Jenna L. Jackson has been an associate at Leavitt Partners in Salt Lake City, Utah, since 2016. Jackson previously worked in Washington, DC, as a legislative intern at USAID. BA: International Relations, 2016.
Gabriel Davis has worked for Trade Services at World Trade Center Utah since the beginning of 2020. Previously, he was an account executive at Awardco, an organization in Orem, Utah, that specializes in employee recognition programs. Davis interned at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in 2015. From 2010 to 2012 he served a mission in Germany. BA: European Studies, 2016.
Megan (Marler) Wood
Megan (Marler) Wood launched Megan Wood Consulting in January 2015. Wood helps individuals achieve higher mental performance. Previously, she was an intelligence analyst at the US Department of Defense. BA: Middle East Studies/Arabic, 2011.
Sandra (Cannon) Cerna
Sandra (Cannon) Cerna is a program coordinator for Go Learn at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Go Learn is an educational travel program for small groups. Cerna previously served as a refugee grant specialist at Salt Lake Community College. By age twenty-one, she had lived in seven countries and could speak three languages. Cerna received an MA in tourism management from Colorado State University in 2019. BA: Latin American Studies, 2010.
Jeffrey D. Glenn
Jeffrey D. Glenn has been an assistant professor of public health at BYU since July 2018. Previously, he worked as a systems change fellow with the END Fund in New York City, raising funds to help eradicate tropical diseases. Glenn received a PhD in public health from Harvard in 2018 and an MPA from the University of Southern California in 2010. BA: International Relations, 2008.
John S. Keller
John S. Keller is president of REDLIST, a computerized maintenance management system that helps heavy-equipment industry-related companies improve safety and expand production. Keller is based in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He received an MBA from BYU in 2013. BA: International Studies, 2005.
Joseph C. Andersen
Joseph C. Andersen serves as director of international government relations at the Alibaba Group in Washington, DC, analyzing and resolving complex legal, legislative, and regulatory issues related to security, cloud migration, the internet of things, mobility, network center modernization, and government procurement. Andersen previously worked as senior manager at Brocade Communication Systems Inc., which specializes in data and storage networking products. He received a JD from George Washington University in 2007 and an MA in international law and legal studies from the University of Oxford in 2006. BA: International Studies, 2004.
Spencer T. Montague
Spencer T. Montague has served as a US government analyst in Washington, DC, since 2010. In 2015 Montague received a certificate in international migration studies from Georgetown University. He also received a master’s in law and diplomacy in 2009 from Tufts University and completed leadership courses in 2008 at the Harvard Kennedy School. BA: International Relations, 2006.
Spencer R. Edgin
Spencer R. Edgin has been an enterprise finance executive at Apple Financial Services in Olathe, Kansas, since 2016. As an executive, Edgin has provided finance and lifecycle management solutions for Apple products to enterprise companies across the central United States. He previously served as assistant vice president of corporate finance at GE Capital in Overland Park, Kansas. Edgin received an MBA from the University of Utah in 2011. While at BYU he participated in Model UN. BA: International Studies, 2003.
Maria (Dincheva) Price
Maria (Dincheva) Price took a new position in 2018 as an expert for the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) in Bern, Switzerland. OTIF strives to improve and promote international railroad traffic. Price previously served as head of EU policy and public affairs in Brussels, Belgium, for the International Union of Wagon Keepers. She received an MA in international law and world order from the University of Reading and a PhD in transport from the University of Oxford. BA: International Studies; Minor: European Studies, 2000.
Jacob G. Miller
Jacob G. Miller has served as vice president of CRM and loyalty at Qatar Airways since August 2018. Miller currently resides in Doha, Qatar. Before joining Qatar Airways, he was senior director for Global Loyalty and Customer Retention with Expedia Inc. in Seattle, Washington. Miller received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in international economics and European studies. BAs: Development and French, 2000.
Gilles François has worked in Germany as the Frankfurt am Main Area welfare manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2015. François received an MBA from Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and an MA in political science from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2002. BA: Development; Minor: Arab and Islamic Studies, 1999.
Colin L. Cropper
Colin L. Cropper is a managing director in the Investment Banking Division at RBC Capital Markets in New York City, where he heads the firm’s automotive franchise globally; this includes automotive suppliers, original equipment manufacturers, and companies operating in the various subsectors of the automotive aftermarket. He advises clients on sales, mergers and acquisitions, and various types of capital raising. Cropper received an MBA in finance from the Anderson School at UCLA in 2002. While at BYU, he served as president of the French club and participated in Model UN. BA: International Relations; Minor: Business, 1996.
Russell C. Rasmussen
Russell C. Rasmussen was appointed in March 2020 as senior director of worldwide education at SnapAV, a commercial audio business based in Draper, Utah, having previously served as director. Rasmussen received a PhD in instructional psychology and technology from BYU in 2003 and an MA in Middle East history from the American University in Cairo in 1997. BA: Near Eastern Studies, 1995.
Laurie K. Batschi
Laurie K. Batschi is a program support officer at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, where she supports the multilateral responsibility and diplomacy team at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator as part of the PEPFAR program. While at BYU, Batschi participated in the Foreign Service Student Organization, Students for International Development, and Sigma Iota Rho. BA: International Relations, 2019.
Ana Nielsen is a transaction specialist at Shareworks by Morgan Stanley in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, an innovative organization that provides equity solutions in company management. In 2018 Nielsen interned with Self-Reliance Services in Otavalo, Ecuador. BA: Latin American Studies, 2019.
William O. Perry IV
In October 2018, the Kennedy Center’s Alumni Achievement Award winner William “Bill” O. Perry IV presented a lecture, “Trump’s Trade Wars: How Tariffs Are Taxing Our Domestic Markets.” Perry works at Perry Homes and is vice president of the Utah Property Rights Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group. He has previously worked as a corporate attorney at Dechert LLP in Pennsylvania, served under Utah governor Jon Huntsman as a member of the Utah Land Use and Eminent Domain Advisory Board, served on the Utah Commission on Civic and Character Education, and worked as a real estate commissioner. After receiving a BA in international relations, Perry graduated cum laude with a JD from BYU. As busy as he is, Perry has not forgotten his alma mater and works as an adjunct faculty member for the Kennedy Center teaching a course on the United Nations. He and his wife, Kacey, are the parents of four children.
Watch Perry’s lecture online at kennedy.byu.edu/events/trumps-trade-wars.
Hannah F. Barton
Hannh F. Barton has been a compliance analyst for Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City since 2016. Barton previously worked as an intern for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. BA: international relations, 2015.
Brooke Zollinger Murphy
Brooke Zollinger Murphy is a researcher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and previously served as an office manager for HELP International in Provo, Utah. Murphy received an MPA from BYU in 2017. BA: international relations, 2014.
Chelsea E. Ashton
Chelsea E. Ashton serves as senior analyst at Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ashton previously worked in international business development at PenBlade for two years. She specializes in quantitative and qualitative analysis, economic development, political science, and economics. BA: international relations, 2014.
Christian S. Maynes
Christian S. Maynes recently transitioned from his associate position at Gemini Investors in Massachusetts to acting manager of assessment management and real estate development at ICO Capital in Salt Lake City. BA: Arabic/Middle East studies, 2013.
William T. Snider
William T. Snider is director of systems and processes at DFPG Investments in Sandy, Utah. Snider is responsible for managing projects within the industry and negotiating strategic relationships with partners such as TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab. Before his exposure to the financial services industry, Snider performed threat analysis as an intelligence analyst in the military. BA: international relations, 2013.
Jeffrey P. Crossley
Jeffrey P. Crossley is a Church history specialist in Salt Lake City for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Crossley focuses on the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. He served a mission in Guatemala from 2001 to 2003. BA: international relations, 2013.
Steven D. Wrigley
Steven Dee Wrigley is the founder and president of Global Outreach Alliance and also serves as director of Chrysalis Inc. Wrigley empowers communities by promoting self-reliance through education, mentoring, and sustainable development solutions. BA: Asian studies, 2010.
Leanna Dellenbach Escobar
Leanna Dellenbach Escobar is a technical writer at Phynd Technologies. Escobar previously taught Spanish at the GLOBE Academy in Atlanta with a focus on international education and program management. She served in the Paraguay Asunción North Mission from 2005 to 2007 and received an MS in international policy management from Kennesaw State University. BA: international studies; minor: Latin American studies, 2005.
Matt Krebs has been executive director of the Japan Society of Boston since 2016. Krebs previously served as research analyst in the communications technology sector at KelCor. He received an MA from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in 2005 and is currently completing his PhD at the University of Kentucky. BA: international studies, 2004.
Adeline Zensius Lambert
Adeline Zensius Lambert recently transitioned from working in product development and data analytics at FRDM to overseeing product operations at Gusto. Lambert previously served as a child-
labor program officer for the International Labor Rights Forum, implementing advocacy plans and conducting labor rights research. She received an MPP from Georgetown University. BA: international relations, 2009.
Patrick M. Rose
Patrick M. Rose is the president and owner of 1st Choice Pilot Car Service LLC, which offers lead, chase, and high-pole services for oversized transportation across the United States. Rose received a TESOL certificate from the International TESOL College in 2006. BA: Latin American studies, 2002.
Michael K. Simpson
Michael K. Simpson has been a senior consultant and executive coach for FranklinCovey since 1987. Simpson concurrently serves as a managing partner for eBusiness Advisory & Consulting Services. He received an MOB from Columbia University in New York City. BA: international relations, 1992.
Olli-Pekka Nissinen is managing director of Kullo Golf Club and sole trader in management and media relations at Tmi Olli-Pekka Nissinen in Helsinki, Finland. Nissinen received a JET specialist degree in sports management from the Haaga-Helia School of Applied Sciences, Vierumäki campus, and an MA in intercultural encounters from the University of Helsinki. BA: international relations; minor: European studies; emphasis: international law and diplomacy, 2001
David S. Lee
David S. Lee has been a senior lecturer at the University of Hong Kong since 2015. Lee received a JD from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MA with emphases in Eastern Asian studies, economic development, and North/South Korea from Harvard University. He also received an MS in organizational and social psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. BAs: international politics and Asian studies; minor: Korean, 2002
Miles Hansen recently stepped down as Director for Gulf Affairs on the U.S. National Security Council to assume a new role as President & CEO of the World Trade Center Utah. He previously served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in Armenia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Washington, D.C., as well as a junior consultant with the International Trade Centre in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He received an MA in International Relations from SAIS at Johns Hopkins University. BA: International relations, 2009
Craig Liening is commander of Company C of the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, a 35-man Airborne Signal Company capable of worldwide deployment within eighteen hours of notification. Liening is responsible for three retransmission teams and three network node teams and supervises all automated information systems, network management, computer network defense, electromagnetic spectrum operations, and information assurance. He served in the Japan Tokyo North and Japan Tokyo Missions from 2006 to 2008. BA: Asian studies; minor: military science, 2011
Collins Carrington is a translator for Maltese and Italian at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. BA: Italian; minors: Middle East studies and global business and literacy, 2015
David N. Campbell
David N. Campbell, a former Canadian civil servant, teaches courses in national security and international relations at BYU–Idaho. Campbell also advises Sigma Iota Rho. He served in the Taiwan Taipei Mission from 1982 to 1984 and received an MA in political science from the University of British Columbia and a PhD, with areas of study in international relations, comparative politics, and China, from the University of Toronto. BA: political science, 198
Al Landeche has been a business process analyst at Goodman Manufacturing since 2005. BA: international relations; minor: management, 2000
Jamieson L. Greer
Jamieson L. Greer is chief of staff in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, part of the Executive Office of the President in—Washington, DC. Previously, Greer worked in two law firms, as area defense counsel at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, and as a JAG officer. He received a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and a joint MA in international law from the Paris Institute of Political Sciences and the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. BA: international studies; minors: European studies, aerospace studies, 2004
Steven J. Stancliff
Steven J. Stancliff is the principal at Pilot Butte Middle School in Bend, Oregon. Stancliff previously served as an assistant principal and a teacher in the Redmond School District. He received an MA in secondary education and teaching from Willamette University and an MA in international and comparative education from the University of Alberta. BA: international relations; minor: Latin American studies, 2002
Nicholas Perona works in corporate sales and opportunity development at Qualtrics, bridging the gap between companies and consumers through analytical research software. He has used his fluency in Spanish to translate code for the company. BA: Latin American studies, 2016
Jasmine M. Turner
Jasmine M. Turner, a teacher at Kimber Leadership Academy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has been an educator for sixteen years. BAs: international relations, Spanish, 1998; MA: Spanish, 2001
Maria Dincheva Price
Maria Dincheva Price is head of EU policy and public affairs for the International Union of Wagon Keepers in Belgium, which deals with transport, freight, rail, infrastructure, rolling stock, and intermodality and logistics. Price has worked in this field for seven years. She received an MA in international law and world order from the University of Reading and a PhD in transport from the University of Oxford. BA: international studies; minor: European studies, 2000
Advocating with Love
Brian Scroggins said he entered BYU not knowing what he wanted to do after graduation. Regarding what changed, he explained, “Latin American studies pushed me to take a variety of courses that allowed me to see the impact of Latin America on the world.”
Scroggins discovered an interest in Latin America during his mission in the Caribbean and decided to pursue that as a major, with a minor in nonprofit management. Those in the department encouraged him to expand his experiences and to take an internship with the Real Salt Lake Soccer Club. “This degree truly has no limits,” he affirmed.
After graduating in 2016, Scroggins is now working on a joint JD/MBA at the University of Kentucky. “Not a day goes by that I don’t use some knowledge I gained at BYU,” he assured. “I have the chance to provide service opportunities for the Latin American community, offer new insights to laws that are in place, and help businesses market their products to Latin American communities.”
Although his love for Latin America began with his mission, it was by pursuing his major that Scroggins found he could make a difference. “By majoring in Latin American studies, I can now act on that passion and stand out from the competition by advocating for the people I love,” he said. “My major was the best thing I could have done to prepare for a postgraduate education and the workforce.”
Prepared to Contribute
Thanks to her degree in Latin American studies and minor in history, 2017 grad Camille Dockery felt ready to enter the professional sphere and be a helpful colleague and contributor in the office. “The professors prepare students well for competitive internships and future careers,” said Dockery. She explained that the courses she took were intensive.
Dockery eagerly welcomed opportunities offered at BYU, and she served as president of the Foreign Service Student Organization. She was also invited to interview for an internship with the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and for a position in Mexico City. Dockery chose to intern with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which turned out to be an important step in her career path. “The regional director told me he was impressed with the qualifications BYU students brought to the table,” she shared. “BYU’s stellar language instruction helped check another box on their list of requirements.”
Dockery’s experiences at BYU have affected other aspects of her life. She said, “The broad liberal arts background provided to Latin American studies majors, as well as the area-specific coursework, have been invaluable to me. I see connections to things I learned in the program constantly—in work, at church, on the Foreign Service test, and in my daily life.”
In summary, she said, “I sincerely believe this major offers opportunities to learn that will help throughout your life to be more well-rounded, empathetic, and knowledgeable.”
Caring for the Underserved Joshua Jaramillo has shown both ambition and compassion in his work since graduating from BYU in 2009. Jaramillo majored in Latin American studies with a minor in Spanish. While at BYU, he served as the president of the Student Association of Latin American Studies, which involved him in many cultural- and service-oriented projects.
He also taught at Centro Hispano and completed a study abroad in Siena, Italy, while researching Italian immigration to Latin America.
