.

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.