The School of Public and International Affairs’ Student Ambassador Program is under the oversight of the School’s Office of External Affairs. Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the Dean of the School to both enhance the internal undergraduate experience, as well as bolster the School’s reputation with external constituencies, such as alumni, donors, and citizens of the local community.


Zoe Booth
Major: International Affairs and Political Science

My future career goals include completing my Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration. I then hope to pursue a career working for an international organization or an international non-profit. I would even like to get into lobbying for policy that these nonprofits back. I chose SPIA because I felt like the coursework the majors in it require cover a broad range of topics which will be beneficial for not only my career, but also for my critical thinking and analytical skills. The SPIA professors are also very passionate about their fields of study and it is reflected in their career and research experiences. Since both of my majors are part of SPIA, I feel like I am a good example of a SPIA student and have a full SPIA experience to attest to. I also have Ambassador experience from high school and I thought it would be a good way to get more involved within my college.


Ha Nul Sky Park
Major: Political Science
Minor: Communication Studies

I plan on going to law school after graduating with my bachelors in Political Science. I hope to practice immigration law. I chose SPIA because I knew that UGA had the best and brightest professors that would help me achieve my dreams by teaching me everything I need to know to succeed. I love surrounding myself with people who love a challenge, are interested in the same things I am, and are passionate about politics and international affairs. I chose the Ambassador program because I wanted to give back to the school that had given me so much. It is an honor to represent SPIA. The SPIA Ambassador program is a great way to network and is the best way to help me move on to the next chapter in my life.


Karina Delgado
Major: Political Science and International Affairs
Minor: Spanish

In the future, I would love to work for Teach for America after undergrad because I think education is very important and I want to help give children the opportunity of an education. Following that, I want to go to law school. I chose SPIA because I’ve always wanted to help and serve others. The main reason I chose my major, was to study politics and become involved so that I could help change policies that are written poorly or to intentionally marginalize people and not just in the U.S. but everywhere. I think it’s important to help give people a voice and I believed SPIA would help me gain those skills necessary to do so. SPIA has amazing faculty and staff, offers very interesting course, internships and many study abroad opportunities and I want everyone to be aware of what SPIA has to offer. I believe if it was not for SPIA, I would not be where I am today. For that reason, I would like to be able to give back to SPIA in order to help guide potential SPIA students and share my experiences with them.


Marisa Valery Hernandez
Major: International Affairs and Journalism
Minor: Spanish
Certificate: Global Studies

In the future, I would like to be a foreign correspondent or a political journalist. I chose SPIA for a variety of reasons, one reason, in particular, is the fact that SPIA caters to many interests through its variety of classes. The college is very welcoming and it is easy to find your niche, as well as other students and professors who share the same interests. I joined the Ambassador program in order to make other individuals feel welcomed and find what they are looking for within SPIA. The Ambassador program is a good way to become more involved within the college in a way that is beneficial to others.


Kaylee Celeste Norton
Major: Political Science, International Affairs, Asian Languages & Literature
Certificate: Global Studies

My future goals are to attend graduate school at the University of Georgia, getting a Master’s in International Policy or to earn my J.D. in Law. I hope to use my language proficiency in Chinese and knowledge gained while attending the University of Georgia to eventually work for the State Department or F.B.I. Sometime down the road, I hope to return to the University of Georgia as a professor! I chose SPIA because I wanted to be a part of a college that would give me the opportunities to make connections and network in a way that would directly affect my future. Being in SPIA has allowed me to meaningfully engage with faculty and other students in countless ways. I chose to be an ambassador so that I could give back to the college that has provided so many opportunities. It is such a joy to have the chance to be a part of someone else’s journey at the University of Georgia and in SPIA. It is also equally important to me to be involved on campus and to connect with more students and faculty.


Samhita Ramesh
Major: Political Science and International Affairs

I hope to work at the State Department and eventually move on to an Ambassador position to facilitate diplomatic relations between India and the U.S. SPIA is one of the most prominent International Affairs colleges in Georgia with an amazing staff and a range of classes. It was almost a no-brainer that SPIA was the path for me in order to succeed as an underclassman while studying both International Affairs and Political Science. They also offer amazing certificates that would be able to further my education in areas such as public policy and national security. I joined the Ambassador program to be able to help incoming and existing SPIA student find their way through the college while also discovering their passions. I hope to guide my fellow students towards their goals as I was guided by experienced SPIA students myself.


