Each year the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Gaither Junior Fellowship offers 8-10 full-time, paid, one-year fellowships to uniquely qualified graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year. Applicants must be nominated by their universities to compete for this national program, and UW is able to nominate two students or recent alums each year. Junior Fellows provide research assistance to Associates working on the Carnegie Endowment’s projects and have the opportunity to conduct research for books, co-author journal articles and policy papers, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists and government officials.
2020 – 2021 UW Nominees:
Maha Alhomoud, 2021 Gaither Junior Fellow
Senior, Political Science major
Congratulations Maha! Read the UAA news story announcing Maha’s selection as a Gaither Junior Fellow.
My name is Maha Alhomoud, an undergraduate senior in Political Science, and specifically, Political Economy. I’m an international student from Saudi Arabia, which greatly influenced the direction and focus of my studies and research. I’ve always been interested in examining the contextual factors; economic, social, political, geographic, that create unique political systems in different countries, especially in the Middle Eastern Context. I’m specifically interested in studying resource reliance, authoritarianism, and state-society relations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, as they relate to political economy and comparative studies. I’m currently working on my Political Science Honors thesis, supervised by Professor Whiting, concerning the historical evolution of extractive and distributive institutions in Saudi Arabia, specifically as they pertain to taxation and how the introduction of extractive policies impacts state-society relations. As the country is undergoing rapid change per its economic diversification roadmap, VISION2030, employing a process-tracing methodology has helped me solidify my understanding of the intersection between politics and economics.
Previously, I was an undergraduate fellow for the Center for American Politics and Public Policy (CAPPP), where I worked on a project of my own design concerning corruption, foreign direct investment, and economic diversification in a panel study of 17 major oil exporters over time. I am also currently an undergraduate research assistant in the Political Science Department to Kenya Amano, PhC, working on a project concerning central bank independence. Outside of the department, since my freshman year, I’ve sought to advocate for and increase international student representation at the university level. This year, as a Mary Gates Leadership Scholar, I am leading an effort to establish the first ASUW office dedicated to international student advocacy. I am also a mentor for the International Student Mentorship Program (ISMP) at UW. Joining the Carnegie Endowment would allow me to work in an environment with leading scholars and experts in the field who will provide me with constructive feedback and methodological approaches to capture the diversity of the region more authentically.
Maha’s near-term and long-term goals: In the next few years, and especially as venues for Saudi women in the political sphere are increasing, I hope to learn and gain more knowledge about the conduct of foreign affairs at the government level in Saudi Arabia and the GCC. During this time, I also hope to explore and rely more on local archives and works produced in the region and by regional scholars for independent research projects. Long term, I hope to eventually pursue a dual-graduate degree in law and political science, and attain a membership in the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia.
Maha’s tips for future applicants: I would recommend future applicants to dedicate some time to finding one or several scholarships and opportunities that align with their interests early on, and plan a few months ahead to work on applications as early as possible. I found the Carnegie Junior Fellowship back in the Summer from my own search on the OMSFA website, and was glad I started as soon as the application was uploaded for the current cycle. I was able to choose and contact mentors early on, securing strong letters of recommendation, and allowing myself ample time to revise my materials several times. The support I received from OMFSA was incredible, and I’m so grateful! I would highly encourage students to reach out for help.
Senior, International Studies major
Arwa Mokdad is a senior studying International Studies. She is completing both interdisciplinary and departmental honors. Her studies have focused on human rights in the Middle East. As a child of Arab immigrants, she is passionate about peace efforts and activism in the region. She has spent time in Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Lebanon, Yemen, Oman, U.A.E, and Jordan. Growing up between the U.S. and Middle East solidified her global perspective on regional challenges.
While at UW, Arwa was able to study abroad in Nizwa, Beirut, and Rome. These experiences furthered her interest in international cooperation and cross-cultural exchanges. While studying advanced Arabic at the American University of Beirut, Arwa volunteered as an English teacher for Syrian refugees. She has continued this work and now tutors conflict impacted individuals in the Middle East.
Currently, Arwa is writing her honors thesis on diaspora narratives of the Lebanese Civil War. She is also working on a cultural webinar series “Beyond the War” that aims to build international solidarity with Yemeni communities. Arwa volunteers with Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation as a Peace Advocate. Through this work, she supports aid programs in Yemen while participating in anti-war campaigns in the U.S.