After graduating, Jaramillo worked as an elementary and middle school teacher before entering medical school at Stanford University. While there, he helped start the Hispanic Center of Pediatric Surgery at Stanford Children’s Hospital, participated in global surgery research, served as a cochair of both the Latino Medical Student Association and the Surgery Interest Group, and was as a member of the Diversity Advisory Panel for the School of Medicine Admission Committee. Currently, Jaramillo is a general surgery resident at Stanford and plans to participate next year in a pediatric surgery research fellowship at Stanford Children’s Hospital.
Jaramillo has clearly found the work he loves thanks to his experience with Latin American studies. He said, “Latin American studies was the perfect major for me because it allowed me to enhance my passion for the Spanish language and Latin people while also allowing me to cultivate professional skills and pursue my interests in medicine and caring for the underserved.”
Ryan Newell is president and cofounder of Ambrosia Labs, a company that provides infant nutrition through screened breast-milk donations. In addition, Newell conducts research on Muslim immigrants in Britain through the University of Cambridge. BA: Latin American studies; minor: Middle Eastern studies, 2017
Blair Sorensen is a product specialist at Qualtrics, a software company that specializes in market research. BA: international relations; minor: Asian studies, 2016
Graham A. Mcneil
Graham A. Mcneil is a sales analyst at Clean Energy Fuels, a company located in Irvine, California, that emphasizes the conservation and environmentally sound distribution of natural gas in the transportation industry. Through serving a mission in Guadalajara, Mexico, McNeil is fluent in Spanish. BA: international relations; minor: management, 2016
Ruby D. Higgins
Ruby D. Higgins is a customer-solutions associate at Ancestry.com in Provo. Higgins helps to maintain positive relationships between the prominent genealogy company and its customers. She previously tutored English at Kyung Hee University in South Korea. BA: Asian studies, 2016
Joshua G. Bates
Joshua G. Bates works as a resource teacher at Pioneer Elementary in West Valley, Utah. Bates is fluent in Spanish and has received training in iOS programming. BA: Latin American studies; minor: global business and literacy, 2016
Riley J. Johnson
Riley J. Johnson is a paralegal specialist in Provo for Qualtrics, a company specializing in consumer analytics. Much of Johnson’s professional experience deals with human relations and communications. BA: international relations; minor: management, 2015
Kimberley Hintze is a job developer at Deseret Industries in Bountiful, Utah, where she helps people obtain employment by connecting them with suitable hiring companies. Hintze has an extensive history in volunteer programs, including teaching English as a second language and mentoring refugees who have immigrated to the United States. BA: Latin American studies, 2015
Spencer K. Brown
Spencer K. Brown is an associate consultant in the Houston office of Bain & Company, a Big Three strategy consulting firm that advises businesses and organizations worldwide. Brown assists clients in overcoming obstacles and provides business advice. BA: international relations; minor: management, 2015
A. Keith Savage
A. Keith Savage is a lease coordinator at Zions Bank in the Salt Lake City area. Zions Bank is a prominent financial institution throughout the Intermountain West. Savage’s work as a lease coordinator involves financial oversight of properties within the region. BA: Middle East studies/Arabic, 2014
Steven C. Hill
Steven C. Hill is a finance associate at Convergys, which specializes in customer-experience outsourcing. While the company is based in Salt Lake City, Hill oversees international collaboration and is responsible for financial management. He has a strong background in business and has administered courses on self-employment, finance, and marketing strategy. BA: Latin American studies; minor: management, 2014
Daniel W. Draper
Daniel W. Draper is a project manager at OneSpace in St. Louis, Missouri. OneSpace emphasizes workforce management, generating a platform for clients to network with other professionals and provide their services. BA: international relations, 2014
William P. Hussman
William P. Hussman is a management consultant at Arabic Language Solutions in Washington, DC, where he assesses the need for Arabic translation and linguistic assistance for various individuals and organizations in the professional world. His background includes six years with the U.S. Air Force as an airborne cryptologic analyst. He received an MEd in higher education leadership and Arabic curriculum design from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, he studied Arabic language and literature through the American University in Cairo. BA: Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2012
Alan N. Rosenhan
Alan N. Rosenhan serves as a U.S. Army civil-affairs team leader with the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion/411th Civil Affairs Battalion, acting as a liaison between the army and civilian authorities and populations. A resident of Midvale, Utah, Rosenhan also serves as a physical fitness instructor to the fifth-graders at a local Challenger School. He speaks Arabic and French. BAs: Middle East studies/Arabic; minor: military science, 2011
Jeremy M. Huppe
Jeremy M. Huppe is a quality-assurance specialist for Willis Towers Watson, a risk management and insurance brokerage company in the Salt Lake City area. Huppe ensures the functionality of digital assets, testing plans, and verification codes before release. BA: Latin American studies; minor: management, 2013
David J. Gygi
David J. Gygi is a consultant for the Northern Trust Corporation, an organization headquartered in Chicago that provides financial advice to corporations and individuals worldwide. Gygi received a JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and possesses an extensive background in legal work. He also serves in the Army National Guard as a judge advocate, providing legal counsel to administrative
officials. BA: international relations, 2011
Bryan S. Kerr
Bryan S. Kerr is the director of operations at DishOne in Provo. DishOne is the public face of the Fortune 200 company Dish Network. Kerr is responsible for managing logistics and organizational output. He speaks Italian and Hebrew. BA: ancient Near Eastern studies, 2010
Stephen R. Griffiths
Stephen R. Griffiths is a consumer-insights associate at General Mills, one of the world’s leading food companies. At the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Griffiths analyzes the behavioral data of customers to improve and develop products. He specializes in market research and analysis. Griffiths received an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. BA: international relations; minor: management, 2009
Carl H. Brinton
Carl H. Brinton is a program director at Boston Children’s Hospital and a senior fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In addition, Brinton is a researcher on the WomanStats project, compiling quantitative and qualitative data on women’s status worldwide. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a certification in Chinese public policy and analysis through the Chinese Flagship Program. BAs: Asian studies, economics, and Chinese, 2009
Tyler B. Thompson
Tyler B. Thompson is an account executive at Chronus, a software company in the Seattle, Washington, area that develops tools for professional mentorship. Thompson received an MBA in international business from the University of San Diego and an MA in marketing from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico. BA: Latin American studies; minor: Spanish, 2005
Daniel A. Dowler
#KennedyTech Daniel Dowler is a software quality engineer with Dell EMC, based in Draper, Utah, where he works on the Mozy infrastructure team to develop and test features for storing and protecting customer data. Curious about his career pathway from international relations to tech, we asked him a few questions.
How did you start exploring career paths? I’ve had some interesting and great experiences over the years, many of which the international relations program helped prepare me for. I did an internship in Washington, DC, in the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee under Senator Bob Bennett. While there, I met a University of Utah student who was thinking about a Fulbright opportunity. I thought it sounded interesting, so I applied after a year and was selected to study in South Korea. I had proposed to do research on inter-Korean economic relations. While in Korea I realized that I needed more quantitative skills.
What was your next step? I applied to some master’s programs in economics but didn’t get in. The following year I applied to the math graduate program at BYU and somehow convinced them to let me have a go at it, even though I had only minored in math. It was a lot of work, but it gave me skills and confidence in the field. In particular, I had to learn how to program to do some of my thesis research. This gave me just enough computer skill to get into the tech industry as a tech support engineer for enterprise clients. I proved myself there and was able to move up to software engineer.
“I kept at it until something else materialized.”
How did you decide that tech was where you wanted to be? My interest in the tech industry was sparked by a few things: a great work culture, challenging problems to work on, the opportunity to make an impact, and good compensation. The facility I work at has an on-site gym. I received one month of paternity leave when my youngest child was born. And they paid most of my tuition for a second master’s degree—in information and data science from UC Berkeley—which I finished in January. I hope to move into a data science role at some point, which uses programming, math, and statistics.
What has your career strategy been and how has international relations played a role? If I were to sum it up, I’ve just looked for opportunities and applied to a lot of schools, jobs, and internships that I didn’t get. I’m pretty stubborn, so I kept at it until something good materialized. I saw opportunities and challenged myself to work hard toward them. Looking back, the international relations program gave me excellent writing preparation and a good quantitative introduction. It also helped me to appreciate diversity and work well with people of different cultures and backgrounds.
David C. Pollei
David C. Pollei is CEO of Blair Cannon Financial, a company in Provo that provides funding for various organizations in the industries of technology, education, and communication. In addition, Pollei is the chairman of the board of directors for Ominto Inc. and a consultant for NewsCheckMedia LLC. He possesses an extensive background in business and works to provide companies with his industrial insight. BAs: international relations and French, 1968
Melanie Sanders-Smith works independently as a business consultant in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Sanders-Smith draws from years of experience directing and presiding over various institutions, such as the Institute of International Education and Chemonics International, a trade and development company. BA: international relations, 1982; MA: political science, 1984; MBA: 1997
David A. Marsden
David A. Marsden is a representative at the U.S. Department of State, which manages the country’s international relations. Marsden works closely within his original area of study. He currently lives in Saint Charles, Illinois. BA: international relations, 1985
Paul B. Hyde
Paul B. Hyde is the manager of international operations for inthinc Technology Solutions Inc., a Salt Lake City–based telematics company dedicated to safe driving that sells driver monitoring and coaching systems to fleets all over the world, including in North and South America and Europe. The company’s systems are also installed in all NASCAR race cars. BA: international relations, 1992; MBA: 1997
Adam D. Ford
Adam D. Ford is the general counsel at ZYTO Technologies, a biocommunication company that develops software and hardware to monitor personal health. Ford received a JD from Duke University School of Law in 2001 and completed an intensive course in Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in 1998. BA: international relations, 1996
Trevor L. Moulton
Trevor L. Moulton is the district manager for the greater San Diego area at Expeditors International of Washington Inc. A Fortune 500 company with a presence on six continents, Expeditors is an international trade logistics company that oversees international shipping. BA: international studies, 1998
Shane C. Jacobs
Shane C. Jacobs is the strategic relationship manager at OpenWorks facility services, a cleaning and maintenance company based in Phoenix, Arizona. Jacobs previously worked as director of business development for Sodexo. He received an MBA in international business from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University in 2004. BA: international relations; minor: French, 1999
Marianne S. Zaugg
Marianne S. Zaugg is the customer service specialist for Allsop Inc., an international business that manufactures computer and garden accessories as well as bike racks. Zaugg previously worked for the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services and the Utah Department of Workforce Services. BA: international studies, 2003
Sarah M. Stevens
Sarah M. Stevens is a small business consultant and the U.S. representative for Optimal Workshop, a suite of usability tools to help designers make their websites user friendly. Stevens has worked with several small businesses and has been involved with online usability research tools since 2007. BAs: international relations and linguistics; minor: Asian studies, 2004
Brady Mugleston is the director of auxiliary services at Yakima Valley Community College in Washington. Mugleston has lived in Germany, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia. He received an MBA in commerce from Texas A&M University in 2015 and is fluent in Spanish. BA: Latin American studies, 2006
David Jaynes is an attorney in the West Valley City prosecutor’s office. Previously Jaynes worked as a litigation law clerk for three firms. He received a JD in international and comparative law from the George Washington University Law School in 2014 and is proficient in Arabic. BA: Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2009
Jacob M. Andersen
Jacob M. Andersen is the director of international sales for Rustica Hardware, a company based in Springville, Utah, that sells barn doors, hardware, and home décor. Andersen previously worked as an international sales manager for Goal Zero LLC. He speaks Swedish and Arabic. BA: Middle East studies/Arabic; minor: business, 2011
Joshua R. Dennis
Joshua R. Dennis is a deputy sheriff in Franklin County, Washington. His jurisdiction covers the Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco areas. He previously served as a police officer for the Kennewick Police Department and as director of marketing for Saratoga Smiles. Dennis is fluent in Spanish. BA: international relations; minor: Spanish, 2013
David Westley Covey
David Westley Covey works in global licensing for SMCOV, a consulting, training, and coaching company he founded with Stephan Mardyks. Covey speaks—in order of highest fluency—Spanish, Portuguese, and French. BA: international relations, 2014
Lucas C. Miller
Lucas C. Miller is the founder, CEO, head copywriter, and managing content marketer at Echelon Copy LLC, a company based in Provo that focuses on copywriter collaboration in addition to writing promotional content. Miller previously worked as a branded-content writer at Fusion 360, an ad agency in Salt Lake City. BAs: Latin American studies and Spanish, 2014
Jain E. Willis
Jain E. Willis is an administrative assistant at the Refugee and Immigrant Center—part of the Asian Association of Utah. The center is a nonprofit organization that aims to help immigrants and refugees from all over the world become self-sufficient in the United States. Willis administers the center’s database, manages its Facebook page, and assists in fundraising. BA: Asian studies, 2014
Emma Watkins is an account manager for Arena Communications, a Salt Lake City–based company that specializes in campaign publicity for presidential, congressional, state, and local political candidates. Previously, Watkins worked as a staff intern for the U.S. House of Representatives. BAs: political science and Latin American studies, 2015
Alexandra Riehle McDermott
Alexandra Riehle McDermott is a program leader at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Cincinnati, Ohio. The national organization helps low-opportunity youth become productive citizens through mentoring and after-school programs. BA: Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2016
Pam Pitts Smith
Pam Pitts Smith is the office manager for Women’s Services and Resources at BYU. Smith received an MA in counselor education/advisement and guidance services from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2013 and an academic advisement certificate from Kansas State University in 2013. BA: international relations, 1982
Charles M. Willman
Charles M. Willman is on the Corporate Enterprise Business Development team at InsideSales.com, which provides a sales acceleration platform. Willman is fluent in Spanish. BA: international relations; minor: Spanish, 1986
Dan Clark is the director of finance for the South Pacific, Thailand, Southeast Asia, and India area at Callaway Golf in Australia. Callaway Golf is the world’s largest manufacturer of performance golf products, with annual sales of approximately one billion USD. BA: international relations; minor: management, 1992
Scott D. Fairholm
Scott D. Fairholm is currently CIO for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Fairholm received an MPA from George Mason University in 2005. BA: international relations, 1989
Steve T. Reschke
Steve T. Reschke is the training and professional services manager for D+H, a computer-software firm (formerly Harland Financial Solutions) in Portland, Oregon. Reschke is fluent in Spanish. BA: international relations; minor: Spanish, 1989
David C. Deem
David C. Deem is a specialist leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP, working in their technology, strategy, and architecture practice in Chicago. Previously Deem worked for EMC as director of the data center strategy practice for the Americas. He is fluent in Portuguese and conversant in Spanish. BA: international relations; minor: Portuguese, 1993
Bret Paulson is the area vice president of Infusion Sales and Business Development for Walgreens in Los Angeles. Paulson is fluent in Cantonese. BA: Asian studies, 1994
Carlos A. Perez
Carlos A. Perez founded Capersons International Business Consulting LLC, utilizing his experience and knowledge to help service companies develop the Hispanic market in the United States and expand their businesses into Latin America. Perez received an MBA from the University of Phoenix. BA, international relations; minor: Portuguese, 1994
Ashley H. Inman
Ashley H. Inman is the manager of talent acquisition for TopBuild, a Fortune 500 spin-off formed in summer 2015 from Masco Corporation’s installation and services segment in Daytona Beach, Florida. BA: European studies, 1998
David L. Wilson
David L. Wilson is the deputy district attorney for Kern County and an associate professor of law at the University of Phoenix in Bakersfield, California. Wilson received a BA in European history from Pacific Lutheran University in 1989 and a JD from BYU in 2004. MA: international and area studies, 1999
Adam P. Tait
Adam P. Tait is the executive team lead for Sales Floor and Guest Experience at Target in Spokane, Washington. Tait received a JD from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2005. BA: international relations; minor: Russian, 2000
Matthew R. Gardner
Matthew R. Gardner is the new program manager at IVUmed, a nonprofit organization based in Salt Lake City. Previously Gardner was senior manager of international affairs for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute in Arlington, Virginia. BA: international studies; minor: Latin American studies, 2002
Joseph H. Fitzgerald
Joseph H. Fitzgerald is a district manager for Source4Teachers, providing skilled substitute personnel to K–12 school districts. He leads ten employees, who manage more than 2,000 substitutes in 125 locations. Fitzgerald is proficient in Spanish and Portuguese and received an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. BA: international relations, 2005
Rebecca Carroll Edvalson
Rebecca Carroll Edvalson is the community partnership coordinator for Lexikeet Learning, which provides unique tech solutions for bridging barriers when learning a new language. Edvalson’s role is to find mutually beneficial partnerships with community, business, and education organizations. BA: international studies; minor: Latin American studies, 2006
Rory C. Gates
Rory C. Gates, a defense attorney for the U.S. Marine Corps, holds the rank of captain and is stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. Gates previously served as a legal assistance officer and managed the base’s income tax center for two years. He is a graduate of the Naval Justice School and the Basic School 3-13 class. Gates received a JD from Willamette University in 2012. BA: international relations; minor: Scandinavian studies, 2007
Jacob T. Sohn
Jacob T. Sohn is based in London as the Europe, Middle East, and Africa territory manager for ObservePoint, a small Provo-based software company. Sohn uses all of his languages (Filipino, German, Spanish, and Arabic) at least once a week. His wife, Stacy Slight, is a Kennedy Center alumna (BA: international relations; minor: Arabic, 2012) and a full-time mom to their two daughters. BA: Latin American studies, 2008
Jason M. Olson
Jason M. Olson is currently serving as an active-duty U.S. Navy chaplain at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan. He received an MA in Middle East studies and a PhD in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. BA: Ancient Near Eastern studies, 2010
For the last twenty years, Amini Kajunju has been utilizing her experience in entrepreneurial and economic development to improve Africa’s economy. Because of her dedicated work, she was selected to receive the Kennedy Center’s Distinguished Service Award last fall.