Nia Harris
Major: International Affairs and French
Minor: Arabic

I hope to work as an international conflict negotiator with the State Department. I wanted to learn more about the world while also having the freedom to explore my passions and SPIA gave me the opportunity to do just that. The sense of community and exciting professors were an added bonus. SPIA has given me so much and played such a large role in who I am today. I want to invest in SPIA in the way that they invested in me and show everyone across campus and beyond how much SPIA does for its’ students


Samantha Gastelum
Major: International Affairs
Minor: Political Science

I am interested in pursuing a career in international law and policy particularly in the area of securities studies. For this reason, I would like to go to law school and study international law once I complete my Masters in International Policy. I have always loved history and travel and by the time I arrived at UGA I knew that I wanted to be an International Affairs Major. SPIA offers so many wonderful programs that have enabled me to expand my experiences and education such as the Summer at Oxford Program where I was able to study International Conflict and obtain credit for my internship this past summer as a legislative intern for Representative Adam Schiff (Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence). I wanted to join the ambassador program to help other people on campus feel connected to SPIA and all the wonderful opportunities the school offers. I wanted to be a part of a group of people who are eager to help other people become more involved in SPIA.


Katherine Jewell Morris
Major: International Affairs
Minor: Spanish

I have developed a strong passion for public policy, as well as foreign policy. My long-term professional goals include a career in either the foreign service or the state department as well as think tank scholarship or a law career. I am especially interested in US Citizenship and Immigration Services and believe that my language skills, along with my coursework provide a unique perspective and a necessary background to further work on cases in this field. I also aspire to work at either a non-profit, the CIA, or potentially a news and media company. SPIA has served a positive role in my University of Georgia experience. I hope to encourage other students that are interested in public service, scholarship, international governance, or in solving the largest issues facing our nation today, to pursue a degree in SPIA.


Dedan McFadden
Major: Political Science

After I graduate, I plan to attend law school and study to become a prosecuting attorney. I chose to major in political science because I have always been fascinated with government and the choices people make. I joined the Ambassador program because I am passionate about making connections with others and promoting the fantastic programs offered through SPIA. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and learning about the environment. I absolutely love the outdoors and exploring nature.


Calli McCormack
Major: Political Science
Minor: Sociology

I hope to attend graduate school and then help create education policy at the federal level. I want to reform public education in the US. Overall I want school to be a positive place for learning and empowerment for students and teachers. I was a transfer student to UGA. I came here because of SPIA. I was attending a smaller college in Georgia and working towards a bachelor’s degree in Political Science when I heard about SPIA. I chose SPIA for all it has to offer its students in school and beyond.  I think it’s important to include those who are transfers to SPIA or have an interest in transferring to SPIA in the conversation and image of what SPIA is. I also want to help promote what we have to offer to potential students and those who have an interest in the SPIA community. I was able to find my place in SPIA and want to help others do the same.


Julianna Isbitts
Major: Political Science and Economics
Certificate: Public Affairs Professional Certificate

I hope to attend law school or graduate school (or both). I am very interested in both political research and political communications and I hope to have a career which caters to one or both of these interests. I first became interested in political science in particular after completing research on religion and political polarization in high school, but I have wanted to attend law school for much longer. When I began my college search, I spoke with many SPIA alumni and heard about their experiences with the school. Taking into account SPIA’s excellent reputation and my career goals, SPIA was the only option for me. SPIA has provided me with a large variety of opportunities to grow as a student, and I want to help other students learn about those opportunities. Additionally, the caliber of both SPIA students and professors is exceptional, and as a SPIA ambassador, I hope to help SPIA maintain these high standards through contacts with organizations outside UGA.


Cole Mixon Bennett
Major: International Affairs
Minor: Communications

Coming out of high school I was really interested in international security, particularly in regards to understanding and preventing terrorist activity on a global scale. As my career goals have become more focused this has shifted towards international mediation and conflict resolution. I have also even begun to consider a more domestic career path in the political realm, whether in a public office or a more behind-the-scenes position. Before I could really even identify it as a passion of mine, I have always been intrigued by the way people in different societies and cultures around the world live their daily lives and the similarities and differences therein. This progressed from just day to day activity to all aspects of life and, in that sense, systems of governance. Hence why I was almost certain that I wanted to go into International Affairs and SPIA, as one of the hallmarks of IA is examining these similarities and differences. Considering how thankful I am for everything SPIA and UGA in general have taught me about both the world and myself, I wanted to show that appreciation and serve as a representative for the institution I’ve gained so much from. I’m excited to apply my interests in both international affairs and interpersonal communication in an environment where both are sure to be used and appreciated.


Kimberly M. Lopez
Major: International Affairs

I plan on one day attending law school and become an immigration lawyer. Instead of opening my own practice I would to work for a nonprofit for immigrants. I choose SPIA because of how at home I felt. Coming to UGA was a huge change for me, it’s a big city within an actual city. As a freshman it’s easy to feel like just a number. However, once I took my first introduction class with Dr. Carmichael I knew I was home. SPIA professors and instructors make students feel heard and valued. They push us to challenge the status quo and give us the building blocks to figure out international solutions. I join SPIA Ambassadors because I wanted to show off how truly great it is to be a SPIA student. I always hear how amazing our alumni are and I want the student body to know that. Whether that be hosting Networking Night or having one of them come in for a talk. This program has also taught me that although one day you may not be a student you will always be treated with greatness.