Her time as a research assistant at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies inspired her to pursue a career in foreign policy. As a Junior Fellow, Arwa hopes to build on her past advocacy and research experience to promote diplomacy and international cooperation. Following the fellowship, Arwa hopes to pursue a PhD in Middle East studies. In the future, she hopes to work on progressive Middle East policy that centers the voices of people throughout the region.
Arwa’s near-term and long-term goals: Following her gap year, Arwa plans on pursuing a PhD in Middle East studies. In the future, she hopes to work in the foreign policy realm and advocate for marginalized communities in the Middle East.
Arwa’s tips for future applicants: Reach out to your mentors early! They are a great resource, especially for essays and personal statements. Give those supporting you ample time to review your materials and give yourself ample time to revise them.
Senior, International Studies major
Through the Jackson School, I have learned how intersectional different policy issues are, and that policymakers cannot do impactful work without research that is informed by diverse perspectives. Sometimes, I have found that my research in the nuclear area and cybersecurity can be hard to connect to a person’s life, since they are so entangled in international dialogue. However, the reason why they are such major issues is that they touch most, if not all, people that live in this world. Research that informs policy has to be shaped by this understanding, drawing on different experiences and circumstances to paint a representative picture of the issue. These understandings have helped direct my own work and drew me to the Gaither Junior Fellows Program, because the Carnegie Endowment produces work that is informed by a wide range of topics and people.
Under Dr. Jessica Beyer, I have worked as a researcher for Microsoft through a Jackson School Global Research Group on AI. I also presented my research on water, climate change, and nuclear energy at the 61st Institute for Nuclear Materials Management (INMM) annual conference. I participated in a Task Force on European Defense as a co-researcher and co-editor. Currently, I am a cybersecurity researcher for Dr. Beyer, as well as the president of the UW chapter of INMM. Finally, I have brought my research interests together through research with Professor Montgomery on how AI and autonomy are affecting nuclear deterrence.
Claire’s near-term and long-term goals: At the Endowment, I would like to continue learning from more perspectives and take that knowledge into a career that helps policymakers make informed and meaningful decisions. After graduation, I would like to travel, study, and teach abroad before earning a masters in nonproliferation or security studies.
Claire’s tips for future applicants: Brainstorm your thought piece ideas with your mentor early on, and leave yourself ample time to flesh out your topic. Also keep up with current events related to your topic, as things may change quickly even as you are writing.
History of UW Undergraduate Carnegie Endowment Nominees, Finalists, and Fellows
2019 - 2020
Senior, International Studies major
I am currently a Boren Scholar for the 2019-2020 cycle and as such I am studying Russian Language and Eastern European Studies in Daugavpils, Latvia for the academic year. My time as an undergraduate student at the University of Washington has been shaped by my interest in Eurasian studies, specifically Russia and its reemergence as an influential global power. With my mentor Dr. Jessica Beyer, I worked on two projects for Microsoft with a team of other undergraduates and, as a Mary Gates Scholar, I conducted independent research on disinformation. In addition to research, my interests led me to study Russian language and to attain proficiency in Russian through course work at the University of Washington, a summer in Moscow as a FLAS Scholar, and my current experience in Latvia as a Boren Scholar. As a Junior Fellow, I will use the knowledge and skills I have acquired through my various research projects to contribute to the Russian/Eurasian position. Upon completion of my year at the Carnegie Endowment, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Eurasian Area Studies with a focus on disinformation in post-Soviet countries. After a Ph.D., I want to become an FSO to use my strong command of the Russian language, my culturally immersive experiences in post-Soviet countries, and my deep knowledge of Eurasian studies to implement realistic policy that incorporates not only economic concerns but also historical, cultural, and religious factors.
Conor’s tips for future applicants:
Get your mentor involved early and give them ample time to help you revise your essays. Ideally, you should have both you mentor and another professor that you are close to look over your thought-piece essay. One of these professors should be a specialist in the region/field so that they can give you feedback on your proposals as a whole.
Senior, Public Health and International Studies majors
I am applying to the Gaither Junior Fellows program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace because through various public health and international studies classes in my time at the UW, I have become increasingly interested in the field of peace work and human rights advocacy. I think these two fields help me to understand how policy impacts people. To me, international studies is a study of what policies exist and how we can change them to help people. On the other hand, public health is a study of the outcomes of those policies on people. Each political and diplomatic decision made in a White House briefing room has the potential to shorten people’s lives, affect trauma, and have intergenerational effects on health. I’m also interested in journalism, especially investigative journalism, which can be used to hold institutions and governments accountable for harm and injustice.