Kajunju cares deeply about the African continent, and affecting meaningful change has been challenging. One of her priorities is to educate people who are eager to help Africa with its needs. “Many Americans think that whatever there is in America, we need to transport it to Africa and then life will just be better,” Kajunju said in a KSL interview. But the continent’s problems are complex and specific to its cultures and environments, and solutions must accommodate those variables.
Kajunju also strives to communicate that Africa is a strong continent capable of supporting international business. She says that this knowledge will increase as more people come to understand the African people and see that they aren’t that different from the rest of us: they wake up, send their kids to school, go to work, and seek after dreams and aspirations. Also essential to understanding these people is knowing Africa’s geography. Most people see Africa as a single entity, despite the fact that it consists of fifty-four countries, and they often apply news about one country to the entire continent. (One recent example is the Ebola outbreak, which was present in only three African countries.)
Another way Kajunju seeks to promote economic growth in Africa is by increasing access to higher education throughout the continent. She believes more scholarships should help and encourage Africans to attend college within Africa, not outside of it. Increasing college attendance within the continent will help colleges grow in finances and reputation, provide professional training, and produce educated leaders.
Kajunju hopes that by accomplishing these and similar goals, the world will come to know Africa as a place of entrepreneurship, international business, advanced education, and prosperous living.
Amini Kajunju is the president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute, a nonprofit organization based in the United States and dedicated to strengthening human capacity in Africa.
Alumni on YouTube
A Chicago entrepreneur featured in the Kennedy Center’s 30th—anniversary issue of Bridges,Mari Luangrath is the first to appear in a video segment on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. Luangrath is the owner of Foiled Cupcakes, an Internet-based “cupcakery” that delivers to customers in the Chicago area and to corporate clients nationwide. She attributes much of her success to her location in West Town, an area particularly fruitful for small businesses and in which residents place a high value on family and community life.
Watch our YouTube channel and Facebook page for stories of other alums, such as
Andrew Coy, executive director and founder of Digital Harbor Foundation, a nonprofit tech center for youth based in Baltimore
Amini Kajunju, president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute, an international nonprofit organization based in the United States that is dedicated to strengthening Africa’s development through higher education and skills training
Sisi Messick, account director for Microbenefits, a start-up company in China designed to help decrease factory turnover rates in Asia
Chad Heinrich, growth executive for Domo, a technology start-up in American Fork, Utah
Mark Grover is a senior instructional designer at CA Technologies, a computer software company located in the Washington, DC, metro area. His previous employment includes working at Delex Systems Inc., Intel Corporation, and Boeing. He received an MA in educational and instructional media design from Arizona State University. BA: Near Eastern studies; minor: humanities, 1991
Nayef H. Al-fayez
Nayef H. Al-fayez is the current chair for the National Company for Tourism Development and has been working in Jordan government administration since November 2013. He previously served in Jordan as minister of tourism and antiquities, minister of environment, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board, advisor and managing director of the Dead Sea Institute Project at the Jordan Prime Ministry, and assistant chief of royal protocol at the Royal Hashemite Court in Jordan. MA: international and area studies, 1994; BA: political science; minor: Near Eastern studies, 1992
Dan Clark is the director of finance for the South Pacific, Thailand, Southeast Asia, and India area at Callaway Golf in Australia. Callaway Golf is the world’s largest manufacturer of performance golf products, with annual sales of approximately one billion USD. BA: international relations; minor: management, 1992
Michael Hekking is the vice president of Global Account Management at SIRVA, an outsourcing company based in New York City. He speaks Italian. BA: international relations, 1992
Olin Johnson is a project manager in machinery at Simtek Modular in American Fork, Utah. Johnson also volunteers with the Utah County Search and Rescue. He has previously worked at Action Target and Clinical Research Associates. He speaks Portuguese. BAs: international relations, Portuguese language and literature, 1992
Steve Jensen is the director of state and local tax at McGladrey, an accounting company in the Seattle area. He has previously worked at Grant Thornton LLP, Moss Adams LLP, and KPMG. He received an MS in business management from the Boston University School of Management in 1995. He speaks Italian. BA: international relations; minor: Italian, 1993
David Larsen is an independent researcher, writer, editor, and public speaker; an adjunct professor in the College of Religious Education at Brigham Young University; and an editorial and research assistant for BYU Studies. He previously worked at the University of St. Andrews and American Family Insurance. He recently published In God’s Image and Likeness 2: Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel (Eborn Publishing, 2014) and “Enoch and the City of Zion: Can an Entire Community Ascend to Heaven?” (BYU Studies 53.1, 2014). Larsen received a PhD in biblical studies at St. Mary’s College at the University of St. Andrews and an MA in biblical theology from Marquette University. He speaks Portuguese and Hebrew. BA: Near Eastern studies, 2001
Nikolay Malyarov is the executive vice president, chief content officer, and general counsel at PressReader, a digital publishing company located in Vancouver that he helped build from the ground up. PressReader is now the global leader in multichannel, cross-platform content distribution and the partner of more than three thousand publishers. Malyarov has also worked for NewspaperDirect, a digital newspaper distribution and publishing operator. He received a JD in law and an MA in European studies from the University of British Columbia and a diploma from the University of Bonn in Germany. He speaks Russian and Latvian. BA: international studies; minor: European studies, 2002
John “Jack” Lyon
John “Jack” Lyon is a strategic analyst in ASA(ALT) Strategic Initiatives Group at Abraham Group LLC, an international strategic consulting firm located in the Washington, DC, metro area. He has previously worked for SAIC and the U.S. Department of Defense. Lyon received a degree in defense and strategic studies from Missouri State University. He speaks Spanish. BA: international studies; minor: European studies, 2006
James Wigginton is the law clerk to the Honorable Richard W. Goldberg at U.S. Court of International Trade in New York. He previously worked at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Paul Hastings LLP, and the California Medical Association. He received a JD from Stanford University Law School and an MPhil in international studies from the University of Cambridge. He speaks Russian. BA: international relations, 2009
Mitchell Jones is a mediator in alternative dispute resolution for the city of Los Angeles. He has previously served in the U.S. Army and the Utah Army National Guard. BA: international relations; minor: military science, 2010
Clayton Avery is CEO at CS Intelligence, a company offering translation and localization training in Salt Lake City. He also works in employment at the University of Utah. He speaks Cambodian. BA: international relations, 2011
Leisa Brinton is an education analyst for E-Learning in the Washington, DC, metro area. She also works at Digisoft.tv and previously worked for the American Council of Young Political Leaders, BYU Television International, and the Spanish Embassy—Education Consul. Brinton speaks Spanish and Portuguese. BA: international relations, 2011
Jeff Crossley is a partner and customer advocate at the Corporation of the President in Salt Lake City, where he does professional training and coaching. He also works at Granite Mountain Records Vault. Previously he worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jefferson International Ltd. Crossley speaks Spanish. BA: international relations, 2013
Jessica Dildine is an Arabic interviewer for the School of Social Work at Boise State University. She speaks Arabic. BA: Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2013
Seth Roberts is a senior associate at Coldwell Banker Commercial Intermountain, a real estate agency in Salt Lake City. He previously worked at Marcus & Millichap, another commercial real estate agency. He speaks Tagalog. BA: Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2013
Keaton Robertson is a team lead at InsideSales.com in Provo. Robertson consults developing businesses in SaaS (software as a service). He speaks Jamaican. BS: sociology; minor: international development, 2013
Troy Hart is the ethics and compliance regional manager for the Americas in the global audit division at Huntsman, a chemical company, in the Houston area. He speaks Spanish. BA: international relations, 1995
Robby R. Bruno
Robby R. Bruno is the operations manager at Indcon Inc. in Chapin, South Carolina, a company that provides products and services to enable plants to run more efficiently. Bruno is responsible for the daily operations, including purchasing, inside sales, and customer service. He is fluent in French. BA: international relations, 1996
Chad R. Christensen
Chad R. Christensen is the managing director at Christensen Co., an international trade and development company located in Las Vegas. Christensen speaks Spanish, German, and Italian. BA: international relations, 1996
Parakh N. Hoon
Parakh N. Hoon is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in Roanoke, Virginia. Hoon received a BA from the University of Delhi in 1989, a BA from St. Stephen’s College in 1992, an MA in international studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1994, and a PhD in political science from the University of Florida in 2005. MA: international and area studies, 1996
Michael R. Klein
Michael R. Klein is vice president and group business director for power and mining at Savage Services in Salt Lake City. JD and MBA: 1999; BA: international relations, 1996
Natalie K. Jensen
Natalie K. Jensen is a contractor for the Educational Testing Service at the University of South Carolina. She received a PhD in geography from the University of South Carolina. Jensen speaks Arabic. MS: geography, 2002; BA: Near Eastern studies, 1997
John Southerland Jr.
John Southerland Jr. is the program manager at Xorail Construction in Jacksonville, Florida. Southerland is responsible for managing a large railroad project in Brazil. BA: international relations, 1998
Sarah Bringhurst Familia
Sarah Bringhurst Familia is the marketing coordinator at Netpique, a sales outsourcing company, in Deltona, Florida. Familia speaks Spanish and Italian. BA: Near Eastern studies, 2001
Leanne Ladd is the senior operations associate at CapitalSource, a financial services company, in New York City. BA: international studies, 2002
Maren Lehmann is the chief executive officer at MO Group International, an online marketing strategies and services company located in Brussels. Lehmann speaks German, French, and Dutch. BA: international studies, 2005
Claudia Rios Boswell
Claudia Rios Boswell works in nonprofit organization management for Refugee and Empowerment Services for the Catholic Charities of Dallas in Dallas. Boswell speaks Spanish and French. BA: international studies, 2005
David R. B. Jackson
David R. B. Jackson is the territory manager for Onset Dermatologics, a medical devices company, in Palo Alto, California. Jackson speaks Spanish. BA: Latin American studies, 2007
Timothy N. Koide
Timothy N. Koide is the manager at Mitsubishi Corporation for the Americas, in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Koide specializes in international trade and development and received an MA in international relations and economics from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Koide speaks Japanese. BA: Asian studies, 2007
Jacob T. Sohn
Jacob T. Sohn is an inside sales representative at Adobe in Lehi, Utah. Sohn speaks Filipino, Spanish, German, and Arabic. BA:Latin American studies, 2008
Mariko W. Robertson
Mariko W. Robertson is the logistic coordinator and sales assistant at Marubeni America Corporation, a health, wellness, and fitness company, in Stanford, California. She speaks Japanese. BA: international relations, 2010
Matthew D. Cox
Matthew D. Cox is the global project coordinator at VitalSmarts, a corporate training and leadership development company located in Provo. Cox manages projects and processes in accounting, marketing, logistics, and events to support the global vice president and the eighteen global partner offices. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese. BA: Latin American studies, 2010
Nathan A. Wertz
Nathan A. Wertz is the strategic services consultant at DealerSocket, a company that provides customer relationship management and dealership training to automotive dealers throughout the United States and Canada. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish. BA: international relations, 2011
Sage H. Hale
Sage H. Hale is an analyst at Goldman Sachs, an investment banking company, in Salt Lake City. Hale is fluent in Spanish. BA: international relations, 2011
Jared M. Conover
Jared M. Conover is currently the acquisition manager for the U.S. Department of Defense. Conover is also the owner and cofounder of The Siege Race, headquartered in Odenton, Maryland. He knows Bokmål, Norwegian, and German. He is currently an MBA candidate, focusing on international business and corporate strategy, for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. BA: international relations, 2011
Erin Meyers is the resource coordinator at MultiLing Corporation, a translation and localization company in Provo. Meyers speaks Thai. BA: international relations, 2012
Jason S. Livingston
Jason S. Livingston is the cofounder and senior consultant for Start With Care Consulting LLC in Purcellville, Virginia. Livingston’s private boutique consulting practice specializes in services such as customer contact strategy and brand management. He received a PMP in project management from ESI International. BAs: international relations, 2013; Russian language and studies, 2013
Jesse F. Thomas
Jesse F. Thomas is the intelligence analyst at the T-Rex Corporation, an information technology consulting company, in Washington, DC. He speaks Arabic. BA: Middle East studies and Arabic, 2013
Richard G. Reynolds
Richard G. Reynolds is the executive vice president at Agincourt Solutions, a media monitoring and analysis company for government and commercial consumers. He also owns Mideast Consultants, a consulting firm focused on the Middle East and North Africa offering services and investment opportunities. Reynolds was an officer in the U.S. Army for thirty years and served overseas in Germany, Tunisia, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Reynolds received an MA in international relations from Boston University in 1978. BAs: European studies, political science, 1974
Jay R. Rollins
Jay R. Rollins is the senior audit manager for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in Washington, DC. Rollins previously spent twenty years as a Foreign Service auditor with USAID, working mostly in Africa and the Middle East. MBA: 1983; BA: international relations, 1981
Kendall W. Stiles
Kendall W. Stiles is the international relations major coordinator at the David M. Kennedy Center and a professor of political science at BYU. Previously, Stiles taught at Loyola University Chicago and at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He received a PhD in political science from Johns Hopkins University in 1987. MA: political science, 1983; BA: international relations, 1982
Robb A. Louk
Robb A. Louk is a cardiovascular specialty sales representative at Daiichi Sankyo, an innovative pharmaceutical company, in Chicago. BA: international relations; minor: French, 1985
Garrett M. Scott
Garrett M. Scott is the HRIS manager for talent management technology at Sabre Holdings in Southlake, Texas. Scott previously worked as a curriculum developer with Sabre Holdings. BA: international relations; minors: Spanish, economics, 1988
Sean A. McKitrick
Sean A. McKitrick is vice president of Middle States Commission on Higher Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to this, McKitrick was the assistant provost and director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at Binghamton University in New York. He received a PhD in political science from Claremont Graduate University. MA: international and area studies, 1992; BA: international relations, 1990
Gregory P. Cook
Gregory P. Cook is the executive vice president and cofounder of doTERRA International in Orem, Utah. Cook previously worked as the senior director of international development at Young Living Essential Oils. He speaks Swedish. BA: international relations; minor: Scandinavian studies, 1993
David C. Deem
David C. Deem is the practice director of the Data Center Strategy and Consolidation for the Americas at EMC, a multinational data storage company, in Chicago. Deem was previously the managing principal at EMC. He is fluent in Portuguese. BA: international relations; minor: Portuguese, 1993
Derek E. Baird
Derek E. Baird is the director of consumer product development at the Walt Disney Company in Palo Alto, California. In February 2012 Baird was awarded the Disney Inventor Award for a patent related to teen use of social media, online safety, COPPA compliance, entertainment technologies, and mobile technologies. He also works as a social media strategist and entertainment consultant for private music and entertainment industry clients in the Los Angeles area. Baird received an MA in educational technology from Pepperdine University in 2003. BA: American studies, 1994
Jonathan R. Kehr
Jonathan R. Kehr is a logistics officer for the Marine Aircraft Group 12, First Marine Aircraft Wing, in Iwakuni, Japan. Prior to this, Kehr was a future operations logistics plans officer for G-3, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command (Forward), in Bahrain. He received an MBA in acquisition and contract management from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2003. BA: international relations; BS: geography, 1997
Ray Mantle is the chief compliance officer at Huawei Device USA, a leading telecom solutions provider in Plano, Texas, where he was previously director of human resources. Prior to joining Huawei, Mantle practiced law. JD: 2004; BAs: Asian studies, Chinese, 1998
Kelly W. Jarrett
Kelly W. Jarrett is the deputy director of finance and planning for global development for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. Jarrett previously worked as a senior financial analyst for Applied Biosystems. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and German. BA: global economy; minors: Latin American studies, -management, 1999
Christopher L.A. Meek
Christopher L.A. Meek is the general manager of global marketing and product development for the Americas at Korloff PARIS in Beverly Hills, California, as well as chairman of Business Arabia Executives. Meek previously worked in several capacities for Gulf Holdings and Nu Skin Enterprises. He is fluent in -Japanese and continues to study French, German, and Arabic. BA: international relations, 1999
David A. Goodman
David A. Goodman is the regional manager for Latin America at Young Living Essential Oils in Lehi, Utah, where he previously worked as new market development manager. Goodman speaks fluent Spanish. BA: Latin American studies, 2000
Kurt D. Holmgren
Kurt D. Holmgren is a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. Previously, Holmgren was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Brasília, Brazil. He speaks Portuguese and Polish. BA: global economy; minors: European studies, political science, 2001