Caroline Taylor
Major: International Affairs, Security Studies Concentration

While I am not exactly sure how my passions will manifest themselves into a career, I do know that I want to work in the intelligence field. Specifically, I want to focus on the legal aspect of international intelligence collecting. I am hoping to end up in Washington D.C or New York City post-UGA! As a transfer student deciding on where I wanted to finish out the rest of my undergraduate degree, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a school. More specifically, I knew exactly what I wanted to study and the resources I needed to be successful. I was hoping to join a program that was well funded, up and coming, and had classes in security studies– my passion. Most importantly, however, I wanted to join a community that emphasized collaboration and encouragement. These things, I have found, are deeply engrained into the SPIA education across all of the classes I have been in thus far. When I came to campus last spring I was nervous. I had never been to Georgia before let alone UGA. With that being said, from the moment I stepped into a SPIA class, which was focused on War and Human Security, I felt at home and immediately welcome. The people around me were not only interested in what I had to say, but they also pushed me to expand my thinking. I am so grateful for what I have gained from this program and my classmates. I want to use my position as a SPIA ambassador to share my passion for this community with others.


Claire Weatherly
Major: International Affairs and Social Work

My goal is to work in the international human rights regime. I would like to begin working at a more micro level, getting more hands-on experience to then move towards a more macro level position with policy or advocacy. Going into freshman year, I had no clue what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. I saw international affairs on the list of majors, and not really knowing what that means, I decided it sounded interesting. So I added IA as my major and took my first intro class that fall. I took intro to global issues, and that was it, I knew that I was in the correct major. Since then, SPIA has allowed me to have incredible professors with a wide variety of classes and specialties. SPIA welcomed me, as a clueless freshman, into the program through the kindness and genuine help from my adviser and the leadership of older students who gave me advice. I have had a genuinely incredible time in SPIA. I have felt welcomed into this community as a freshman who really did not know that much about the international system to now, as a junior finishing up IA classes with a much more comprehensive world view and understanding. I have grown so much through this program, and I wanted to share that experience as much as possible. I became an ambassador to help guide new students who may be interested in SPIA and to share my story of growth through this program with alumni to help grow their view of the program.


Austin Grant
Major: Political Science
Minor: Philosophy

I want to be an attorney specializing in either civil litigation or criminal prosecution. I chose SPIA because of the community of the school. I have always had an interest in government and law, but I was considering a few other majors. However, as soon as I had my first upper-division SPIA class, I realized I was in the right place. The community of students and professors here that genuinely want you to succeed is amazing and hard to find in many other programs at UGA. I chose the Ambassador program because I want to help this school and help others. This school is one of the best at UGA, and I want to help present that image to people both outside and inside our university. I also want to show students how many opportunities exist for SPIA students and help them have the best possible college experience.


Nicole Taylor Goshorn
Major: Political Science and International Affairs
Minor: Public Policy

My future career goals are to serve the U.S. government in some capacity. Ideally, I’d really like to run for office one day–specifically senate. I also plan on going to law school. I chose SPIA because from a young age I’ve known I wanted to make an impact on other people’s lives. Doing my college search in high school, I found that the programs SPIA offered would provide me the right tools to do such a thing. With everything SPIA has done for me, from studying abroad at Oxford University my freshman year to being apart of the first class of the SPIA Emerging Leaders Internship program, I wanted to give back to my school and do my part. As a SPIA Ambassador, I want to not only promote the school and all of its opportunities to students, but I want to promote to the world all that SPIA has to offer.


Cecilia Hoangchau Vu
Major: International Affairs
Minor: German

I plan on working in an international nonprofit or non-governmental organization. My main goal is to help establish peace-keeping and peace-making efforts between groups with history of violent conflict through communities. This could be done by providing infrastructure, education, and other necessary resources a population might be lacking. I hope to become a Director at the Jimmy Carter Center for Ethics in the near future. UGA has an amazing SPIA program that many students don’t hear about. As a Georgia resident, I had the opportunity to receive the Zell Miller HOPE Scholarship. With an excellent low-cost option available to me, there was no better choice. UGA SPIA also offers multiple Double Dawgs programs which allow me to achieve a Master’s Degree while still in Undergrad. The MPA Program is number one in the country, and I plan to apply this Fall. When people think Political Science, International Affairs, or any other public servant schools, they think of Harvard, Georgetown, or George Washington. Unfortunately, many people don’t think of UGA despite it’s excellent SPIA Department. As a SPIA Ambassador, I want to promote my school and show those around me that you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a different state to be successful in your career; instead, you can come to Georgia, have a better experience, and be more successful.