I have worked as a research assistant for Professor Tony Lucero, helping him examine politics and dynamics along the southern border. I was the first investigations editor at The Daily, where I uncovered misconduct in the UW community and helped writers pursue their own investigations. Now, I work for Professor Angelina Godoy at the UW Center for Human Rights helping her with public records information and am a part of the Task Force on terrorism prevention in the Jackson School. I hope to use this and my experience at the Carnegie Endowment to advocate for the use of responsible diplomacy to achieve peace around the world later in my career. After graduation, I want to work in academic research, travel, and sometime in the next few years, return to school for a master’s in journalism and a law degree.
2018 - 2019
Senior, International Studies, Political Science, and History major
Zhiqin Gao is a senior with majors in international studies (foreign policy and diplomacy), history, and honors in political science. Zhiqin became interested in the study of international relations since his first class with Professor Jon Mercer. To deepen his understanding of world politics and broaden his intellectual awareness of diversity and constraints in social science and foreign policy, Zhiqin has been consistently doing interdisciplinary coursework and has challenged himself with night graduate seminars. As a research assistant at Asia Policy Point in the summer of 2017, Zhiqin sharpened his skills by conducting research on American foreign policy and U.S.-Asia relations. As a honors student in political science, Zhiqin defended his undergraduate thesis on the dynamics of pride and prejudice in U.S.-China relations. As a Mary Gates Scholar, Zhiqin is actively promoting people-to-people diplomacy between the U.S. and China by founding the Committee on China-U.S. Dialogue on campus.
Zhiqin is also a Cybersecurity Policy Fellow at the UW Jackson School of International Studies and a Global Leaders Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research. After graduation, Zhiqin plans to work at a think tank for one year, gains hands-on experience of international affairs, and cultivates realistic tactics of diplomacy before entering a Ph.D. program in Political Science.
Senior, International Studies and Russian Language & Literature major
Elizabeth Mayer is a senior in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, specializing in Eastern European and Central Asian studies, while also majoring in Russian Language and minoring in Arctic studies. She is currently working on her honors thesis for the Jackson School, examining the impact of Russian bot and troll tweets on American political discourse online. Her previous work includes contributions to the UNFPA’s handbook “Young Persons with Disabilities: Global Study on Ending Gender-Based Violence and Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” (2018). She was a recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies Award in Russian for summer 2016, and academic years 2016-17, 2017-18. After graduation in June, Mayer hopes to work in Washington D.C. for a few years before returning back to school for her Masters in Public Administration and Doctorate in International Studies, working towards her goal of becoming a policy maker.
Elizabeth’s tips for future applicants:
Reach out and ask for help from your professors and the staff at the career center early on. They will be more than happy to help, and will prove to be an incredible resource as you polish your application.
2017 - 2018
Henry Milander, Nominee
Senior, Business Administration (Finance, Certificate of International Studies in Business), International Studies (Political Economy), and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (Arabic) major
I am an undergraduate student in my Senior year, majoring in Finance, Political Economy, and Arabic. My academic work and interests focus on developing a better understanding of economic development and what roles businesses and governments play in the process. Considering extreme poverty is often understood as the largest violation of human rights, I am excited to be studying in a field with huge implications for human well-being and global peace. Thanks to Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships as well as other funding opportunities, I have been able to undertake transformative studies in Jordan, Morocco, and Denmark during my college career. Studying corporate social responsibility in Denmark as the pendulum swung against asylum seekers and witnessing the divisiveness of the Rif Movement in Morocco crystalized how I can navigate and analyze perspectives through another’s cultural lens. Both the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship and Carnegie Endowment Gaither Junior Fellowship offer the chance to take my cultural, analytical, and language skills and apply them towards translating research into policy influence.
The increased critical awareness of specific countries, experience with major long-term research projects, and improved language skills that these fellowships offer, would aid me in eventually pursuing a Masters in Development Economics at the Doha Institute, Qatar. Afterward, I would ideally work for entities in line with the Foreign Service, Global Reporting Initiative, Danish Refugee Council, and USAID. Further pursuing graduate studies in this process will support me in research, prolong my exposure to new ideas, and help me inspire the next generation’s leaders. In these roles, I hope to add nuance to development policies by researching community-level, socially-conscious business practices, the prevalence of conspiracy theories in the region, and their impact on development efforts in the region. Exposure to how public-interest organizations achieve policy influence, coupled with further experience in research and language, will help me pursue a career dedicated to economic justice in MENA and beyond, and operate therein successfully.