Greg P. Jensen
Greg P. Jensen owns Mayan Running Adventure, a hiking and trail-running adventure tour company based at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Jensen previously worked as a project engineer for Jacobsen Construction. He speaks Spanish and received a BA in construction management from Utah Valley -University. BA: global economy; minor: Latin American studies, 2001
Kurt W. Updegraff
Kurt W. Updegraff is a management officer in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State in London. Updegraff’s previous assignments include U.S. embassies in Rabat, Morocco; Zagreb, Croatia; and Singapore. He speaks Vietnamese and received an MPIA in security and intelligence studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003. BA: international law and diplomacy; minor: Asian studies, 2001
R. Scott Fife
R. Scott Fife is the senior manager of customs and international trade at Ernst & Young in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Previously, Fife worked with the Schott plant team in Suzhou, China, as an independent SAP consultant. He speaks Korean and Mandarin. BA: international studies; minor: Korean studies, 2002
David N. Jeppesen
David N. Jeppesen is a senior consultant at Prowess Consulting in Seattle. Previously, Jeppesen worked as a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Department of State for almost four years. He has worked in the Office of Japan Affairs and at the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, Mexico, and speaks Spanish and Hungarian. MPA: 2004; BA: Asian studies; BS: mathematics; minors: history, art history, 2002
W. Shayne Black
W. Shayne Black is a manager of global real estate and workplace enablement finance at American Express in Arizona, where he was previously a senior financial analyst. Black speaks Japanese and received an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2008. BA: international studies; minors: -Japanese studies, management, 2003
Ryan R. Booth
Ryan R. Booth is the director of sales and marketing for Latin America at Atlantic Zeiser in New York City. Booth previously worked as sales manager for the Americas at PerfectProof USA (now AxonGraphix). He speaks Spanish and Portuguese. BA: Latin American studies; minors: international studies, management, 2004
Kathleen De Heide Gallentine
Kathleen De Heide Gallentine is an international student advisor at Central Washington University in the Seattle area. Gallentine previously worked as a career specialist at Lake Washington Institute of Technology. She received an MA in education from the University of Washington Bothell in 2012. BA: Asian studies; minors: Japanese, ballroom dance, 2004
Jonathan Osterlund is a high school teacher at Västerås Fria Gymnasium in Stockholm, Sweden, where he teaches courses in international development aid and international relations and directs Model United Nations. Osterlund also takes students on international field study trips to places such as Ghana, Ireland, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. BA: international studies; minor: African studies, 2005
David D. Stoker
David D. Stoker is the change manager for private individual and foundation partnerships at Ashoka, an international citizen-sector organization in Washington, DC, where he previously worked as a revenue analyst. MPH: 2007; BA: international studies; minors: Asian studies, management, ballroom dance, 2005
Andrew J. Zvirzdin
Andrew J. Zvirzdin is a political/economic officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal, Canada. Zvirzdin received an MPA from Syracuse University in 2010, an MA in international affairs from Johns Hopkins University in 2010, and a European Union studies certificate from the University of Washington in 2006. He speaks Swedish and French. BA: international relations; minor: Scandinavian studies, 2007
Wade S. Hansen
Wade S. Hansen is a captain in the U.S. Air Force and the senior cybersecurity manager at Fort Gordon, Georgia, where he leads a team in identifying and mitigating cybersecurity threats to the United States. Prior to this Hansen was a lieutenant at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and was deployed to Iraq. He speaks Arabic and German and received an MA in strategic intelligence from American Military University in 2012. BA: Middle East studies/Arabic; minors: German, aerospace studies, 2008
Allen V. Knight
Allen V. Knight is the managing director of external affairs for Teach for America in Detroit, Michigan. Knight previously spent two years as a Teach for America corps member. BA: international relations; minor: Spanish, 2009
Jared S. Moon
Jared S. Moon is a cotton trader at Ecom Trading in Mexico City. Moon was a research intern for Gaiacor International, where he evaluated privately funded agricultural business opportunities in Africa (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, and Senegal) and in South America (Argentina and Uruguay). He received an MSc in political economy of late development from London School of Economics and Political Science in 2011. BAs: Latin American studies, economics, 2010
Nathaniel J. Haight
Nathaniel J. Haight is a sixth-grade reading teacher at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, Texas, where he works with 160 underprivileged students. Haight was formerly a Teach for America corps member in Houston. BA: Spanish; minor: international development, 2011
Sisi Messick is an account manager for Micro Benefits in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. This start-up was recognized as “one of the five most innovative financial inclusion solutions for the working poor around the world” by the 2012 G20 Summit in Mexico City. Messick speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. BA: international relations, 2011
Robb J. Taylor
Robb J. Taylor is an analyst at NC4, a data management and analysis company in Merrifield, -Virginia. Prior to this Taylor worked for the Romney for President campaign and as a research assistant at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at National Defense University in Washington, DC. He speaks fluent Spanish. BA: Latin American studies; minor: philosophy, 2011
Trenton Fairbanks is a financial analyst at Boeing. Fairbanks received an MBA from the University of Hawaii—Manoa in 2005. BA, international studies, 2003
Nada Wer is the American relations officer at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Wer previously worked in aid coordination at MOPIC. She received an MSc from the University of Reading in 2007. BA, international relations, 2006
Kelly Jenson is the senior vice president at Xerox Corporation. Jenson was previously a managing director of healthcare at Payer & Insurance. He speaks Spanish and received an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in 2004. BA, international relations, 1994
Steve Bodhaine is the founder and managing director of Health MindScape, a consulting firm that works to engage clients in health and wellness initiatives. Bodhaine was previously the group president and director of global health practice at Yankelovich/the Futures Company, and was also the senior vice president of Wirthlin Worldwide. He received an MBA from the University of California—Irvine in 1998. BA, international relations, 1986
Lynne A. Dixon
Lynne A. Dixon was the executive director for Habitat for Humanity—Calcasieu Area. Dixon was previously an attorney at Northcutt, Clark, Gardner, Hron & Powell, and an associate attorney at James L. Merrill, Attorneys at Law. She received a JD from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver in 1990. BA, English, international relations, 1986
Bradley Ganz is the regional sales manager at Stillwater Designs, Inc. Ganz previously worked as an estate and business analyst at MassMutual Financial Group. BA, international relations, Asian studies, 1993
Ken Rogerson is the director of undergraduate studies for Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Rogerson was a research director for DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. He received a PhD from the university of South Carolina—Columbia in 1993. MA, international relations, 1991; BA, journalism studies, 1990
Erik Hansen is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and commander of the 437th airlift wing. Hansen previously worked as a special advisor to the secretary of transportation in the U.S. Department of Transportation. He speaks German and has received MS degrees from the U.S. Army War College in 1998, the Air Force Institute of Technology in 2002, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2002. BA, international relations, 1998
Bruce Brewer is a clinical psychologist at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Brewer has also worked as the Chaplain Lt Colonel at the Utah National Guard. He speaks conversational German and has published in Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy. PhD, counseling psychology, 2005; MA, counseling psychology, 1990; BA near Eastern studies, 1987
Ryan Cleveland is a partner and owner at Cleveland & Robbins, P.C., a law firm in Bainbridge, GA. Cleveland previously worked for the South Georgia Judicial Circuit and was a law clerk for the City of Macon, GA. He received a JD from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law in 2005. MPA, international relations, public administration, 1999
Rob Hamill is a consultant and GovLab innovation fellow at Deloitte Consulting. Hamill speaks Haitian Creole and Spanish proficiently and is fluent in French. BA, international relations and French studies, 2009
Japen Hollist is the second vice president of strategic sourcing and procurement at Aflac. Hollis received an ALM from Harvard University Extension School in 2011. MS, geography, 1999; BA, international relations, 1993
T.J. Thomander is the director of communications at TechChange, a technology training company. Thomander previously worked for Future Foundation, a consumer and business trend think tank, as a trend spotter. He speaks business-level Spanish. BA, international relations, 2011
Sarah Holden is a fellow at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C. Holden previously worked as an assistant producer at ARCLITE Video Production Lab. She was an intern and research assistant for Joseph Biden as part of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in summer 2008. Holden speaks Romanian and French. BA, European studies, 2012
James Anderson is a research analyst at the Energy & Geoscience Institute. Anderson speaks French and received an MSc from the University of Wales—Aberystwyth in 2012. BA, European Studies, 2009
Nathan Murray is a management analyst at Provo City Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. Murray previously worked as a planner and planning technician for Provo city, and he speaks Spanish. BA, Latin American studies, 2001
Jason Stephen is an operational excellence manager at Whirlpool Corporation in Shanghai, China. Stephen previously worked as a sales development sales representative at Whirlpool Corporation. BA, Asian studies; minor: business management, 2010
William Jameson Fox
William Jameson Fox is a legal intern at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation—Appellate in Washington, D.C. Fox previously worked as a legal intern at the Northern Virginia Family Service—Multicultural Human Services. BA, international relations; minors: Mandarin, Arabic, 2011
Dallin Palmer is a client marketing manager at Zinch in Beijing, China. Palmer worked as a translator for CH4 Energy Corp and as a Chinese-speaking sales support representative at Nu Skin Enterprises. BA, international relations; minors: economics, Chinese, 2012
John Schleiffarth is an attorney at John C. Schleiffarth, P.C. in St. Louis. Schleiffarth previously worked as a law clerk for Fisher & Frommer, PLLC. He received a JD from the Dwayne O. Andrews School of Law at Barry University in 2010. BA, international law and diplomacy, 2005
David Stott works in neuroscience sales at Eli Lily and Company. Stott was previously an international business consultant and research analyst at Atlas International Partners LLC, where he directly assisted the CEO and completed projects focusing on the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe. He also worked as an international relations research associate at the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he conducted research regarding international trade. BA, international relations, 2010
Michael Gray is an operations manager at ShoreBank International. Gray worked as an advisor to social enterprise in Africa at Tilapiana, a trade and development company that promotes business in Ghana. He was a private sector development and microfranchising consultant at Fairbourne Consulting in Sierra Leone and India and a director of operations at In Our Own Quiet Way, a nonprofit organization that provides clean water to Kenyans. Gray speaks Spanish and Arabic. MPA, 2010, BA, Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2006
Scott Fleming is the president and vice chairman of Madison Education Group, an education management consulting firm. Fleming was the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the senior vice president at Scranton. Previous to that he served as the director of Chartwell Education Group and the senior education policy advisor at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions. MA, international and area studies, 2001
Eric Talbot is the chief of the Southwest Border Threats Branch at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Talbot previously worked as a border security analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, a counternarcotics analyst at the U.S. Department of Navy, and as a consular fraud analyst at the U.S. Department of State. He received an MA in international affairs from George Washington University in 2004. BA, international affairs, 2001
Craig Starkey is the senior HR manager at Maxim Integrated. Starkey previously worked as a human resources manager and a labor relations leader at General Electric. He speaks Chinese. BA, international studies, 2001
Paul Edwards is the SAP practice director at Leeyo Software. Edwards was a senior project manager at Allergan Pharmaceuticals and owned Altima Consulting. He was a senior system consultant at Advanced Medical Optics and a senior consultant at Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. BA, international relations, 1998
Kevin Ellsworth is a senior lecturer of interdisciplinary and liberal studies at Arizona State University. Ellsworth was previously a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science at Brigham Young University. He speaks German and received a PhD in political science from Arizona State University in 2003. MA, international relations, 1995; BA, political science, 1994
Lauren Woodmansee is the programming manager at AOL. Woodmansee was previously an associate editor at ProQuest Information and Learning. BA, international relations, 2010
Bryan Lowry is an investigative specialist at The Hartford, a company that provides insurance and wealth management services. Lowry was previously an investigative analyst and a senior claims analyst at The Hartford. BA, Latin American studies, 1997
David R. Taylor
David R. Taylor is the vice president at DoxTec, Inc., an electronic documents management company. Taylor was previously a visiting lecturer at Indiana University—Bloomington and a consultant to the state of Indiana. He speaks Spanish and received an MPA and MIS from Indiana University—Bloomington in 2000. BA, Latin American studies, 1998
Brent Jones is the senior watch officer for U.S. Transportation Command in St. Louis, where he analyzes world events and provides updates to leadership. Jones previously served in force protection intelligence with U.S. Air Forces Central at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. He received an MA in global leadership from the University of San Diego. BA, international relations, 1995
Ross Tucker is a law clerk with the U.S. District Court in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. Tucker previously was an associate in the Antitrust Group for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He speaks Portuguese and received a JD from the University of Chicago Law School. BA, international relations, 2005
James L. Howard
James L. Howard, Jr. is the FAOweb director at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California. Howard was the chief information officer at the Defense Language Institute prior to his assignment at NPS. He has proficiency with Arabic, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish and received an MA in national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School. BA, international relations, 1991
Matthew L. Bohn
Matthew L. Bohn is the resident country director in the Philippines for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), where he oversees economic development programs. Prior to this post he served as deputy vice president for administration and finance for MCC. Bohn speaks Spanish and received an MIPP from the George Washington University. BA, Latin American studies, 1996
Nathan Sheranian is in his third rotation in organization and talent development for the Human Resources Leadership Program (HRLP) at General Electric in Africa with a focus on Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, and Ghana. Previously, Sheranian was the compliance manager with Beluga Ventures, LLC, a startup in Utah. He speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. BA, international relations, emphasis in Asian history and politics; minor: music
Ahmed Qureshi is president of Q-Telligence Solutions, LLC. Qureshi also received a PhD in humanities with an emphasis in Middle East and Mediterranean studies from King’s College, an MBA in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and attended the Naval War College and National Defense University–Joint Forces Staff College. BA, Near Eastern studies; minor: Arabic, 1995
Cathy Ackerson is the vice president and commercial relationship manager at M&T Bank in Toronto, Canada. Ackerson also worked as a legislative correspondent to U.S. Senator Robert F. Bennett. She received an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. BA, international relations, German, and Russian, 2000
Patrick M. Didier
Patrick M. Didier is a managing partner at Passport Financial, LLC. Didier also served as executive vice president of sales at Speaking Roses International, Inc., executive director at TIC Real Estate Association, and executive vice president of global sales at Daily Dose Learning. BA, international relations and business, 1992
Ryan Coles is a portfolio analyst at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Coles was previously a partner at Motus International and a program/curriculum director at Zaytoon International in Amman, Jordan. BA, Middle Eastern studies/Arabic, 2009
Stephen Zwahlen is the capture manager at SOS International, Ltd, an operations support company. BA, international trade and finance, 2001
Jeffrey M. Jones
Jeffrey M. Jones is the president of JMax Asociados SC in Mexico City, Mexico. Jones was previously a venture partner at Alta Growth Capital. BA, international relations, 1982
James Rogers is an associate at Osborn Maledon. Rogers previously worked as a research assistant for the Federalist Society. He also received an LLM from the University of Cambridge and a JD from Harvard Law School. BA, international relations, 2005
Jason Stephen is an operational excellence manager at Whirlpool Corporation. BA, Asian studies; minor: business management, 2010
Leanna Escobar is an international education consultant at Utah Valley University. Escobar received an MS in international policy and management from Kennesaw State University. BA, international studies, Latin American studies, 2005
Nathan Seifert (BA European studies) is a commercial officer with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service—a career path that requires all applicants to pass the Foreign Service written and oral exams. After spending much of his earlier career in the private sector, he now works with firms in a variety of sectors, from concrete batch plant manufacturers to the top tech firms, assisting them in global expansion plans by coordinating with colleagues in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. This September he will begin Chinese-language training at Diplomatic Language Services in Virginia in preparation for assuming a three-year post at the Beijing, China embassy.