Rachel Borgel
Major: Political Science
Minor: Communication Studies and Public Policy and Management

I hope to go to law school and one day work where I can help the elderly. SPIA seemed like the perfect fit for me within UGA. I really enjoy the size of the school which allows a lot of one on one time with SPIA’s amazing professors and faculty. As well, the SPIA advisors have been so helpful with everything from classes to internships and anything else along the way. I came to UGA the Spring semester of my Freshman year. Everything was a bit overwhelming coming in at such an odd time. I wanted to join the Ambassador program to help any other students that are going through the same thing or transferring into UGA. Everything can be a bit confusing at first and I hope to ease people’s minds as they join SPIA.


Taylor Evans
Undergraduate Major: International Affairs and Anthropology
Degree Program: Master of International Policy

In the future, I believe that it would be exciting to either work for an energy policy think tank in D.C. or to work as a strategic trade and national security policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce. I chose to study at SPIA because of its long-distinguished history, prestigious reputation, its varied courses of study, and its national ranking. SPIA offers insight and solutions to some of the most demanding problems facing humanity today, including the application of practical and effective governance. This chance to be a part of the next generation of policy practitioners and big thinkers in the realm of social science is something that I can only get at SPIA. I joined the SPIA Ambassador Program because I wanted two things. The first is that I wanted an opportunity to give back to the school that has given so much to me. As a student in the Master of International policy program, I have been given the opportunity to attend Oak Ridge National Lab, and I have Visited D.C. through the program to see countless federal agencies, think tanks, and consulting firms. SPIA has been very generous to me and I wish to give back to the school by telling new students, donors, and policy practitioners about the big things that SPIA is doing. Secondly, I wish to become more involved in SPIA’s operation and role within the university community. As a SPIA Ambassador, I will have the opportunity to plan events, discuss important issues facing the school, communicate with alumni, speak with state officials, and fundamentally pave the way for students in the future to do greater things.


Grace Kaldor
Major: International Affairs and Spanish
Certificate: Global Studies

Because SPIA opens doors for so many different fields of professional careers, I am not sure exactly what I would like to do after I graduate. However, I am really interested in development and/ or security and I have always liked the idea of working for an international non- profit. I chose SPIA primarily because of my interest in the topic. There are so many different classes offered, and each sector of emphasis is completely different and unique in its own way. Furthermore, as mentioned, I believe that SPIA gives its students an education that prepares them for many different careers, and that is something not to be taken for granted. I joined the Ambassador program because I wanted to be in a position to share all the different opportunities SPIA has to offer. Even after joining the program, I have learned tons of things about SPIA that I did not know about, and I cannot wait to jump on these opportunities and share them with others throughout the semester!


Ivan Andre Ruiz-Hernandez
Undergraduate Major: International Affairs
Degree Program: Master of International Policy
Certificate: Horticulture

I would like to continue my education and pursue a joint JD/PhD program at a university in Washington D.C. or New York City. Within that program, I would like to dive deeper into Latin American food security issues – ideally spending time conducting research in Latin America. Ultimately, after I finish my education, I anticipate continuing scholarly work by working at a think tank such as The Brookings Institution or The Council on Foreign Relations. Initially, I chose SPIA because it seemed like the most open-ended pathway that would give me the opportunity to develop my research interests on my own timeline. During my time in the school, I have had the pleasure of meeting wonderful faculty that have given me the resources and support to refine the pride of my heritage into a lifelong desire to research Latin American food security. As someone who came into the University of Georgia uncertain of a new environment and an ever-changing set of challenges, I struggled to find a support network to help me navigate professional and personal successes. However, as I progressed through my major, SPIA steadily gave me the tools to develop into a well-rounded and worldly scholar. I look forward to representing my school as I continue in my academic career.


Urooj Ali
Major: Political Science and Women’s Studies

After I finish my undergraduate degree, I hope to attend law school and work in humanitarian law. I would eventually like to enter the world of public politics or advocate human rights domestically and internationally. I strongly believe that all people should have the ability to be represented in the public forum. Marginalized people are still people and they deserve the right to be heard and I would love to be a channel in which they are represented and heard. Oftentimes I’ve been asked, “Why not aim to be the president?” Well, the Presidency is a great honor and job, but I want to be in a position where I can help people directly. My main goal for wanting to go into politics is to help people in any capacity that they need. American politics has always been a passion of mine, and when I took American government my first semester in college, I knew that politics was the field for me. Also, I know that I want to one day go into politics and I know that a degree in Political Science will help me achieve my future goals. I would like to start my career off as a lawyer then eventually work my way up to being a politician. I would love to work in Congress because I believe that United States laws are ever-changing and it is important to update policy with the times. A degree in Political Science allows me to understand the inner workings of American politics and puts me on the track to success. SPIA is such a welcoming community that is full of intelligence and excellence. I would love to represent SPIA and show interested parties that SPIA is the place to be!


Austin Chancy
Degree Program: Masters of Public Administration

I hope to have a career in either policy analysis or economic development. I have loved politics and public service from a young age. In high school, I realized that I wanted a career that would allow me to serve my community. When I was researching universities with strong political science programs, I came across UGA and SPIA. I was impressed by all SPIA had to offer and decided to make it my home. I enjoyed my undergraduate experience so much that I decided to pursue my graduate degree here as well. I wanted to find a way to give back to SPIA. Being an Ambassador allows me to represent the school I love so much and serve my fellow classmates.