Henry’s tips for future applicants:
Be cognizant of what the fellowship looks for and think about how that aligns with your own values, the experiences that have shaped those values, and how you think they apply to what you want to do in the fellowship and beyond. Embrace your inner perseverance, because fellowships, especially one with a UW nomination and subsequent national round, you’ll have to edit many a time more than what you’re likely used to. Seek out advice from a professor or professional that is familiar with the type of material or tasks you’ll be carrying out in the fellowship. They can really help guide your thought piece or personal statement and vet it for realistic application. Go to them early on in the process.
2016 - 2017
Yuxi Wei, Nominee
Senior, Russian Literature and International Studies major
Yuxi Wei is a senior with a double major in Russian Literature and International Studies specializing Russia and Eastern Europe. Being an international student originally from China, she also has a passion for Chinese foreign policy and foreign relations, especially with Russia and the United States. How to manage the relations among the three major powers in the world, and how to avoid conflicts or maybe major wars between any of them and to preserve peace on the dynamic global stage, becomes what interests her the most. The China Studies Division at Junior Fellows Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offers a perfect opportunity for her to participate in Chinese foreign policy research and debates with leading scholars in the field to obtain first-hand insights for the trajectory of future international relations.
As graduating senior, she also faces the decision for graduate schools. As graduate programs related to international relations diverge into policy-oriented research and more academic-style study, she is perplexed by the abundance of choices and the possibility of future. The policy-oriented research at the Carnegie Endowment will broaden her experience apart from academic before she takes up further studies into graduate schools.
2015 - 2016
Benjamin Lee, Fellow
Senior, Chinese and International Studies – East Asia major
Ben Lee was born in Bloomington, Indiana, but came to Seattle in 2008 and subsequently enrolled at the University of Washington in 2011. Based on his cultural background in East Asia, Ben decided to major in International Studies (East Asia) and Chinese to study the region comprehensively. The Jackson School and Asian Languages & Literature Department faculty and the East Asia Library have provided him tremendous support and resources for Ben’s academic pursuits.
As a Boren Scholar, Ben studied abroad in National Taiwan University during the 2013 – 2014 academic year. He studied Mandarin, Taiwanese politics, and cross-strait relations. As one of three Presidential scholars at the UW for the 2014 – 2015 academic year, Ben has written a thesis that compares how democratization in Taiwan and South Korea affected cross-Strait and inter-Korean relations.
In addition to academics, Ben was invited to Brown University in November 2014 as one of the five U.S. student delegates to participate in Strait Talk, a student conference on cross-Strait relations. He worked as the Editor in Chief of the consensus document, which listed proposals from U.S., Chinese and Taiwanese delegates on how to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait. Ben was also one of three undergraduate Young Global Leaders at the National Bureau of Asian Research’s Slade Gorton International Policy Center. He prepared and participated in a policy table on “The Future U.S. – China Relations: Partners or Adversaries?” with former U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke.
After graduation, Ben plans to pursue graduate studies in Political Science with an emphasis on International Security. Eventually, Ben wants to work in think tanks or the State Department where he can contribute to American foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific.
Daniel Keum, Nominee
Senior, Political Science and Law, Societies & Justice major
Daniel Keum is a senior that has dedicated his intellectual career to the study of politics, rights, and law. As a young child, Daniel remembers treading the dirt trails of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea and zigzagging around warning signs of landmines. This experience would later become the impetus behind Daniel’s passion to tackle violence and injustice. In 2012, Daniel enrolled at the University of Washington to pursue a B.A. in Political Science (honors) and Law, Societies and Justice (honors). Daniel also studied at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and was awarded Academic Distinction for his achievements.
In addition, Daniel is an active participant of his community. He has worked as a legislative aide for the Seattle City Council conducting research on the impact of city ordinances. In particular, Daniel worked for then senior council member Jean Godden to aid in the effort of passing the state’s first paid parental leave act.