Watch “The U.S. Commercial Service: A Career in Diplomacy, Business, and Life Abroad,” his Kennedy Center presentation from 2 February 2012 online at kennedy.byu.edu/archive.
Luis Camara Manoel
Luis Camara Manoel is a senior program manager at Microsoft Corporation. Manoel was previously a senior program/project manager at Novell, Inc. He received an MBA from the Washington Campus at the University of Phoenix in 2007. BA, international relations, 1999
Jason Olson is a writing instructor at Brandeis University. Olson previously worked as a graduate advisor at the TAMID Israel Investment Group, where he educated students on strengthening ties between the U.S. and Israel through business. He received an MA from Brandeis University in Middle East studies this year and is currently working toward a PhD in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis. BA, Middle East studies, 2010
Stanford Swinton is the case team leader at Bain & Company, a top consulting firm. Swinton previously served on the finance committee for the U.S. Senate. He received an MBA from the University of Oxford Business School and a JD from the George Washington University Law School. BA, international studies, 2004
Kristina Southam is an administrative assistant at Macfadden. Southam previously worked with Musana Jewelery, which sells jewelry made by Ugandan women and uses the profits to support these women with income and education. BA, Latin American studies, 2010
Jared Johnson is an associate at Greene, Roberts, and Rasmussen, PLLC in Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnson specializes in tax law, ERISA, employee benefits, and executive compensation. He received an LLM in taxation from the University of Alabama and a JD in Law from Pepperdine University. BA, International Law and Diplomacy, 2001
Silene Walters is a CPA, MAS, small business consultant, and tax expert in Rockford, Illinois. Walters also acts as a member of the taxation committee in Individual Taxes at the Illinois CPA Society and president at Walters Accounting Inc. She received an MA in accounting and taxation from Northern Illinois University Business College. BA, International Relations, 1993
Davis Smith is the founder and co-CEO of baby.com.br, Brazil’s one-stop-shop for baby products online. This concept won Smith first-place at Harvard Business School’s Business Plan Contest. BA, International Studies; minors: Management, Latin American Studies, 2003
Andria McQueen is a project manager at ACF Solutions, a business systems consulting firm focused on implementing software as a service solution for clients worldwide. BA, International Studies, 2000
Andreas A. Söderström
Andreas A. Söderström is a technical consultant at IM Flash Technologies LLC, a joint venture of Micron Technology and Intel, formed to manufacture NAND Flash memory. BA International Relations; minors: Latin American Studies, Sociology, 2003
Robert Rogers is board chairman at Partners for Self-Employment and managing attorney at his law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rogers’ firm is a specialized, cross-border full support, international law firm comprised of seasoned former general counsels or associate general counsels of U.S. fortune companies. He received a JD from University of Minnesota Law School. BA, International Studies, 2006
Jared Paget is a supply chain manager at NUK U.S.A. in Madison, Wisconsin. Paget received an MS in international business from J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. BA, International Law and Diplomacy, 2000
Carlos Perez is the president of Kitchen Fair International in the Dallas, Texas area. Perez is responsible for directing and conducting all aspects of the business of Kitchen Fair globally in accordance with the company’s policies, goals, and objectives. He received an MBA from the University of Phoenix. BA, International Relations; minors: Latin American Development, Portuguese, 1994
David C. Maness
David C. Maness is a Foreign Affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Maness received an MA in international policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. BA, French, 1996
Zachary Davis is president of Kanon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Davis was previously a junior fellow in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. BA, International Relations, Philosophy, 2009
Ryan Meldrum is a senior manager in global sales operations at FedEx Kinko’s in Dallas, Texas. Meldrum received an MBA from the Las Vegas College of Business at the University of Nevada. BA, International Relations, 1996
Rachel Strawn Thibodeaux
Rachel Strawn Thibodeaux is the chief operating officer at Nine by Blue, a site dedicated to marketing and greater search visibility on the web based in Seattle, Washington. BA, International Relations, 1997
Ian Davis works as a staff attorney in Washington, D.C. at the Grameen Foundation. Previously, Davis worked as a research intern at Grameen Bank, a law clerk at Scribner & McCandless, P.C., and a program officer at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Davis received a JD from Pepperdine University in 2009. BA, International Studies, 2004
Kevin Ryan Jenkins
Kevin Ryan Jenkins is a Battle Captain and Blackhawk pilot in the U.S. Army. Jenkins has previously served as the Battalion Commander’s Adjutant managing personnel and human resource issues for approximately 250 soldiers, a Senate District 12 chair in Salt Lake County for the Republican Party, and as a personnel and administration officer at the Utah Army National Guard. He is currently working on an MBA from Indiana University and received an MS from Thunderbird School of Global Management. BA, International Studies, Chinese Studies, Military Science,2005
Joe Bright is the principal at Texas Consumer Choice, Inc. in Austin, Texas. Bright has worked as the benefits and compensation manager at Nana Management Service, LLC, as an expat contractor at Service Employees International, Inc., and as manager HSE at Loadcraft Industries, Ltd. BA, International Relations, 1982
Steven Dorsey is working in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica as the country director. Dorsey has also worked as the program manager of the DHHS/OMH program and as vice president and director of Capture Management at SiloSmashers and as the regional director over Latin America and Caribbean at Project HOPE. MA, International Relations, 1991
Levi Baker is an IT project manager at Lexis Nexis, a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets in West Palm Beach, Florida. BA, International Studies, 2002
Ryan Bastian is a microfranchise and marketing consultant at the German Society for International Cooperation in Stockton, California. BA, Russian, economics, international development, 2009
Garrett Bradham is a global sourcing analyst at InterContinental Hotels Group in Milan, Italy. BA, international relations, business, Global Management Certificate, 2008
Sam Bringhurst is a consultant in environment and natural resources, sustainable development, and international affairs in Washington, D.C. Bringhurst received an MA in international affairs from American University and an MA in natural resources and sustainable development from Universidad para la Paz. BA, environmental science, international studies, 2001
Craig Bruschke is a contract manufacturing manager in Singapore at Agilent Technologies—the world’s premier measurement company. Bruschke received an MBA from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University. BA, international relations; minor: business management, Spanish, 1996
Logan Clark is a research associate for J-PAL South Asia in Ahmedabad, India. Clark works with a team of economists and other research associates in conducting two impact assessments of Indian government energy efficiency and environmental sustainability programs. BA international relations, economics, 2007
Donald Cordell is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Uganda. BA international politics, European politics, security studies, 2005
Jesse Curtis is a Foreign Service Officer with more than twelve years of service in Asia, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere. Curtis’ professional focus is on political risk analysis, political-military relations, policy formulation and implementation, and public relations. He received an MA in international studies from the University of Washington. BA, international relations, 1992
James Dawson is a consultant at Ingenuity Enterprises a Management Consulting company in Albany, New York. Dawson received an MBA from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. BA, international relations, Asian studies, 1993
Scott Fairholm is chief of policy, planning, and performance management at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office for Information Technology in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Fairholm oversees statewide IT strategic planning, policy and standards development, enterprise architecture, research and development, enterprise project management office, and all IT procurements. He received an MPA in public administration from George Mason University. BA, international relations, 1989
Leonard Farnsworth assists and supports U.S. companies attempting to do business with Korean companies as an executive consultant at Korea Export and Import Trade Promotion Agency (KOTRA). Farnsworth works out of Los Angeles, California to provide customized professional services to support the entry and successful establishment of foreign companies in Korea. MBA, BA, Asian studies, Korean, Japanese, 1985
Joseph Fitzgerald is director of operations at ARAMARK in Friendswood, Texas. ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities, and businesses around the world. BA, international relations, business, 2005
Bob Griffitts is the director of east coast Inventory Locator Service LLC, a Boeing company in Orlando, Florida. BA, international relations, 1995
Matthew Hollingshaus is a senior consultant and instructor at business innovation services in the Education Department at the University of Illinois. BS, mechanical engineering; MBA, Chinese, 1989
Philip Hurst oversees alternative sentencing hearings for first time juvenile offenders in the District of Columbia as an advocate judge with Time Dollar Youth Court Inc. in Washington, D.C. Hurst is also responsible for managing organizations of jury members and conducting court proceedings. BA, international relations, 2010
Andrew C. Wilson
Andrew C. Wilson is a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State currently posted in Afghanistan. Wilson has served in Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Afghanistan, and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Turkish. Last summer, he spoke as part of the FSSO lecture series at the Kennedy Center. He received an MIM from Thunderbird. MA, Asian Studies, 1987
Marianne M. Luangrath
Marianne M. Luangrath’s entrepreneurial and business-building experience continues with her latest venture, Foiled Cupcakes—building on the craze for these tasty treats. International Studies: Global Economy and French Studies, 2001
Brandon K. Jensen
Brandon K. Jensen, operations manager at Novell, analyzes the experience his company’s customers have, after working as a database administrator, webmaster for internal pages, asset management coordinator, and distribution manager. Jensen speaks Romanian and received an MBA from the Marriott School. International Relations, 1998
Matthew J. Bates
Matthew J. Bates is vice president for finance at Rackspace Hosting in San Antonio, Texas. Previously, Bates was an analyst with Deutsche Bank in the telecom group in Baltimore and in Hong Kong. He received an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. International Relations, 1999
John B. Fowles
John B. Fowles is a corporate and capital markets associate at Allen & Overy LLP in London. Fowles focuses on international capital markets, acting for issues and underwriters in SEC-registered, Rule 144A, and other unregistered debt and equity offerings. He received a JD from the J. Reuben Clark School of Law and an MSt with distinction in European literature from Oxford. European Studies/German, 2000
Andria J. McQueen
Andria J. McQueen lives in Washington, D.C., where she works in the information technology and services industry as project manager at ACF Solutions. McQueen has PMP project management certification and has served more than fifty clients including the Department of Treasury, National Geographic, T. Rowe Price, and Landmine Survivors Network. International Studies, 2000
Andrew G. Eaton
Andrew G. Eaton is a senior analyst in asset management at Acacia Capital in the San Francisco Bay area. Eaton has held previous positions with Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, Offit Hall Capital Management, and Sun Microsystems. International Studies, 2001
Wade Alexander is owner/operator at Imagine Argentina, providing expert travel consultation for clients in North and South America, focused on Argentina and Chile. Latin American Studies, 2005
Jeremy H. Harris
Lt. Jeremy H. Harris is an area defense counsel with the U.S. Air Force, based in Southern California working with active-duty military personnel. Previously, as an assistant staff judge advocate, Harris prosecuted criminal cases, advised military commanders, and worked on a wide range of legal issues. He received a JD from the J. Reuben Clark School of Law. International Studies: Law and Diplomacy, 2001
V. Matthew Krebs
V. Matthew Krebs builds connections through business and cultural exchanges as executive director of the Japan/America Society of Kentucky. He completed an MA in international diplomacy at the Patterson School, University of Kentucky. International Studies, 2004
Rebecca F. Rencz
Rebecca F. Rencz is now working as a learning project and delivery manager at the Mind Gym in the UK. Prior to her new position, she was talent and organization performance consultant-learning and development specialization at Accenture Ltd. Asian Studies and Global Management Certificate, 2004
Kevin Kohn works for EMC in the San Francisco Bay area as a technical consultant. International Studies: Law and Diplomacy, 2000
Tanner Q. Ainge
Tanner Q. Ainge is an associate at Huntsman Gay Global Capital and directs the African Equity Fund, a group building sustainable micro-enterprises in rural African communities. Ainge was a summer analyst at Merril Lynch in Hong Kong and completed the FALCON Chinese program at Cornell University. International Studies, 2006
Laura E. Giometta
Laura E. Giometta works as an IT project manager at Alta CS, where she manages change initiatives in hardware, networking and other infrastructure—working on contract with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to that, Giometta developed a restaurant (Saltimboca Casual Italian) specializing in homemade sauces and desserts. International Studies: Law and Diplomacy, 1999
Kent A. Jamison
Kent A. Jamison lives in Brussels and works at NATO Headquarters as an arms control analyst, where he enjoys working in a multinational environment on small arms and light weapons issues. Jamison also specializes in nuclear and chemical nonproliferation and received an MA in international policy studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1999. International Relations/Russian, 1997
Cindy (Patey) Brewer
In the summer of 1974, my father, Kenneth Patey, left for graduate school in Jerusalem. He took his seven children and pregnant wife, Sharon, with him—I was eight. For the next three years, I attended Hebrew schools and went to church every Saturday (the Sabbath day in Israel) with dozens of BYU students on study abroad. Those students were my primary teachers, my babysitters, and my first international “mentors.” Their passion to learn about and explore the world was contagious, and I caught the bug early. I left Israel in 1977, at age eleven with a determination to learn as many languages as I could and a resolve to return to Israel someday as a BYU student.
