#IncomingElliott: Judy Ly

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Judy Ly is from Las Vegas, Nevada and does not live in a casino! She lives away from the Strip and much closer to Red Rock (both the casino and the Canyon). She recently graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor’s in history, with concentrations in European and American history (ask her about her Brexit honors thesis!) She also interned at the Boys and Girls Club for four years, in addition to tutoring students through the America Reads-Counts Program. In her spare time, she loves to travel, read, jam out to songs (horribly!), taking siestas, and trying out new places to eat! If you see her on campus, don’t hesitate to say hi- she’s always down for good conversations! She will be starting her Master’s in International Affairs at the Elliott School in the fall.

What’s on your bucket list when you get to DC?

Everything! I have never been to DC and I am very excited to play tourist once I arrive in August. However, I do have some required favorites since I majored in history as an undergraduate. The Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial (this one is the most personal), the National Mall, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress are the must-sees on my bucket list. Once I settle down and become more acquainted with the city, I will explore other less-known and equally momentous historical sites such as FDR Memorial and Washington National Cathedral!

Is there anything about moving to DC/starting grad school that you’re nervous about?

So far I have lived in three different countries (Vietnam, US, Spain) and I have always experienced a level of nervous excitement about each one. I was particularly scared for Spain because I had no knowledge of Spanish prior to my semester abroad (pero después Madrid, yo puedo hablar muy bien. Jajaja.) I was nervous to live in the US too, especially when I arrived here ten years ago from Vietnam. With DC, I am particularly excited and anxious because this will be the first American city I am moving to without my family at my side. Despite my nerves, I look forward to growing as an individual, embracing “adulting” in this new chapter of my life, and meeting my wonderfully diverse and talented cohort at the Elliott School. 

What are you looking forward to about starting your MA program?

I have researched about the MAIA program at the Elliott School carefully and couldn’t have been happier when I found out about my acceptance. I’m particularly thrilled to learn more about the IA/IR field. Given how conflicts around the world have become abundant in the recent years. I especially cannot wait to learn more about conflict resolutions as part of my thematic specialization. Thus, I look forward to meeting the world-class professors, interacting with the staff and other faculty, and of course, having meaningful discussions with my fellow classmates and making friends out of strangers!

How do you feel about pineapple on pizza?

Pineapple belongs on pizza. No explanation needed.

The #IncomingElliott series highlights the Elliott School’s incoming graduate class for Fall 2018 and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.

#ElliottProud: Morgan Frost

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Morgan Frost graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the Elliott School in May 2017, and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University. While at the Elliott School, Morgan had a concentration in Conflict Resolution, with a particular focus on human rights, peacebuilding, and stabilization. She also wrote her Master’s thesis on Palestinian refugees from Syria residing in Jordan and traveled to Amman to conduct research. She is currently working at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington, D.C., where she works on cross-regional projects involving the digital economy, internet freedom, women’s economic empowerment, and international development in conflict-affected areas. Prior to joining CIPE, she was a Program Assistant at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) focusing on internet freedom, human rights, and technology in international development. She also taught English in Thailand and assisted with disaster relief in Nepal following the earthquake in 2015. Morgan is a dual citizen of the United States and United Kingdom.

Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?

I am an Assistant Program Officer at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), a nonprofit organization working to strengthen democracy around the globe by strengthening the voice of the local private sector. At CIPE, I am part of the Global Programs team, working on cross-cutting themes that impact every region in the world, such as internet freedom, women’s economic empowerment, and technology. With CIPE, I’ve had the chance to travel to several countries to lead workshops on advocacy strategies and technology best practices for entrepreneurs. I am also a member of the Conflict Task Force, an internal working group that provides technical assistance and strategic planning for programs in conflict-affected zones.

What professional organization, websites, or Elliott School courses, would you recommend for students interested in your field, and why?

The Elliott School has a lot of really great courses that help you grow as a young professional in the field, but I highly recommend Reinventing the United Nations by Professor Moose. This class really challenged me to think critically of multilateral interventions and improved my skills in providing sound recommendations on ways international organizations can improve to deploy smarter and more peaceful interventions.

What part of your career do you find most challenging and how do you stay motivated?

I think one of the most challenging obstacles is overcoming legal and cultural barriers when implementing advocacy programs around the globe. National laws and cultural barriers do not always align with fundamental human rights such as inclusion and freedom of expression. What motivates me is seeing the potential that civil society and the local private sector have to challenge the status quo. Although it is hard to achieve, I’ve helped contribute to advocacy efforts that have led to national implemented policies, as a result of these groups working together to unleash their full potential.

If someone wrote a book about you 10 years from now, what would it be called?

I think it would be something along the lines of “The Never-ending Nomad”. Close friends and family know that I have a serious case of wanderlust. I am always looking forward to the next adventure.