Nicole Belongia
Major: International Affairs

Wherever my career takes me, I want to make the world a better place. I chose SPIA because the classes and degree programs not only interested me in content, but also inspired me with the possibility of using the knowledge outside of class to improve society. Additionally, I do better academically in social sciences than other areas. I joined the program because I wanted to promote SPIA degrees and classes to both undecided students and others. I think more people should be informed on international affairs and related subjects. It can lead to influential careers too. I also wanted to be more involved in my major and UGA compared to previous semesters.


Abigail Chasteen
Major: Political Science and Journalism
Certificate: Public Affairs Professional Certificate (Public Affairs Communications)

I am currently pre-law, so I would love to be a family lawyer or work in criminal justice. My dream would be to work with foster children and with adoption services to be a voice for someone who may not be able to speak out. I am also highly interested in working on campaigns and communications in politics, strongly due to my certificate in Public Affairs Communications. SPIA gave me a chance to explore something I was passionate about before I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Taking political science classes has been the avenue for me into a future career I’m really excited about. My SPIA classes have given me direction in the world of politics and moved me closer to my goals. SPIA is a special place at the University of Georgia that all students deserve to have a chance to hear about and look into. Since SPIA is such a special place for me, I want to be able to point others in that same direction to find their place on campus. Being a voice for SPIA is exciting and I can’t wait to share my passion for political science with everyone on campus! My goal is to see SPIA thrive this year in new and exciting ways, and show people that there are so many opportunities in the world of political science and international affairs.


Sarah Ensley
Major: Political Science
Certificate: History, Nonprofit Management and Leadership

I plan to become a lawyer. I will attend law school in the fall of 2020. I am still unsure on what area of law I plan to practice. I wanted to be a part of a community of goal-oriented students. SPIA was just that. The students, teachers, and advisors have been the best support system throughout my time at UGA. I wanted to do something more than just be a SPIA student. I know my school has a lot to offer, so I wanted to be in on the behind the scenes of SPIA. Fun fact: I am a dog-mom to a sweet lab mix girl named Rory. She was named after my favorite show, Gilmore Girls.


Ayah Abdelwahab
Major: International Affairs and Geography

I am interested in working in human rights, potentially through an NGO, the State Department, or another government agency. I love SPIA’s strong sense of community and have enjoyed getting to know the faculty and students within the school! I have found SPIA’s academics to be very engaging and have relished growing as a student through research and extracurricular opportunities within the school. Ultimately, I strive to work in the public sector and aspire to have a career where I can assist people. SPIA has been the perfect environment to foster this commitment to service. Since SPIA is a smaller school, it tends to be overlooked by students. As an ambassador, I am excited at the chance to help students learn about all the amazing opportunities SPIA has. Moreover, it is important to me that those who interact with SPIA have the chance to engage with the diverse backgrounds and ideas that this school has to offer!


Madeleine Hoss
Major: Political Science, International Affairs,  and Spanish

I plan to attend law school after graduation and working with a focus in international law! SPIA is such an amazing community made up of equally passionate professors and students. With every semester and every SPIA professor I meet, I am constantly reminded of the amazing resources and true concern that SPIA professors and faculty provide to their students, in a way that truly distinguishes SPIA from every other college at the University of Georgia. I joined the Ambassador program in order to give back to the college that has already given so much to me! I love being given the opportunity to provide resources, advice, or wisdom to fellow SPIA students. When my grandmother was a student at the University of Georgia in the 1960s, she lived in Candler Hall, which now houses SPIA! It feels very surreal to walk into my advising appointments or visit office hours there, knowing that I have that connection with the building!


Sydney Phillips
Major: Political Science and Public Relations
Minor: Portuguese
Certificate: Public Affairs Communications certificate

As both a SPIA and Grady student, my career goals involve becoming a public relations professional within the public sphere. My ideal positions would include campaign managing, political consulting, or crisis management for political organizations. However, as I continue my journey at the University of Georgia over the next three years, I am sure my experiences and new opportunities will change or shape the future career I pursue. I have always had a passion for policy and legislation and the way that they impact everyday Americans. Moreover, as one of the highest-ranking public institutions in the nation, UGA has the tools and resources to help students like me channel their passions into careers for the future. The professors I’ve had the pleasure to meet in the School of Public and International Affairs have all demonstrated a similar passion for their work. They have created a culture in SPIA that promotes diversity of thought, fosters intellectual growth, and helps UGA students reach their fullest potential. I joined the ambassador program because it allows me the opportunity to interact with students, parents, alumni, and friends of SPIA to demonstrate the work that our school does and the incredible impact it has on its students. The students and staff of SPIA have formed such an incredible community on campus and I hope to contribute my knowledge and experiences to the community in a meaningful way through the program this year.