The year after I graduated from high school, I was admitted to BYU and left in January 1985 to attend classes at the Jerusalem Center and work for a year as a part-time nanny for Professor Kelly Ogden’s family. It was an unusual arrangement that worked well for a student on a small budget from a very large family. It has been international scholars, like Professor Ogden and his wife, Marcia, who had the most profound influence on me. Just observing the pleasure they took in their work was inspiring.
Professor David Galbraith, who had known my family well in Israel, also had a continuing influence on me—one that I doubt he knows about. An offhand comment he made to a mutual friend stuck with me for years: “The Patey siblings are all bright, but Cindy is the scholar in the family.” I remembered it at first because I couldn’t believe it. Later I recalled it often, because, with the passing years, it seemed prophetic. I could not have foreseen where I am now. I hardly knew what graduate school was, and I had never considered becoming a professor. Such thoughts would not surface in my mind for several years to come.
The idea, that I could be a scholar seemed crazy to me, but I latched onto it, secretly securing it in the recesses of my mind like some small, treasured trinket. I didn’t know the idea would grow there, the first seed that when blossoming would determine the course of my life. I graduated in 1990 in European studies with a Hebrew minor and went on to obtain my MA and PhD in German to become employed as a professor of German literature at BYU.
The international experiences that began with my first indirect associations with the Kennedy Center continue to permeate every aspect of my life. I met my husband, Bruce, in Professor Nafez Nazal’s Arab affairs course at the BYU Jerusalem Center. A 1987 Kennedy Center graduate in Near Eastern Studies, he travels the world as an Air National Guard Chaplain, having served in Ecuador, France, Italy, and Germany. Bruce completed a PhD in counseling psychology and works as the director of Academic Support at Utah Valley State College.
We are raising our six sons bilingually in English and German. So far, the two oldest (ages thirteen and fifteen) are following in our footsteps, learning still more languages and going abroad. They have spent semesters in Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, or Costa Rica independent of their parents. We are currently living in Vienna, Austria, where I am directing the Kennedy Center’s Vienna Study Abroad program. I am also delving into my research on the writings of Austrian nuns who served missions in Africa.
Life and scholarship are adventures. Where shall we go next? For now, I have my eye on Namibia.
Robert B. Clark, MD
As a young man, I developed an interest in history and government. I therefore entered BYU as a political science major, even though I had my eye on medicine for a career. After my freshman year, I was called to serve in Hong Kong, where I learned to love the Chinese people and culture. Along with other Hong Kong/Taiwan missionaries, I yearned for the day the gospel would be taught on the mainland.
Returning to BYU after my mission, I changed my major to Asian Studies, and continued to take pre-med courses. While my science classes were necessary tools for my future profession, the courses I enjoyed most focused on China and Asia. It was my great privilege to study under Professors Lanier Britsch, Larry Brown, Ray Hillam, Paul Hyer, Spencer Palmer, and Sechin Jagchid.
While at BYU, I first attempted to combine my dual Asia/science interests. My senior paper was a comparison of nurse practitioners in Utah (a new advent in medicine) with Mao’s barefoot doctors during the Cultural Revolution.
After graduation from BYU in 1975, I entered the University of Utah’s School of Medicine. I completed specialty training in 1982 and moved our young family to Salem, Utah. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful wife and a family of eight marvelous children. I am in my twenty-fourth year as a family physician.
Throughout this time, my BYU experience, mission, and desire for Zion to grow (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27) has kept me involved with humanitarian projects in China and elsewhere. In 1978, just after the “bamboo curtain” fell, I was honored to represent U.S. medical students in a scientific delegation to China.
Beginning in 1985, I began to organize teams of doctors, who traveled to China to teach and lecture for one to two weeks. This effort evolved into a focus on teaching techniques to care for sick infants or neonatal resuscitation. With generous support from the Church, this fledging effort continued and expanded in China, and I returned many times.
Teaching neonatal resuscitation to health providers in developing countries has now become a “Major Initiative” of Church Humanitarian Services. It is now my privilege to assist with the administration of this program as a part-time service missionary.
Two years ago I returned to BYU as a student in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. In the thirty years since my undergraduate experience, some things have changed (I am older than most of my professors!) but I still love to learn. BYU has had a profound influence on my life thus far and will continue to do so.
My desire to take action took root in studies at the Kennedy Center. My international studies degree was absolutely perfect, as it combined a unique blend of my diverse interests: national security, Asian history, international relations, business, and diplomacy.
During senior year, I joined Model United Nations. Not only did I learn about the workings of international organizations from talented instructors, but I also built strong relationships with many good and talented people in the class. The Kennedy Center offered a plethora of activities, student organizations, events, and study abroad experiences to fully prepare students for experiences following graduation.
And I could not have asked for better instructors. Among those who influenced me the most are Professors Michael Murdock, Eric Hyer, Michael Lyons, Valerie Hudson, Darren Hawkins, Scott Cooper, and Dong Sull Choi. From these and more, I gained an appreciation for being in an environment where teachers could point to scripture as evidence of truths and where the spiritual and the secular could commingle in a rather remarkable way. The opportunities I had to feast on wisdom have become an integral part of who I am, a fact I will forever be grateful for.
BYU’s reputation precedes itself. It seems that more doors have been opened and guards taken down as people have found that I graduated from Brigham Young University. Whether in Shanghai or at an interview in Washington, D.C., I have only experienced positive feedback by individuals who had contact with graduates who had gone before me. To them, I am deeply indebted and will endeavor to carry on that legacy for those who might follow after.
After graduation, I began an internship in summer 2003 with the Scowcroft Group, a consulting firm. My goal was to immerse myself in everything relating to international affairs and global business. The group is experienced in all levels of U.S. government and branches of the military, in business, and in academic topics worldwide. While there, I have been in charge of researching a broad range of policy issues, preparing reports for the principals and for clients, and following topics from countries in all regions of the globe. They allowed me to run with certain projects and gave me the freedom to think rather than just divide my time between the copy room and the local coffee shop.
Following the internship, I went to Georgetown University to work as assistant director for the continuing education program. My desire to work in China eventually led to a transfer to WorldSpace China, as assistant to the chairman. This satellite radio company has the largest broadcast footprint spanning the globe. WorldSpace appealed to me primarily because it is a company interested in providing high-quality programming to developing countries with undeserved markets and little programming choice. I admired their efforts and wanted to be a part of that.
Outside of work, I teach Hmong language classes at Hmong National Development, a local nonprofit organization in D.C.; am a member of the Asia Society’s Asia Circle, a branch aimed at young professionals who share common interests in Asia’s history, culture, art, and politics; and have launched a web-based community project called “Hmoob Word-a-Day” (http://www.easternlanguagespecialists.com/hmongwordaday.html), to offer tech-savvy Hmong youth a chance to reconnect with their culture each day by learning the word and then discussing it with their parents or community elders. My wife, Sarah (Bailey) and I also manage Eastern Language Specialists, composed of a group of people she has met over the years.
In June of this year, we welcomed our first child, Ethan McKay, to our family.
It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty-five years since I was part of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. When I graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations, I knew that I still had two more years of school ahead of me, as I had been accepted to the Marriott School’s MPA program. My career aspiration was to be a Foreign Service Officer, and I felt that the combination of an undergraduate degree in international relations and an MPA would be the right fit. My biggest concern was how well my degrees from BYU would serve me in the selection process for the Canadian Foreign Service.
However, I did not immediately join the Foreign Service after graduation, as they were going through a major reorganization and a hiring freeze was in effect. Instead, I joined the immigration service.
In 1984, I took the Foreign Service exam for Canada. To my surprise, I found that my undergraduate training was ideal for the exam. The Canadian Exam focused on bilateral and multilateral relations, Canadian policy on trade, development, and immigration, and international organizations. All the papers I had written for Dr. Stan Taylor from a “Canadian” perspective had paid off. Of four thousand applicants, I was one of forty who were hired. Another two years of medical and security requirements, then I actually became a Foreign Service officer. Upon arrival in Ottawa in 1986, recruits that joined with me were graduates from prestigious Canadian Universities, but I found the core programs within the Kennedy Center were comparable to programs at other schools.
One aspect of the Canadian Foreign Service that differs from the services of other countries is that Canada has essentially three Foreign Services, operated by three different departments. Although all three departments use a common recruitment process and conduct joint selection interviews, recruits are hired for a specific function within one of the three departments. Industry and Trade hires trade officers, Foreign Affairs hires political officers, and Citizenship and Immigration hires immigration officers for overseas deployment. I joined the Immigration Foreign Service (IFS) and was soon off on my first overseas assignment to New Delhi, India, as a newly minted third secretary.
A nice feature within the immigration stream, is that you can spend a large portion of your time outside of Canada. I had three postings in Latin America—Colombia, Argentina, and Guatemala—after I left India. By then, my posting officer determined it was time for me to return to Canada after being abroad for twelve years. So I returned to Ottawa in 1998.
I spent the next two years as executive assistant and senior policy advisor to the Director General of International Region, who is responsible for all overseas immigration operations. One interesting aspect of my job was writing briefing notes for the Director General in preparation for his appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Labour and Immigration.
My next assignment was one of the best positions within IFS, as head of the intelligence and interdiction unit in London, the world’s first overseas network created in 1989 as a means to stem the flow of illegal migrants. Since then, the model has been copied by the Dutch, British, Australians, and most recently Americans.
Our unit was responsible for intelligence and enforcement activities through the British Isles, the Nordic countries, including Finland and Iceland, and the three Baltic Republics. My work as counselor took me to these countries on a regular basis. Our closest contacts were the British, given that 25 percent of all international air passengers worldwide pass through Heathrow Airport. Part of my job was to develop and maintain close liaison contacts with British immigration, police, and intelligence services on immigration enforcement matters. Our office operations were examined closely by a team from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2004 for the implementation of their program.
London also provided opportunities to work on multilateral issues at the International Maritime Organization. I represented Canada on various subcommittees of this UN body during negotiations on issues such as the treatment of stowaways and persons rescued at sea. Looking back, my class on international organizations served me well. It helped me to identify which countries were “key players,” which were “like minded,” and which had opposing agendas.
In the summer of 2004, I became consul to the Canadian Consulate General in Hong Kong. The move from London was not only across the world but a complete change of responsibilities. While in London, I was out of the office regularly meeting contacts, in Hong Kong, my role is more like a forensic auditor as we study the source of funds in the complex financial documents submitted by business migrants.
Throughout my career in the Foreign Service I have found my time at the Kennedy Centre has been of great value. In Dr. Ray Hillam’s class on international relations we played the board game Diplomacy. While it was great fun, it also provided valuable experience in strategy, forging alliances, and negotiation, all vital skills for my future assignments.
Earl Fry also had an important impact on my career development. During my interview for the Foreign Service, one interviewer found it interesting that a Canadian would take Canadian political science classes at an American university. I explained the need to understand how the U.S. viewed Canada in order to develop better policy for our bilateral relationship.
Perhaps Stan Taylor had the greatest impact on me. His classes on international organizations, intelligence, and international relations were all relevant to my future work in the Foreign Service. Twenty-five years later I still draw on the things I learned in those classes.
My work has allowed me to live in six foreign countries and has taken me to over fifty countries. I believe that the key to success in the Foreign Service is a foundation that includes solid writing and analytical skills. These were developed and honed at the Kennedy Center.
International relations major Christy Wallaker’s highlight experience was participating in Model UN on the 1997 Russian Federation team, under the direction of Cory Leonard. According to Wallaker, “Not only was the trip to New York City fantastic, but I still keep in touch with many friends, and I received valuable experience that helped shape my career goals.”
Since graduating in 2000, Wallaker has worked in business development for two international companies and joined the Navy Reserve. She is currently headed to Washington, D.C., to work for the Department of Defense. Wallaker attributes much of the success she has had throughout her career to her education at the Kennedy Center, as it has “played a key role in opening doors for me in both the private and public sectors.” She has loved the opportunities thus far to serve the U.S. and is excited to be in full-time public service.
Brian J. Christensen
Brian J. Christensen didn’t always know he’d end up in international relations. “When I was a freshman, I had numerous questions about the direction my education should take,” said Christensen. “I have fond memories of conversations with the late Professor Richard Vetterli discussing my education and career choices. He took the time to learn of my passion for international matters and then guided me to a degree in international relations. Because of his influence and the influence of many other excellent professors and mentors, each phase of my education and career has contained an international component.”
Since attending BYU and graduating from the Kennedy Center in 1990, Christensen went on to law school. In 1993, while at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, Christensen competed in the International Moot Competition, in which he was the top oralist and brief writer. With a law degree in tow, Christensen felt his international instincts calling, joined the U.S. Navy, and moved abroad.
“Following graduation from law school, I joined the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG),” explained Christensen. “Because of my background in international relations, I was selected for a position in Sardinia, Italy, that included responsibilities as the international law coordinator for the western Mediterranean area. I also served as a U.S. vice consul. Prior to traveling to Italy, the Navy sent my family and me to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where I learned Italian.”
Now, Christensen utilizes his international know-how in his position as head of the litigation group at H&R Block, Fortune 500 financial services company. Though the company is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Christensen explained, “H&R Block has more than seventy subsidiaries. Many of these subsidiaries operate internationally, periodically facing litigation and engaging in transactions outside the United States. The training I received and the perspective I developed while at BYU have served me well in this capacity.”
Overall, Christensen’s post-undergraduate experiences have been positive, and he is still grateful for the guidance that led him to an international focus. “I consider myself fortunate to enjoy a career focused in part on my passion for international relations,” he said. “The experiences I had at BYU and the Kennedy Center provided the foundation that has enabled my wife, Nicole, and me to enjoy many unique and fascinating experiences.”
L. Dale Lawton
Last autumn, my family and I packed our bags and boxes for our second international move since leaving BYU in 1995—this time to Accra, Ghana. This is our first posting with the U.S. Foreign Service and so far, we love it. I can’t think of a job I’d rather have. And while the path from BYU to the State Department has been anything but direct, my experiences at the Kennedy Center clearly laid the groundwork for my current happy career choice.
I returned from my mission to Catania, Italy, in 1992, full of desire to delve into the roots of Christianity. I wanted to study Hebrew and Greek, maybe get a PhD in archaeology or ancient religion. Not sure exactly what path to follow, I enrolled in a course on Judaism and Islam taught that semester by Dr. James Toronto.
I loved the course and the instructor. By the end of the semester, I had declared myself a Near Eastern Studies major and begun to endure the endless jokes about what that kind of degree might be good for and where, exactly, one might find the near east. I studied Hebrew, both modern and biblical. I read the Qu’ran. I took the introduction to anthropology course. But a class on much more current events pulled me firmly back into the present and refocused my attention on a lifelong love: politics.
The catalyst was Dr. David Galbraith’s Arab–Israeli conflict course. I was fascinated by the interaction between religion and politics, by the way that thousands of years of history so directly impact a current problem in international relations. Galbraith had each class member research the point of view of one of the factions in the conflict and represent that perspective in class discussions. In the course of a few short weeks, I turned myself into a radical Palestinian activist—at least during the class debates.
He carefully steered our conversations with readings and lectures, and the result was an excellent, balanced view of the conflict. Very few classroom exercises have ever more effectively broadened my horizons or taught me more about critical thinking, and the role of history in modern politics. I came in with a ridiculously simplified view of the conflict and left with an appreciation for the depth of the problems and the issues at stake.