The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu

#ElliottProud: Nadezhda Mouzykina

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Nadezhda Mouzykina is a Senior Program Manager with the National Democratic Institute‘s Central and Eastern Europe team. She holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and a B.A. in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University. A native Russian speaker from St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Mouzyking also minored in German during her undergraduate studies, spending a semester at the Freie University in Berlin, Germany. Since 2009, she has managed in-country and regional programming focused on parliamentary strengthening, political party and civil society development, and minority rights, particularly the Roma minority. Prior to joining NDI, Ms. Mouzykina managed international exchange and technical assistance programs in the International Affairs Department of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She also spent a year in Moscow as part of the Alfa Fellowship Program, during which she worked as a Development and Project Advisor at PH International, a global nonprofit organization that promotes cultural exchanges and people-to-people diplomacy. 

Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?

I am a Sr. Program Manager for programs in Central and Eastern Europe at the National Democratic Institute. My responsibilities are varied. Briefly, I manage the overall strategy, vision and implementation of various democracy development programs, spanning multiple countries in Central Europe and the Western Balkans; develop grant proposals to secure funding; draft reports, memoranda, blogs, and work plans; liaise with a variety of donors and partners in Washington, D.C. and overseas; travel to the region; brief political, civic and business leaders, donor organizations and international community members about NDI activities; and represent NDI, as needed.

What was your experience with the job search post-graduation? Can you provide any wisdom for students who will start their job search?

When I graduated from the MA program, I was interning with an organization that offered me to stay. However, I did explore other opportunities, though eventually decided to remain where I was. I worked for that organization for six years. I strongly advise students to take every opportunity to network while they are in school, find internship opportunities that could lead to eventual job prospects, request informational interviews at organizations they are interested in, and be willing to be a little flexible with the positions they take, especially if you have limited professional experience. From my own perspective, both as an employee and an employer, it is not uncommon to have expectations that, once you get hired, you immediately do grand things. And perhaps, in some smaller organizations and companies, you may. But in general, you have to work from the bottom up and take on greater opportunities as you grow. It’s part of the learning process.

What do you wish other people knew about your organization?

We are not an arm of the U.S. Government, nor are we a cover for CIA activity.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

I would be a cat – independent, smart, and self-reliant, yet soft and cuddly on the outside.

The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu

#IncomingElliott: Tristan H. Williamson

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Tristan H. Williamson is an incoming student to the M.A. in International Affairs program with concentrations in International Law and Organizations and U.S. Foreign Policy from Clarksville, Virginia. He received his BA in International Affairs from James Madison University specializing in Europe with minors in Modern European Studies and Business German. During his undergraduate studies, he was a Founding Father and former Vice President of Chi Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, the Foreign Service Fraternity, and was a participant in the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Model European Union in Washington, DC. Most recently, he served as a virtual intern with Department of State as a member of the 2017-2018 Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS). As part of this internship, he worked remotely with American diplomats at U.S. Consulate General in Durban, South Africa where he researched and wrote material for the U.S. Mission in South Africa on political and economic developments in South Africa’s second largest province, KwaZulu-Natal. He speaks German, English, and has a basic knowledge of Afrikaans.

What made you interested in your MA program of choice? 

With the Elliott School’s well-regarded reputation as being one of the most prestigious schools of foreign affairs, the MAIA program appealed to me because it combines academic theory with practical experience taught by notable foreign affairs professionals. Additionally, part of the reason why I chose to attend the Elliott School is the emphasis placed on professional development.

What skills do you hope to pick up/develop at the Elliott School?

I hope to further my understanding of contemporary problems in international affairs as well the skills necessary to solve these complex problems from multiple perspectives. My hope is to utilize the professional skills courses offered by the Elliott School so that I may become a well-rounded foreign affairs professional and join the US Foreign Service.

What’s on your summer bucket list before coming to the Elliott School?

During the summer my plan is to familiarize myself with the Washington, D.C. area, find an internship/part-time job for the fall, and of course, find an apartment.

If you could recommend one city outside of the US that people should visit, which city would you recommend and why?

Cape Town, South Africa. As an undergrad, I interned for an NGO in Cape Town and absolutely loved the city. Hands down one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city offers a nice mix of African and European flair and it’s very culturally diverse. It is surrounded by natural beauty such as Table Mountain, Lion Head, and offers great beaches! (Much like the people, the beaches in and around Cape Town are very diverse because it is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean).  

The #IncomingElliott series highlights the Elliott School’s incoming graduate class for Fall 2018 and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.

#ElliottProud: Shambhavi Thakur

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Shambhavi Thakur graduated from the Elliott School of International Affairs in May 2017 with a Master’s degree in International Affairs concentrating in International Development. At GW, she was the Elliott School representative at the Office of Students Rights & Responsibilities and the Treasurer for GW Desis. She also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for 2016-17. Originally from New Delhi, India, Shambhavi received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Delhi, and her MA in International Relations from the University of Nottingham. She is currently the Revenue and Development Manager at Sister Cities International. She has previously worked with CARE India, School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, and Teach for India.

Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?