Jena Jibreen
Major: International Affairs and Psychology

My interests are broadly focused on international security as it relates to human rights in developing countries, and I ultimately hope to work in an international agency that focuses on economic, social, and physical security for marginalized groups. More specifically, I wish to eventually practice human rights law on an international scale, focusing on tackling human rights violations in regard to gender and educational inequalities. I chose to pursue a SPIA degree because of its unrestricting nature—even if I have no idea about the path that I wish to take for a future career, SPIA can ensure a variety of options, all of which could not possibly steer me wrong. The SPIA coursework itself is full of exciting possibility, as it provides students with a global perspective that, almost by default, prepares us for any approach to the field that we may choose. SPIA was the only constant portion in my otherwise hectic freshman year, and I quickly understood that my place at UGA was entirely SPIA-centric. Not only have the courses introduced me to a wide breadth of potential interests that I had never before considered, but they also have been a source of relief for me, due to the professors who have taught them with an incredible amount of passion. Each of my professors has expressed genuine interest in the ideas that I wanted to share, each of them has provided me with a safe space in which I can challenge myself and my peers, and each of them has encouraged me to explore topics that I may not have otherwise considered. I wanted to begin giving back to what has and will continue to provide me with so much at this university.


Namrata Kella
Major: International Affairs
Minor: Spanish and Political Science
I’m deciding between going to law school or pursuing a masters degree (through double dawgs or elsewhere) in public policy or administration. Either way, it has been a longtime dream of mine to work for the United Nations. I have always enjoyed connecting with people and cultures and I felt that a degree in International Affairs would be perfect for my passions. And it has! If I want to work with the United Nations as an ambassador then I feel the experience I could gain with SPIA Ambassadors would greatly help me with my future career. Also, SPIA has given me so much and I want to give back by promoting it to other students to let them know how awesome SPIA is.


Elizabeth Carter
Undergraduate Major: International Affairs
Degree Program: Master of International Policy
Minor: Geographic Information Science, Peace Corps Prep

I am interested in public-private partnerships as a means for achieving US international development goals. After graduation, I intend to work with a private sector partner or implementing agency partner of the US government to advise partnership creation and project management. SPIA offered the advantages of a small school that focuses directly on political affairs within a larger university. This meant the opportunity for close relationships with the faculty and discussion-based classes. The Double-Dawg program and its faculty within SPIA are phenomenal and make me grateful for the chance to earn two degrees from SPIA. I have been fortunate to participate in many of the opportunities afforded to SPIA students, like the SPIA Student Union and internship credit option, and to benefit from meeting many professionals who are a part of the SPIA network. The SPIA Ambassadors program gives me the chance to help connect other SPIA students to these same fantastic opportunities.


Andrew Stephens
Major: Political Science and International Affairs

I hope to become a corporate lawyer or to lobby in the agriculture industry. My passion lies in paying attention to the international system and using that knowledge to make changes here in the United States. To me, the Political Science degree is essential to acquiring the necessary knowledge to make changes in the United States, and the International Affairs major helps me recognize the current problems facing our world today. SPIA has given me the opportunity to connect my passions to a career in a way that I could not have found in other schools. With this being said, I feel I have many great things to say about the school, and simply want to give back. The ambassador program seemed like the right place to do this.


Lauren Michelle Anders
Major: International Affairs
Minor: Global Health
Certificate: Global Studies

As a junior, I am still currently exploring many career opportunities. I could see myself pursuing a career as an International Lawyer. My experience as a Congressional Intern has also prompted my desire to serve as a public servant. I am also really fascinated with security. Since childhood, I have only watched crime-related tv shows. I even dressed up as Ziva from NCIS for Halloween. With an International Affairs degree, I could turn my Halloween costume into a reality by working for the CIA, Homeland Security, or NSA. I am certain that whatever path I choose I want to act on the life lesson my parents instilled in me, “Be the change, you want to see in the world.” I had an especially challenging time selecting a major, and spent the entirety of my freshman year undecided. I used this time not to feel pressured into a decision, but instead for exploration. During this time, I found the International Affairs program and SPIA. This school and its programs mirrored my interests, skills, and future career ambitions. I joined the Ambassador Program because it allows me countless opportunities to champion and advocate for the School of Public and International Affairs. I have the privilege of representing the school in the eyes of new students, faculty, alumni, donors, and the local community. As an Ambassador, I also serve as the introduction and foundation to not only the accomplishments of the school but also its community.


Avery Landt
Major: Political Science
Minor: Criminal Justice and Communication Studies

After graduating, I plan to attend law school with the hopes of pursuing a career in criminal and constitutional litigation. I am passionate about making sure that all constitutional rights are upheld. Clerking for a Federal Judge is my dream position straight out of law school. After that, I see myself working either as a Federal prosecutor or entering a private practice. My long-term goal is to become a judge myself! I chose SPIA because of the amazing professors and opportunities offered to me. Politics and law have interested me since middle school and Georgia was the right fit for me. As I start my second year at Georgia, I am excited to start taking classes that relate to my major and interests! I joined the Ambassador program as a way to connect with peers with similar interests to my own and as a way to give back to the school. During my time as an ambassador, I hope to be able to show people what makes UGA and specifically SPIA such a special place!