In my junior year, the Kennedy Center provided me with the most formative experience of my college career. Thanks to some creative thinking by Dr. Arnold Green, he suggested that I find a professor associated with the Kennedy Center who was doing work that interested me, and I managed to land a job as an undergraduate research assistant.
In all, I worked for three different professors during my last two years at BYU. Dr. Victor Ludlow taught me what it means to be a research assistant—a skill that came in handy in later years. I graded papers, checked citations, dug up articles, and checked facts. He spent many hours talking with me and giving me advice about my studies. It was a rich and rewarding experience.
The following summer, I worked for Dr. Galbraith on a project involving the history of the BYU Jerusalem Center. As I scanned newspaper clippings and read letters and journal entries, I learned that he had been involved from the inception of the center and had played an important role in its construction—a truly monumental task. I was also privileged to do some minor research and proofreading for the book Jerusalem: The Eternal City, which he was writing together with Professors Kelly Ogden and Andrew Skinner. Like Dr. Ludlow, Dr. Galbraith shared freely of his time and talents.
In my final year, I immersed myself in Arabic, and as part of that immersion, I went to work for Dr. Kirk Belnap, one of my Arabic teachers. Together with Dr. Dil Parkinson, he worked hard to help me make some sense of the language. They remain the best language teachers I have ever had, and I have since heard them spoken of with respect by students and professors from universities around the country.
Since leaving BYU, I have built on my experiences at the Kennedy Center. Thanks to the support of the faculty there, in the summer of 1995, I receive a Fulbright fellowship to study Arabic in Amman, Jordan, for one year. I was pleased to find that Dr. Toronto and his family were also in Amman at the Church’s cultural center there. The Toronto’s welcomed my young family into their home repeatedly, providing friendship and support to us as we adjusted to living overseas. Toronto continued to act as a mentor while I applied to graduate school and made decisions about the future.
After our return to the U.S. in 1996, my career took a detour from the international scene. I did finally finish a PhD in politics last spring from the University of Virginia, but my focus was American government, with only a minor in comparative politics. In the meantime, I worked as a project director for two nonprofits, both focused on improving the quality of U.S. political campaigns.
In those jobs I was delighted to come into occasional contact with Professor Richard Davis, who taught the only upper-division course in American government that I took at BYU. Though not at the Kennedy Center, he played a key role in my academic development. In his course on the media and politics, I wrote a paper on the portrayal of Arabs in the mainstream press. Davis encouraged me to do some additional work on the research and then spent several hours of his time coauthoring a new paper based on the original for submission to the Northeastern Political Science Association’s annual meeting. To my utter amazement, the paper was accepted and he helped secure some of the funding for my trip to Rhode Island to present the paper. By working with me to carefully craft and refine the proposal, carry out the research, and professionally present the results, he gave me an excellent preparation for graduate school. When it came time to propose papers to academic conferences in graduate school, I had a leg up on my colleagues—I had done it before.
I now find that my path has brought me back to international politics. In every respect, I believe that BYU and the Kennedy Center prepared me for graduate school and now for my career in the Foreign Service. And who knows? Maybe all that Arabic will come in handy one day.
Chad Stewart, 2LT, USAF
Though Chad Stewart left BYU for a mission to Spain as an electrical engineering major, he explained, “When I returned, I began looking for a degree that more matched my interests. While I was interested in political science subjects, my interests were more broad and the international studies program, as it was then constituted, was a good fit.”
After graduation spring 2003 as an international studies major with a minor in European studies, Stewart entered the Air Force through BYU’s Air Force ROTC. Now, after undergraduate pilot training from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, Stewart is living abroad—spending three years on assignment in the United Kingdom. “I was selected to fly in the KC-135R, an Air Force refueling tanker, for an assignment to RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom,” he said.
Stewart is satisfied with his decision to study international studies and looks back on his time at the Kennedy Center with gratitude. “I never felt that I had to take a class that I didn’t find interesting,” said Stewart. “Some of my most memorable classes include U.S. foreign policy and British government and politics taught by Jeff Ringer and an international political economy class taught by Scott Cooper. Joseph Irvine, a part-time instructor, taught a class on terrorism and insurgency that opened my eyes to the world I hadn’t thought too much about before: intelligence gathering and utilization by U.S. intelligence services. Had I not already committed myself to a career as an Air Force pilot, I would have gone with a career in intelligence as a result of that class. But the Air Force holds on to people tagged as pilots these days, so my path was set.”
Even now, post-graduation, Stewart continues his pursuit of international studies. “For me, studying international relations is something I do everyday, whether I’m in school or not,” he said. “As an Air Force officer I feel that I have an added obligation to understand U.S. foreign policy and how it affects other countries in the world.” The Kennedy Center helped Stewart “formulate my own opinions and comment intelligently on U.S. policy,” traits that have added to his success.
Soon, Stewart will continue his formal education. “I intend to pursue an advanced degree through a University of Oklahoma international relations program that has a branch on base at RAF Mildenhall, where I’ll be living for the next three years,” he explained. “I fully expect that my experience in the Kennedy Center will have prepared me well for that program.”
Spencer Rogers looked to BYU early. “I grew up in Latin America where I was exposed to BYU through traveling groups like Young Ambassadors and Folk Dancers,” explained Rogers. “I looked forward to attending BYU from a very young age.”
After his freshman year at BYU, Rogers served in the Canada Montreal mission as a French- and Spanish-speaking missionary. As he was preparing to come home, Rogers received some unique instruction. “I returned to BYU with a charge from my mission president to visit personally with David Kennedy,” said Rogers. A phone call later, Rogers had a time set up to meet with Kennedy.
“We spent about an hour talking about his experiences,” said Rogers. “I left there convinced that serving as ambassador-at-large for the Church was the best job in the world. Brother Kennedy’s counsel to me was very simple—be the best member you can be, get a good education, move to the ‘mission field’—where your service can have the greatest impact. That counsel molded the rest of my education.”
Following Kennedy’s advice, Rogers spent his junior year of college at a university in Lyon, France. While there, he traveled throughout Europe and eastern Europe. To broaden his international experience even more, Rogers also spent a semester on the London study abroad program.
“When I returned to Provo, I focused my studies on international economics, Russian, and humanities. My favorite teachers were Stan Taylor, who taught me to use logic and reason and to think clearly and pay attention to detail, and Jon Green, who taught me to love humanities,” Rogers explained.
Ready to go abroad once again, Rogers returned to France during his senior year, to work as a travel guide and an interpreter for a folk dance group. Rogers said, “While on that trip, I developed a friendship with a group of Ukrainian folk dancers, and to this day, I remain friends with many of them.”
Post-graduation, Rogers relocated to Ukraine, where he taught at a university. If teaching in the Ukraine wasn’t exciting enough, Rogers made the largest step of his life en route—marriage. “On our way there, my sweetheart Erin O’Connell and I were married in the Stockholm Sweden Temple as my parents were serving a mission in Norway at the time and could not otherwise have attended,” Rogers explained.
“After an ordeal in Hungary trying to get our work papers approved through the Soviet Embassy, we finally arrived in L’viv, Ukraine. We intended to stay two years but returned to Provo after six months due to illness.”
During their stay in Ukraine, the Rogers saw firsthand the collapse of the Soviet bloc. “My background in international relations and international economics helped me to appreciate what we were experiencing. Since then, we have traveled extensively and have witnessed tremendous change in Ukraine. We return regularly and enjoy our close friendships there,” he added.
The Rogers now live in Pleasant Grove and are the parents of seven children. He is a parallel entrepreneur and has served on several nonprofit and for-profit boards and has launched eight companies thus far. He recently spent six years in San Jose, California, as the CEO of a nonprofit organization. On a personal note, Rogers is a PADI dive master and enjoys scuba diving, traveling, fishing, horseback riding, and exploring Utah on his ATV.
Derek E. Baird
Derek E. Baird has been invited by the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and Dr. Mercedes Fisher, professor of education of Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology, to pilot a tolerance program. Baird’s goal is to create an interactive environment that will be instrumental for the Tools of Tolerance program in the museum.
“As curriculum developer, Dr. Fisher and I will design and implement face-to-face and online training for law enforcement, educators, and the National Institute Against Hate Crimes,” Baird explained.
He also intends to adapt these courses for online learning. “This will help uniformed and civilian personnel understand the dynamics of racism, bigotry, and discrimination and engage them in discussions about tolerance, diversity, and effective responses to situations in law enforcement,” said Baird.
His previous experiences have helped prepare him for this task. He co-founded BlendedEDU, a web log that focuses on assisting education professionals to integrate web-based social networking media, such as blogs and newsgroups, into traditional and online classroom environments. Working with Maryanne Campo, Distributed Learning director at Northern Mariana College, Baird created the site as part of a presentation at the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives teachers’ conference.
Baird also consulted with the Joseph H. Pendleton Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars. This veteran auxiliary group worked with him to integrate social media applications into their conferences. His work was put into action at the 2004 Youth Leadership Conference, held at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton.
A 1994 alumnus of the American Studies major, Baird attributes his achievements to dedicated professors at BYU. “I owe much of my postBYU success to Dr. Neil York, Dr. Richard Cracroft, and Dr. Martha Bradley,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for the foundation of knowledge they helped me construct, pushing me to develop critical thinking skills, and being such supportive, encouraging mentors.” Baird continues a relationship with the Kennedy Center when he seeks advice or counsel. “Those types of relationships are what make BYU and the American Studies program so great!” he concluded.
Ryan R. Bird
Ryan R. Bird is managing a project that will move the production of Nike shoe boxes from Seattle to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “I am working with two organizations, New Toyo of Singapore and Alliance Packaging of Seattle,” said Bird. This challenging job involves becoming a bridge of interest between Chinese, Vietnamese, and American cultures.
Bird’s first Vietnamese encounter came through serving a Vietnamese-speaking mission in Philadelphia. A love for the culture drove him to employment as an IT professional in Hanoi, Vietnam. In the spring of 1996, after spending over a year there, Bird felt it was time to meet his personal goals and pursue a professional degree. His confidence was enhanced by a visit from the Young Ambassadors to Hanoi. He spoke with Ray Hillam, former Kennedy Center director, who assured Bird that his decision to attend BYU would be ideal for Bird’s interests. His decision was confirmed shortly thereafter. “A few months later, as I was preparing to return to the States, President Hinckley visited Hanoi. His advice to me after hearing where I was from: ‘Go home and marry a Utah Valley girl!’ A year later I fulfilled the prophet’s words.”
Never a typical BYU student, Bird took advantage of all types of classes offered through the center. “I took classes any time they were available, including Internet classes, study abroad, and independent study all within the span of a year and a half,” he declared. “I graduated in Asian studies, a selection I have not regretted.”
Bird and his wife, Theresa, spent two years in California before he was accepted at Thunderbird’s Executive MBA program in 2001. He graduated from the Garvin School of International Management in 2003.
Last year Bird, his wife, and their four children boarded an airplane to Vietnam. “We sold everything we could, brought all our belongings with us on the airplane and said goodbye. I had no job, just a lot of ambition and a strong faith that the Lord would take care of us,” Bird offered. The skills and knowledge he had acquired were quickly put to use in his management position. One lesson he has learned: “You must control your own destiny.”
At the end of my freshman year in college, my family had just returned from living ten years in Asia back to the D.C. area. I used every resource I could to find internship opportunities, and I was offered a research intern spot at the Congressional Research Service on Capitol Hill, focusing on issues of foreign affairs and national defense. At age seventeen, I was the youngest person to ever be admitted into their internship program at that time. The most important part of that experience was that I gained confidence in my ability to analyze and think.
Back at school in the fall, I found out about an opportunity to do an internship in Taiwan for the Foreign Commercial Service. This definitely met my thirst for adventure, so I jumped at the opportunity and moved to Taiwan for six months, living with eight Taiwanese girls and working at the World Trade Center in Taipei doing research and trade shows for American companies seeking business opportunities in Taiwan. I not only fell in love all over again with the Chinese people, history, culture, and language, I also realized what an impact democracy could have on bringing economic and social growth to a country.
One of the most influential parts of my college experience was my involvement with Students for International Development. Becoming involved in this small group of students was a very pivotal experience because I could be part of a community of like-minded people.
In my junior year, I declared an international studies major with a global trade emphasis and minors in Chinese and international development. And I received a call to serve in the Taiwan Taichung mission in November 1997. I felt right at home, and my love for the Chinese people and my career path deepened more than is possible to express.
Having returned from my mission, I attended the Microenterprise Conference on campus, where I laid out a plan of action to learn about microcredit, first in the U.S. and then take it to China. After competing with the Model United Nations team in New York that spring, I decided to stay in the city and volunteer at a microfinance nonprofit called Project Enterprise, a replication of the Grameen Bank in Harlem and Brooklyn. I recruited and trained women and men who wanted to become entrepreneurs and work their way out of poverty by starting their own business. They were truly breaking the mold of their past and, as a result, changed the social and economic fabric of their communities.
Then in the fall of my senior year, the next part of my dream fell into place. I learned about an opportunity to train NGO leaders in China to set up a microcredit program. It was extremely rewarding to work with truly creative, resourceful leaders, who believed in the power of their people and were eager to learn how to apply the tools we offered them.
After returning from China, I spoke with my mentors at the Kennedy Center and from prior internships, and they helped me see that there was a common theme in all my interests: facilitating positive change and growth in people and organizations. One mentor suggested that the Marriott School’s MOB program would equip me with the kind of skills and tools I would need to become an effective change agent and give me the flexibility to work in any sector.
My reasons for going to graduate school were to learn as much as possible about how organizations work and how to help people work together effectively—not to fit into a corporate mold or move up the ladder. I also worked with several classmates to start up PathWorks, a consulting group for small businesses in the area. Through my research I felt like I was learning exactly what I wanted to be learning, and through the consulting I applied my knowledge to real-world companies.
During my second year in graduate school, I took some incredible classes that allowed me to use my creativity and apply the skills I had spent so much sweat and tears to learn. I finally started to see how my broad range of interests could all fit together. That one realization was worth all the pain of graduate school!
Interestingly enough, one of the most significant experiences during graduate school was my involvement with Net Impact, a national organization of MBAs committed to promoting ethical business. In my second year, we tripled our BYU chapter membership, began an exciting community resource center program in conjunction with the United Way, volunteered at the national Business for Social Responsibility conference, and won second place in the national Business Case Competition.
I can say that since graduation a year and a half ago, I’ve had nonstop adventure finding ways to apply the things I learned in school. Right after graduation, I moved to New York and through my contacts at Net Impact, I found a volunteer opportunity with United Nations Global Compact. I then piloted a project for MBA students at BYU and NYU to work with global companies to create an online learning community for ethical business practices.
Just when I was feeling really comfortable with my ‘dream world’ in New York, I was contacted by an alum from the MOB program to interview for a job at a mid-sized tech company in California to help their new HR director turn around the department and to help set up a new design center in Shanghai.
The two most important things I’ve learned since leaving school is that I’m never pigeonholed into one career path, and that I never have to wait to make a meaningful contribution in my corner of the world.
Anthony Rivera, Jr.
Anthony Rivera, Jr. works as a Native American Consultant for an engineering infrastructure firm CH2M HILL located in Orange County, California. Rivera provides business opportunities to Native American Nations.
He fondly reflected on his first experiences at the Kennedy Center. Evoking his days as a missionary in Hamburg, Germany, Rivera went door to door in the center in search of a job to supplement and enhance his ancient Near East studies. “This time, it was office doors of professors instead of residences in Germany,” he recalled.