On a federal level, Daniel worked for Congressman Adam Smith at the U.S. House of Representatives where he prepared policy memorandums on issues of foreign policy, healthcare, immigration, and national security. Daniel is also the legislative director for the nonprofit, Divided Families USA, where he is currently working with Members of Congress, North Korean Ambassador, Robert King, and the Red Cross to reunite war-torn families. In conjunction, Daniel is a liaison for the National Unification Advisory Council of South Korea and works with the council board to devise practical solutions toward Korean reunification.
This past year, Daniel was nominated by the Council of Korean Americans as a national scholar and was invited to speak in D.C. to members of the U.S. Congress and the Korean Parliament on how to improve the political representation of Korean Americans and the overall AAPI community. His current project involves working with the agency, White House Initiative on Asian and Pacific Islanders, to strengthen federal relationships with local Seattle Korean American civic groups. Daniel is also excited to complete his honors thesis on the political economy of North Korea’s 1990s famine as well as his other honors thesis about the Model Minority stereotype. He is also currently co-authoring a research article with Professor Aseem Prakash on NGO trust-building forthcoming next fall.
Daniel hopes to go to law school and also obtain a Ph.D. to practice diplomacy and international/constitutional law and end his career as a law professor.
2014 - 2015
Beinuo Gong, Nominee
Senior, Economics major, Math and Music minor
Beinuo Gong came to the U.S in 2011 and enrolled at the University of Washington as an undergraduate in 2013. Prior to coming to the U.S, Beinuo had been selected as one of 16 exchange students for a youth exchange program between the Zibo (China) and Gwangju (Korea) governments. She also participated in Ameson Chinese Elite Program as one of the four nominees from Zibo Experimental High School and was actively involved in various activities and workshops led by world-class universities including University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Beinuo first enrolled in Shoreline Community College and held several student leadership positions such as the Literary Assistant of Spindrift Magazine, Student Representative at Campus Diversity Action committee and Learning Assistant at Math Learning Center. In November 2011, Beinuo and seven other student leaders travelled to Olympia for the Washington State Student Legislative Academy, during which the team did a group presentation regarding textbook prices. Beinuo was also an active member in the College DECA organization. She was one of the top ten finalist at the International Career Development Conference (DECA) held in Anaheim, CA.
As an Economics major with minors in math and music, Beinuo has completed various projects in macro-economics, econometrics and applied math field. She is also the co-author of the solution manual to “Precalculus, An Investigation of Functions: David Lippman, Malonie Rasmussen”. Her previous internship experience in the Chinese private equity industry lead her research interests to developing economies. Currently enrolled in the Economics Department honors program, Beinuo plans to finish her thesis analyzing the Chinese economic slowdown and possible reform options. As the Director of Sponsorship for the UW Actuary Club, Beinuo and other officers re-founded and developed the club from 5 to 40 members. Beinuo is also an accomplished pianist. She was the first prize winner of 2013 Romantic Festival Piano Competition.
Upon graduation, Beinuo plans to pursue graduate study in financial mathematics and econometrics field.
Benjamin Lee, Finalist
Junior, Chinese and International Studies – East Asia major
Ben Lee was born in Bloomington, Indiana, but came to Seattle in 2008 and subsequently enrolled at the University of Washington in 2011. Based on his cultural background in East Asia, Ben decided to major in International Studies (East Asia) and Chinese to study the region comprehensively. He credits the Jackson School faculty and the East Asia Library within providing him tremendous support and resources for his academic pursuits.
As a Boren Scholar, Ben studied abroad in National Taiwan University during the 2013 – 2014 academic year. He studied Mandarin, Taiwanese politics, and cross-Strait relations. As one of three Presidential scholars at the UW for the 2014 – 2015 academic year, Ben is writing a thesis that compares Taiwan’s policy on China and South Korea’s policy on North Korea at the end of the Cold War.
In addition to academics, Ben was invited to Brown University in November 2014 as one of the five U.S. student delegates to participate in Strait Talk, a student conference on cross-Strait relations. In the conference, he worked with Chinese and Taiwanese delegates to write a series of proposals to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, and was a chief editor of that consensus document. Ben was also selected as one of three undergraduate Young Global Leaders at the National Bureau of Asian Research’s Slade Gorton International Policy Center. As a young global leader, he is currently working with other students to prepare a conference on China’s Censorship of the Internet. Ben also works as a Publications Intern for the National Bureau of Asian Research.
After graduation, Ben plans to pursue graduate studies in political science with an emphasis on international security. Eventually, he hopes to work in think tanks or the State Department where he can contribute to American foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific.