Christina Hitchcock
Major: Political Science and Communication Studies

Since a fifth-grade debate on a fictional murder mystery, I knew that finding the facts and arguing for the truth was the passion for me. With my education and experiences in SPIA and UGA, my future career path points to arguing for my client in the courtroom. I want to practice in the judicial system in the complex world of anti-trust law. I joined SPIA because it’s a home inside my home of UGA; a home that reaches alumni from Washington D.C to Germany to South Africa to Japan and back home. While I felt the pressure of being in one of UGA’s smaller schools, I knew I was standing on the shoulders of thousands of giants to support me. Within the atmosphere of a large public university, I wanted that tight-knit welcoming crowd of those that share my passions. Within this school, I have found just that: my SPIA family that keeps growing. For what feels like the millionth time, I hear “What’s S-P-I-A?” as those walking behind me read the “I heart SPIA” pin I proudly wear on my bookbag. I’m eager to explain that it isn’t just the best school in UGA but also the perfect home for any career. While being an Ambassador may not put an end to the questions of what the four-letter acronym stands for, I know this program gives me the uplifted voice to show off my SPIA pride in more ways than a pin. Having the position of ambassador lets me talk and walk the part as I meet alumni, peers, potential students, and even visitors to UGA football games. I joined this program to share the passion I have for SPIA, and I am free to do that with the connections I have created and those I have yet to meet, expanding my SPIA network.


Elise Tanyel
Major: International Affairs and Intended Business Management
Certificate: Global Studies

After graduating from UGA I plan on attending graduate school, although I have not yet determined where. After graduate school, I would like to join the Peace Corps and volunteer in the Community Economic Development sector. My ultimate career goal is to become a presidential campaign advisor, or to work as an ambassador for the United Nations. I have always found interest in the way different countries interact with each other, and I have always loved learning about different cultures around the world. SPIA just happened to have the perfect major that incorporates all of this, International Affairs. Although I am only a sophomore at UGA, SPIA has already given me more opportunities than I could ever imagine to network and gain the exact experiences I have been waiting to face since I was a young girl. I joined the SPIA Ambassador program because I want every student to have, or at least to know about, the vast array of opportunities that SPIA has given to me. It is still a relatively small school compared to other schools at UGA; I joined the Ambassador program so I can spread the word about this wonderful program and help students just like me find their niche in such a large institution.


Caylin Bennett
Major: Political Science and Criminal Justice
Certificate: Public Policy and Management Certificate

In the future, I aspire to become a Civil Rights Attorney. With this career, I wish to help and protect those who feel as if their voices are not being heard. I chose SPIA because it was the best school to assist with my desire to help other people. I joined the Ambassador program because I wanted to serve as a liaison between students at the University of Georgia and professionals within SPIA. I also wanted to represent my college in a positive way on and off campus. Fun fact: I actually cannot whistle.


Duyan Beyan
Major: Political Science and International Affairs

My career goal is to work for an international development program or advocacy network. I’ve always loved all things politics and all things international. I knew SPIA would be a perfect match. I heard about it from a friend who did it. I saw it as a great opportunity to get to know the SPIA professors and advisors and also expand our SPIA network on and off campus. Fun fact: I used to have a pet monkey named Jack.


Stephanie Elizabeth Cannon
Major: International Affairs and Arabic
Minor: Russian
Certificate: Global Studies

Following my graduation from the University of Georgia, I plan to earn a master’s degree either through Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program or George Washington University’s Security Policy Studies. After receiving my master’s degree, I plan to become an intelligence analyst for the US government. I chose SPIA because it offers a large network of UGA alumni throughout the country and around the world. Anytime I meet with UGA alumni at networking events, I am constantly impressed by the diverse skills these graduates possess and the groundbreaking research they have conducted. Even more impressive than their resumes, however, is their willingness to offer career advice and insight to current UGA students. SPIA has given me access to professors who have sought to give me support and guidance for my career and has opened doors for conducting research, developing my networking skills, and connecting with other SPIA students. Becoming a SPIA Ambassador will allow me to share with fellow students and the university community what the school has done for me.


Joseph Suen
Major: Political Science

After graduation, I plan to attend law school and become a lawyer. I chose SPIA because I felt that it would prepare me best for the concepts in Law School and because I have a passion for politics. I joined the Ambassador program to further expand my connections and get more involved with SPIA The program was highly recommended by a friend of mine. Fun fact: While I was born in the United States, I have Korean parents and lived in China most of my life.