I am currently the Revenue and Development Manager at Sister Cities International, primarily responsible for handling all revenue operations and work with the development team to process and track contributions and acknowledgment processes. I assist the Director of Finance and Director of Development with overall management. I am also the lead recruiter and manager for finance and development interns at SCI.

What part of your experience at the Elliott School best prepared you for your current position? (Specific classes, student orgs, career development office, etc.)

The GSCD [now GSS] helped me to secure a development internship at Sister Cities International after my first year. Upon graduating from Elliott, I was offered a full-time role here, which I gladly accepted.

Being an international student, the Writing Center at GW helped me a lot to get acclimated to courses’ expectations. Classes like NGO Management, Managing Developing Countries, and Writing for International Affairs professionals were extremely helpful – I find myself applying lessons from these classes regularly at work.

How does what you’re doing now compare to what you thought you would be doing when you first started your program at the Elliott School?

I came to Elliott to pursue a second master’s degree in International Affairs, with a concentration in International Development. I have always wanted to be in development – the internships I have completed, my previous job role at CARE India and current role at SCI fall in line with the stepping stones I need at this early stage in my career.

If you would be any type of food/drink, what food/drink would you be?

I am a lot of things, with extra fries on the side.
But first, coffee!

The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu

#ElliottProud: Nicole Catá

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Nicole Catá is a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and her M.A. from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 2015. She recently served as an attorney advisor and judicial law clerk at the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the U.S. Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. While at GW Law and the Elliott School, she worked as a law clerk at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, served as a research assistant for Judge Thomas Buergenthal and interned at the Center for Reproductive Rights, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In 2011, she graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Nicole is a member of the New York State Bar.

Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?

As a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, I assist federal appellate judges with various civil and criminal issues in immigration cases, substantive motions (both pro se and counseled), and pro se appeals. I review case records and filings, research legal issues, draft bench memoranda and proposed opinions and orders, and provide judges with objective legal advice about the appropriate outcomes. In a nutshell, I read, research, and write about the law governing the results of a given case, and I ensure that the judges are on the same page.

What was your experience with the job search post-graduation? Can you provide any wisdom for students who will start their job search?

Try to develop relationships with mentors at different stages in their careers. Befriend someone who has your dream job as well as someone a few years ahead of you in your career trajectory so you can readily follow in their footsteps, or at least get a lay of the land in your chosen field.

What do you wish other people knew about your organization?

The federal judiciary is a critical component of American democracy. Its purpose is the fair, impartial, and effective administration of justice. You can learn more about the federal judiciary and the Second Circuit at Justice for All!

If you were a box of cereal, what kind would you be and why?

Lucky Charms. Need I say more?

The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.

#ElliottProud: Krisztina Fabo

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Krisztina Fabo received a joint double-honors degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Eurasian studies at the University of Manchester, in England. Krisztina then completed her Master of Arts degree in International Affairs in 2016, with a concentration in conflict resolution, at the Elliott School of International Affairs. During Krisztina’s studies at the Elliott School, she pursued several internships at local NGOs and international organizations including six months at the Partnership for a Secure America, and one year at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Krisztina was Teaching Assistant for three semesters, first teaching a forensic science course and then a business course for GW undergraduates. Krisztina has also completed a fellowship program with the United Nations Associations and got involved in smaller development projects on a volunteer basis.

Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?

As staff assistant at the IMF, I work with renowned economists from around the world. This comes with invaluable benefits of gaining first-hand experience and learning something new every day. Nevertheless, joggling with multiple tasks, prioritizing among competing requests, and meeting short deadlines are very much part of a usual day. Besides completing a wide range of administrative tasks, such as updating files and scheduling meetings, I’m responsible for all aspects of country work related to Malawi and Zambia. Country matters include preparing policy notes, briefing memos, staff reports, updating press releases and country brief, liaising with field teams, and arranging missions.

What part of your experience at the Elliott School best prepared you for your current position? (Specific classes, student orgs, career development office, etc.)

Interacting with the diverse student body and participating in dynamic discussions inside and outside of the classroom gave me a solid foundation to be able to do an outstanding job. I really enjoyed my classes and all -without exception- contributed to my success. I would like to highlight Ambassador James Jeffrey’s “US Foreign Policy towards the Middle East” class. It’s a unique class where I students do tasks that are part of my job today. I remember I had to brief my classmates, think critically and practically about real policies, write memos, policy papers, and even did a NSC simulation!

How does what you’re doing now compare to what you thought you would be doing when you first started your program at the Elliott School?

I chose to study at the Elliott School because I want to design policies to fight poverty in the least developed countries. Looking back at the beginning of my studies I really didn’t have a grasp of what it takes -practically- to accomplish my goals.  I gained insight to the work through my courses and by doing internships. I learnt that the job starts in an office rather than going straight to the field (I thought I will be going for missions immediately). My work at the IMF is in line with what I imagined I would be doing but I also realize that it is only the beginning of a long journey.

How do you feel about pineapple on pizza?

Love it! I love mixing things up and trying everything out of ordinary. My motto is to always keep an open mind!

The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.