Read the UAA profile article about Ben to learn more about his work and the scholarships that help to support his undergraduate studies.
2013 - 2014
Shirin Lotfi, Nominee
Senior, Political Science – International Security major, Middle Eastern Studies minor
Shirin Lotfi is a senior, majoring in political science and international security with a minor in Middle East studies. Her focus is energy security within the Middle East. As an undergraduate, Shirin has interned for U.S Senator Maria Cantwell as well as U.S Senator Patty Murray. In the fall of 2013, she conducted independent research on the Jordanian nuclear power program in Amman, Jordan, for which she received five scholarships. At the same time, she interned at the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan under the mentorship of Prof. Joel S. Migdal. Shirin first became interested in nuclear policy by taking Prof. Chris Jones and Ambassador Thomas Graham’s nuclear non-proliferation class in 2012. Her past experience led her to apply for the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program. She plans to pursue a career at the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy after pursuing graduate school or nuclear law school. Apart from knowing Persian fluently, Shirin’s interests in the countries of the greater Middle East have led her to study additional languages like Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu.
In addition to her studies, Shirin is the vice-president of the Institute of Nuclear Material Management (INMM) UW chapter. INMM’s goal is to bring together students from within the engineering and international studies departments to engage in research, build local leadership, and connect with professionals in the field of nuclear engineering and nuclear policy.
Adriana Meharry, Nominee
Senior, Political Science and International Studies major
Adriana Meharry was fortunate to grow up between China, Brazil, Chile, Italy, and India, which gave her the unique opportunity to learn new languages and to become immersed in foreign cultures for years at a time. As a result, she learned cultural understanding and adaptability from a very young age as she had to understand and interpret the world that changed around her every few years. For the past six years, Adriana has lived in the Pacific Northwest, and as much as Seattle has captured her heart, she hopes to find a career that will enable her to continue to trot the globe and thrive in new environments. She will graduate in 2014 with degrees in both International Studies (with a focus on Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace and Security) and Political Science, and hopes to gain substantive experience in her field before she proceeds to further her studies with a masters in International Public Policy.
Adriana’s research projects have dealt with the topics of statelessness, socio-economic inequality in the twenty-first century, methods used to resist authoritarian regimes in Latin America, and the relationship between cultural productions and ideology. She was recently a guest speaker at the Global Education and Engagement Project (a project by the World Affairs Council and Three Chairs for Refugees) discussing human rights, refugee resettlement, and tools for cross-cultural awareness with refugee youth in the Seattle area. In the summer of 2013, she spent time exploring the challenges to international law in Ireland and The Hague. Adriana’s academic interests include conflict resolution, political transitions, cultural interactions, ethics, human rights, and political philosophy. Within the Carnegie Endowment Junior Fellowship, she applied to work with the Democracy Program. Outside of academia she loves traveling, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying the sunshine.
2012 - 2013
David La Boon, Finalist
Senior, French and International Studies major
David La Boon served in the military for 8 years conducting nuclear field research in conjunction with Bettis and Knolls Laboratories, radiological maintenance and casualty response aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and force protection at Bangor Submarine Base. He then studied French and International Studies: Foreign Policy & Diplomacy while at the University of Washington and plans to graduate in June 2013. David applied to work on the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy team, and aspires to work in nuclear and non-proliferation policy creation after graduate studies in that field.
2011 - 2012
Charissa Ford, Nominee
Senior, Political Science – International Security major
Charissa Ford earned her first BA as a Psychology major in 2006, but returned to the UW two years ago to earn a second degree in Political Science with a focus on international security. She was a CAPPP Undergraduate Research Fellow for the 2010-2011 year, where she conducted research on nuclear weapons policymaking in Congress and presented her findings at the UW Research Symposium in May. Charissa was an officer in the UW chapters of Pi Sigma Alpha and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, and an editor for the Orator—the UW’s political science undergraduate journal—as well as a reviewer for the Jackson School Journal of International Studies.
Charissa began her experience with South Asia as a research intern with Ensaaf, where she read old Punjabi newspapers and documented interactions between Punjab residents and Indian security forces during the Sikh separatist movement in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The following year, she began working as a student research assistant on a project that studies insurgent rhetoric and network dynamics in Afghanistan and Pakistan and has been working full time as a research coordinator for the same project since graduating in June.