Faiz Syed
Major: International Affairs

Along with being an International Affairs major at the University of Georgia, I am also a pre-med student. After doing research on Mental Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine this past summer, I am leaning towards child psychiatry as the specialty I want to pursue. I am also intrigued by public health and hope to influence public policy one day as an MD. However, wherever life takes me, I will make the most of it by sticking to my core values and spreading love. SPIA was a no-brainer for me! Learning about international issues empowered me and helps me every day in keeping my life in perspective. Graduating from SPIA will definitely set me apart from most of my peers pursuing medicine. I love that I get to learn the skills of writing, researching, and policymaking as opposed to only learning the hard sciences, which would have occurred if I pursued a science major. I commonly refer to SPIA as the “hidden gem” of UGA. We have driven students, the most qualified professors, and an absolutely wonderful leader in Dean Auer. I had applied to be an ambassador to give back to the school. I always wanted to increase SPIA’s prominence at UGA because we have so much to offer and becoming an Ambassador was the best way to do just that.


Thomas Russell
Major: International Affairs and History
Minor: Portuguese

My studies in SPIA have inspired me to pursue a career within the Department of Defense or the State Department. As a UGA Sophomore, I’m still unsure as to what capacity I’ll work in within these departments, but am leaning towards Intelligence and its impact on National Security. I’ve always had an interest in International Affairs and its intersection with Political Science but never intended to study it in College. One Introduction to Global Issues class and a few SPIA Student Union meetings later and I changed my primary major to International Affairs, and haven’t looked back since. I was immediately encaptured by the opportunities SPIA had to offer, whether it was their incredible roster of professors or the seemingly dozens of affiliated organizations that helped broaden my understanding of International Affairs outside the classroom.  The idea of representing the best College at this University (in my humble opinion) was too good an offer to refuse, and I look forward to working with the program and our affiliates in the years to come.


Mckenzie Griffin
Major: Political Science
Minor: Criminal Justice

I haven’t quite decided pon my career goals yet, but as of right now I am planning on going to law school to become a criminal law attorney. I have always had such a passion for politics so political science seemed like the only major for me. I think since SPIA is a smaller college at the University of Georgia it often gets lost in the mix. I wanted to join the Ambassador program to help connect the SPIA students to resources they need in the way other larger schools on campus do. Fun fact: I am double-jointed in half of my fingers!


Africa Buggs
Major: Political Science and Psychology
Minor: Criminal Justice Studies

I am applying to law school in the fall because I want to become a lawyer. As far as career goals, I am open to owning my own practice one day, or to become a senior partner at a large firm. I am passionate about political science, hence why it is one of my majors. I have always also been interested in international affairs, and I am able to get a view into that with my major and minor in SPIA. This college has amazing counselors and professors and just feels like home to me. I wanted a way to be a face for UGA to people who do not know what we are all about, and a voice for other minorities on campus. I also love to mentor the youth and encourage young people to think about college, and UGA specifically, when deciding what they want to do with their lives.


Alyssa Mora
Major: Political Science and International Affairs
Minor: Spanish

I hope to go to law school and pursue a path in government affairs. Whether that be through the legal side or through the politics side I am still not 100% sure. I chose SPIA because I am super passionate about wanting to enact change within my community. I believe through studying political science and international affairs I am given the building blocks to be able to enact that change that I would like to see. I joined the Ambassador program because I am a UGA Tour Guide, and to be honest all I want to do throughout my tour is speak about SPIA, but that is obviously not realistic. So, through this I figured I could get my opportunity to brag about all the amazing things that SPIA does!


Alexa Grace Hernandez
Major: Political Science and International Affairs

In the future, I want to work in international law for either large companies or on behalf of the United States. If things go as planned, I hope to start my own private practice. I chose SPIA because of the great faculty and community. Coming into UGA as a biology student, I felt lost and overwhelmed in a field that I didn’t truly enjoy. Switching to IA and poly, I felt at home. The professors actively keep me engaged, and they also do their best to help all of their students succeed. I joined the Ambassador program because I wanted to share my own story and to help those new students at the university with their transition into finding their niche. I was lucky to have received guidance from those already in SPIA, and I want to do the same for someone else.


Anjali Patel
Major: Political Science and International Affairs

My future career goals include attending law school to become an attorney in the field of either Immigration Law or Corporate Law. Further down the line, I see myself standing for a local position in public office and eventually securing a job on the Hill. My ultimate goal in whichever career I land in, is to truly set an equal and non-dividing ground for the diversity and unity of all people regardless of superficial particulars.  I chose SPIA due to its ability to truly make someone feel at home. SPIA’s mission creates a school that not only stands for its students but stands for the future generation of SPIA students. Initially, I joined the Ambassador program for SPIA because I wanted to represent my college and make a name for SPIA as we are a small and underrepresented college, but now I see myself joining to help students on campus and to be a friend to any SPIA/non-SPIA student who may be struggling with what they would like their future to look like and to convey what SPIA is and what it could do for them.