Outside of work, Charissa enjoys reading propaganda, especially from dictators—an interest she hopes to continue someday as a PhD student in Political Science. She spends much of her time dreaming of the day when the sun will return so she can read in the park instead of on the couch, and run in the sun instead of in the rain.
Sara Hefny, Nominee
Senior, Near Easter Languages and Civilization major
Sara Hefny is a senior in the Near Eastern Studies department with a focus in Languages and Civilizations. For the past two years she has worked with the Ottoman Texts Archive Project as an undergraduate researcher with the Svoboda Diary Project, translating and researching the history of a set of 19th century Iraqi diaries. In her research, she was struck by the migratory trends of the various ethnic communities in the Middle East and how they were affected by the political standing of the Ottoman Empire.
Sara has taken this research to Rome, Italy for the 2011-2012 year as a Fritz Fellow where she is researching changes in Italian migration policy as a result of the influx of refugees fleeing political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, along with migrants deported from other European countries under the Dublin Regulations. Following graduation and return from Rome, she hopes to eventually go onto graduate school at Oxford University to read for a Master’s of Science in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.
In addition to her studies, Sara is an avid volleyball player and coach, having coached at Seattle’s Cascade Volleyball Club and Shorewood High School, her alma mater. She is a member of Washington’s Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and is a recipient of the University of Washington’s Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship for her work with the Svoboda Diary Project. In her free time she enjoys belly dancing, vinyasa yoga, experimenting in the kitchen, and trivia nights with her friends.
2010 - 2011
Jordan Swarthout, Finalist
Senior, International Studies and Russian Language & Literature major
A third generation Husky, Jordan Swarthout was born and raised in Olympia. An international focus began with his first immersion in foreign cultures during a high school trip to Europe. Lectures on campus by former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ignited his interest in nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament. Arms control became an informal emphasis within his International Studies major. Jordan has been active on campus through a variety of student organizations including the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Washington Student-Athlete Advisory Council, and most recently as Vice President of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management. He returned for a fifth year to complete a second degree in Russian Language and Literature, as well as continue competing on the Cross Country and Track teams. A two time NCAA National Championship competitor, he hopes to better his personal best in the 10,000 meters by more than the 0.8 seconds it will take to crack into the UW’s top ten all time list.
Jordan spent the last two summers in Russia both working and studying the language. Summer 2009 he completed an intensive immersion program, studying in Kaliningrad under the auspices of the Critical language Scholarship. This past summer he interned in the political section of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, where his portfolio included political-military affairs. Jordan recently passed the written section of the Foreign Service Exam and has long been interested in a career with the State Department. Also interested in positions through the Energy Department and other security related fields, Jordan is in the process of applying to several Washington DC area masters programs and the Monterrey Institute of International Studies.
Alexandra Sawyer, Nominee
Senior, Environmental Studies and International Studies major, Geography, Human Rights and Latin American Studies minor
2009 - 2010
Nathan Snyder, Nominee
Senior, International Studies and Economics major
Nathan is senior at the University of Washington graduating with degrees in international studies and economics. During his time at the university, Nathan has pursued academic interests in China’s economy, rule of law in China, and economic growth theory. For his senior thesis, he conducted a survey of court cases from Guangdong province to determine how the court system is being used to adjudicate intellectual property rights disputes in China. He speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently and studied Mandarin intensively abroad in Beijing during 2008 and again in Harbin, China in summer 2009 courtesy of a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship. Since January 2009 Nathan has been a research intern at the Washington State Department of Commerce, primarily focusing on trade issues between China and Washington State. In the near-term he wants to spend a few years working in China in an international trade related job before entering an international relations graduate program. Nathan’s long-term goal is a career in US-China policy with academic or research institutions.
Nathan has a strong passion for education and found personal satisfaction as a campus tour guide throughout his four years at the University of Washington. Tour guiding has provided opportunities to share his college experience with prospective students and their families while enjoying the challenge of interacting with a spectrum of people. Nathan built upon this experience and worked at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an on-site manager for the Coca Cola Company’s VIP hospitality program. Additionally, Nathan has enjoyed exploring the outdoors since the time he was small enough to be carried up mountains on his father’s shoulders. At the university, he continued pursuing his outdoor interest as an active member of the university’s Climbing Club. Nathan enjoys climbing and skiing Washington’s Cascade Mountains. He fully expects to continue his outdoor adventures regardless of where his future takes him.