To his dismay, Rivera found that the positions he was interested in were already held by other students. His disappointment was quenched by the warm reception of Professor Kent P. Jackson, then the chair of Near Eastern Studies at the center. “My experience as a research assistant to Dr. Jackson brought me many fond memories of research, conversation, and mentoring within the halls of the center,” Rivera remembered.
He is quick to attribute much to his professors. “Classes on Near East modern history taught by professor Arnold Green helped me comprehend the depth and complexity of the culture and politics of this area of the globe,” stated Rivera. He also cited courses taught by Dr. James Toronto as beneficial to his studies. “I was able to learn directly from Middle Eastern students what it is like to live in countries of great turmoil and to empathize with their struggles,” he commented.
These experiences served as excellent preparation for graduate studies in 1993, when he entered Harvard Divinity School with a full scholarship to study with what he calls “some of the finest scholars in ancient cultures and religions.” He also worked on the editorial staff of Harvard Theological Review before completing a master’s degree in theological studies.
Rivera pursued postgraduate studies at UCLA in 1995 as one of the early recipients of the prestigious Hugh Nibley Fellowship of Ancient Studies. Rivera served for a time as faculty with BYU’s Ancient Scripture Department and with Saddleback College’s Anthropology Department. But Rivera found a new direction for his work.
“It was at this period in my career that the call came to me to serve my tribe, the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation of Orange County, California,” Rivera stated. “I was appointed chair of the tribe’s Cultural Resources Agency in charge of preservation of the tribe’s artifacts, burial grounds, and traditional properties.”
His service continued with an appointment as a council member of the Tribal Government. This role put Rivera in charge of governing the political affairs for his people. Today, while working as a consultant, he remains connected with the Acjachemen Nation as chair of the tribe’s Cultural Resources Agency and plans to campaign for governing chairman of his tribe in 2005.
Rivera deems his time spent at BYU an overwhelming success. “The Kennedy Center experience in studying international politics and cultures has provided the necessary training needed to serve sovereign tribal governments within the United States,” he affirms. “I cherish the time spent at the Kennedy Center and apply the lessons learned at BYU and Harvard in the success of all my career and personal goals.”
Shelly (Camacho) Astle
Shelly (Camacho) Astle, a 2000 American studies graduate, said she “remembered a situation when a professor gave the class counsel on how to combat the inevitable teasing we would receive from those who derided our major as impractical and hardly helpful when looking for employment upon graduation.” Astle has taken the tools gained in her major and capitalized on them quite well—pun intended—as she worked for two U.S. Senators and a governor.
“When choosing my major for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I used the following personal philosophy: Enjoy the journey,”Astle said. “If I was going to take all those classes and write all those papers, I’d better enjoy what I was learning.”
A self-proclaimed American history junkie at heart, American studies was a natural choice. “I loved anything and everything having to do with the study of America,” she said. “Thus my journey began. And to this day I cannot think of a single class that I didn’t enjoy.”
Several courses changed Astle’s perspective on things American in a big way. In the introductory course, taught by Professor Neil York, her concept of the “American Dream” was forever changed. The American film course, taught by Professor James D’Arc, altered the way she viewed films. And two courses taught by Professor Frank Fox, one on popular culture and the other on San Francisco, also had a long-lasting affect.
“Politics is all about people, and American studies is the study of the American people—as they were, as they are, and as they will be—molded by shared experiences, traditions, and values such as liberty, individualism, and equality,” said Astle. “By coming to understand what it means to be an American through my studies at BYU, I understand people better and have learned to thrive in a profession that is all about people.”
Her career began in the offices of Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. “He gave me my first break as a staff assistant answering phones in his D.C. front office and giving tours of the Capitol building,” recalled Astle. “I was soon promoted to work as a legislative correspondent, drafting responses to mail from his constituents.
“In 2002, I moved to the office of Senator John Ensign of Nevada, as his advisor on natural resources, energy, and various other issues,” she continued. “I drafted bills, worked with legislators and staff, and became an integral part of the policymaking process—a dream come true.”
Early this year, Astle joined the staff of Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts as a speech writer. “This has been an excellent opportunity to get an idea of how state government works and see things from an executive perspective,” Astle affirmed.
She remembers a comment made at her graduation, that they “were part of a group of individuals who would do incredible things—not only for our nation but also for our world. I was inspired that day, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I felt like I was making a difference. My education at BYU has enabled me to achieve that goal.”
Astle had the opportunity to do the inspiring for spring 2004 graduates as the alumni guest speaker at convocation.
Austin S. Hamner
Austin S. Hamner, a 1986 Kennedy Center graduate, just completed a deployment from the U.S. Army Reserves to support the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), a branch of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Hamner is now in Bagdad, Iraq, as part of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), a team assisting in finding key evidence relating to the war.“I have now been mobilized three times,” said Hamner of his current deployment.
“I was called up in 1991 for the Gulf War, in 1996 for Peacekeeping in Croatia, Bosnia, and now in 2003 for the War in Iraq,” said Hamner. “This current mobilization has been the longest by far, and the first ten months were at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where I was blessed with being able to go home for three days once every six weeks.”
A husband [to wife Patricia] and father of six, three boys and three girls, Hamner defends the importance of serving others and one’s country. “I hope through this sacrifice, my children will see that sometimes it is necessary to stop talking about serving your country and fellow man and actually do it, regardless of the sacrifice,” Hamner explained.
In 1980, Hamner’s international service began in the form of his mission to Kobe and Osaka, Japan. Upon returning from his mission, Hamner pursued a bachelor’s degree in international relations. “Professor Stan Taylor with all of his professionalism still took time to talk one on one with students,” Hamner recalls of his experience at the Kennedy Center. The center also had an effect on his community involvement. Hamner noted that “Professor Richard Vetterli’s desire to get more students in the electoral process prompted me to run for school board.”
Following his Brigham Young University studies, Hamner received an MBA from the University of Indianapolis, though he “will candidly admit that [he] would like to have achieved the master’s in the international program as well.” Hamner further commented regarding what the master’s would have meant in his current situation, “I can tell you from interfacing with the intelligence community that the master’s of international relations means a great deal to them.”
Prior to his involvement in the War in Iraq, Hamner worked full-time as a territory manager for Kato Spring of California, a Japanese springs manufacturing company Hamner helped represent in the Midwest of the United States. He will pay a significant price after his deployment is completed. “I built up the territory for two years before being mobilized. Inasmuch as it (his former position as territory manager) was 90 percent commission, the damage will be severe by the time I return to the territory,” he reflected. “Of course I will still have a job, but the income difference will be substantial.”
Despite these obvious challenges, Hamner is answering his country’s call, and he is grateful for those who have likewise been willing to serve in the past. “While freedom is never free, we begin to take it for granted when we don’t see the sacrifices of those who no longer live among us.” Hamner continued, regarding his own involvement in war, “I’ve been told that our government should send only single guys to war, but the bottom line is basically this: If not me, then who? If not now, when? Certainly we should all be prepared to preserve not only our careers and reputations, but our church, our families, and our country.”
Cory T. Hrncirik
Cory T. Hrncirik, a 2002 graduate in international studies with minors in business management and European studies, said, “My BYU education, especially the knowledge and experience gained through the Kennedy Center, gave me a broad base on which to begin building my career. The decision to pursue international studies provided me with more than memorized formulas and case studies and instilled in me a desire to understand this world—to “become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people;”1 and to “obtain a knowledge of history and of countries and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man.”2
The most useful skills for Hrncirik’s career were not those gleaned from textbooks or lectures. “The assets I left BYU with include the ability to learn new things, to be sensitive to different cultures, and to analyze the economic and political situation of different countries,” he said. “Also the ability to use computer software (especially Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) is invaluable in performing my regular work tasks and responsibilities, as is the capability to work in teams and to make presentations to a group.”
Several courses are recalled as being particularly beneficial. “One of the first classes in my major, which started me on the right foot and inspired me, was a general international business class offered through the Marriott School,” Hrncirik said. “A class in European geography opened my eyes to world cultures, economies, political structures, and peoples; and a class in economic geography taught me to analyze various countries according to a wide range of indicators and to present my findings to others.”
And finally, he said, “The Kennedy Center lecture series provided real world examples of global issues, challenges, and opportunities.”
What advice would he offer students today? “Strive to gain a broad education, but do so with careful selectivity, not whimsically or without focus. Take some classes outside of your selected major that are of particular interest and will round out your education. Complete an internship or study abroad as part of your education. Pursue knowledge that goes beyond textbooks,” he offered.
Doctrine and Covenants 90:15
Doctrine and Covenants 93:53
Hrncirik is married to the former Rachelle Harmon. They have two children: Juliana (2) and Joseph (6 mos.). Hrncirik has been living with his family in Prague, Czech Republic, since March 2002, where he is employed as the Head of Research for Central and Eastern Europe at CB Richard Ellis, an international property consultancy firm.
In 2000, Jennifer Boehme received a BA in international studies, with a development emphasis, and a double minor in TESL and Scandinavian Studies. “There were a few pivotal experiences at BYU that changed my career path,” she stated. “Three professors in particular helped shape and influence the work I am doing today. Gary Bryner’s introduction to development and many of Valerie Hudson’s classes brought together my social consciousness with my interest in international affairs.” Prior to that, Boehme said she had been fixed on working in the political arena.
“I also had the privilege of studying development and its theories with Warner Woodworth. Warner is a visionary who believes in the power people have to make a positive change in the world. As I studied the integrated nature of development, I became fascinated by the complexities of appropriately serving our brothers and sisters,” she said. “At first, I was disturbed by the number of people who are trying to do good, but whose activities not only go awry, but in the process also hurt the lives of the people they are trying to assist. I became committed to educating both people trying to assist the poor and those we are seeking to serve.”
Mother Nature and other events conspired to shift Boehme’s course during the spring of 1999. “I was involved in creating a group then-called HELP Honduras and traveled with them to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. The process of preparing and serving was an amazingly challenging and rewarding experience,” Boehme declared. “We worked with FINCA International in their microcredit banks and assisted in Honduras’ recovery from Hurricane Mitch.”
After their return, the group explored ways to continue what they had begun. “We became convinced of the positive effect this experience could have on both the students volunteering and on the people we were serving. We grew the organization, moved off BYU’s campus, and become a federally recognized not-for-profit corporation, HELP International,” she explained. After graduation, Boehme became their executive director. She said, “Summer 2003 will be our fifth summer of training and sending students to Latin America to partner with local organizations in helping to eliminate poverty and human suffering.”
Working with HELP International has given Boehme a broad range of experiences. “Being in a small organization has meant that I am involved in every facet of the organization, ranging from Third-World development activities, financial planning, and long-term strategy, to marketing and training. My education at the Kennedy Center encompassed a broad range of topics including political environments, development theories, and understanding of cultures and economies, which are vital for our success as an organization,” she said. “For students desirous of a career in international development, BYU offered a unique opportunity for a multidisciplinary degree. With my degree, I garnered knowledge from a number of fields. I found this multidisciplinary education extremely helpful in my career—very few things in this field are not interrelated.”
Recalling her passion for the right kind of service objectives, Boehme said, “Attempting to undertake a development intervention without understanding the political, cultural, and economic background and history of our participants could produce horrendous consequences. On the other hand, going into a community with an intimate understanding of those factors, coupled with development techniques geared toward learning the needs of the people and facilitating their own growth and development, leads to positive outcomes and lasting change.“
Boehme’s involvement with her organization has brought a sense of fulfillment on a global scale. “Directing and growing HELP International has allowed me to take steps towards educating both our American populous and those persons in developing countries who take steps to better our world,” she concluded.
Mark D. Fellows
Mark D. Fellows graduated in international relations from the Kennedy Center in 1996. “My education [in the center] developed my ability to clearly communicate, analyze, and maybe most importantly, to express my opinion in open dialogue,” said Fellows. Upon receiving his undergraduate degree and hoping to learn more about government operations and management, Fellows immediately entered the Romney Institute of Public Management.
Graduating with an MPA in the middle of the IT/.com boom, Fellows went to work as a business analyst and technology consultant to state and local governments with American Management Systems. “As a consultant, the ability to communicate with all types of people from many different cultures and backgrounds allows you to adequately lead, direct, and, in my case, hopefully, make governments more efficient,” Fellows remarked. “My international relations degree laid the foundation for these skills. Wherever you go in this nation, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, or Oklahoma, there are people from different international cultures. Understanding their values, their beliefs, and their backgrounds allows you to be more effective in establishing relationships that build successful consulting engagements.”
After leaving AMS almost three years ago, Fellows now lives in Folsom, California, and works for ea inc. as a program manager. “I feel very lucky, because I graduated with my master’s when there were plenty of jobs to choose from. As the economy softened, I had developed the skills needed to survive in a niche of the economy that continues to grow,” Fellows reflected. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to speak and participate in several national and regional conferences including the Government Finance Officers Association and the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) annual conferences. Currently, I am one of only a few members of the private sector that has been asked to participate in ICMA’s eGovernment Task Force.”
His advice to current students is that if he had to go through the program again, “I would have participated in Washington Seminar. I attended the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies for a semester in 1995. Even though the center is currently closed, I would search out other opportunities to study abroad during your academic career.”
Fellows and his wife, Becky, have three children: McCall (4), Parker (2), and Carson (two months). He said, “The greatest challenge I find is balancing the demands of family, church, and work, and fulfilling your duties to all of them.”
Sergio I. Flores
A 1993 graduate in international relations and native of Bolivia, Sergio I. Flores said, “One of the best experiences of my life was to study at BYU and especially at the Kennedy Center; I made a bunch of international and local friends. I got an education that has helped me to get new ideas from the different topics and classes and from the experiences of other international and USA students in order to help my country for its development.”
After graduation, Flores returned to his country to work for the Ministry of Finance. “As advisor to the undersecretary of budget, I had the opportunity to apply what I had learned about international public policies, political science, and international trade (business),” he said. “They gave me the responsibility to coordinate an international economic trade agreement with Mexico in the area of goods and services. I also worked in the elaboration for the public budget for 1994 and1995.”
Two years later, he began work for the undersecretary of tax policy. “I was addressing fiscal reforms relative to the internal revenues, customs, and international agreements, in order to reduce the Bolivian deficit, increase the national revenues, and the global economy,” said Flores. “We were also working with international development organizations such as IDB, the UN, and World Bank, to get some financing for the reforms.”
This experience led to an opportunity with the United Nations in the Department of National Development, where he managed twelve projects for the economic and public finance sector. “I learned all the international procedures of the UN and IDB,” said Flores.
In 1997, Flores left to attend Texas A&M University to pursue an MBA. “After the MBA, I came back to Bolivia and got a post graduate in public strategy. And in December 2002, I completed a second MBA at the Catholic University of Bolivia. They have an agreement with Harvard University, therefore, I had access to the same material Harvard students do. I decided on this to exchange experience and to know the national reality of applying the USA education system,” Flores explained.
In the meantime, Flores had been working on a project of structural reform in international commerce. He faced the challenge of changing the Bolivian customs structure, international procedures, and international trades and agreements to increase revenues on imports.
Now he is back at the Ministry of Finance as a senior advisor and coordinator of international cooperative projects with the vice ministry of tax policy (formerly called the undersecretary). “We are now dealing with a new tax reform in order to have a better tax collection system. I am also coordinating negotiations with the IMF, in order to reduce the national deficit, and have external cooperation (financing), so the government can work in public investments,” said Flores. “Now my intention is to get into politics with a new technical and international vision. I want to help our economy from a higher position or at the embassy.
“International relations helped me to be a better professional with a global vision of how Bolivia can take advantage of other countries’ experiences, (i.e., reforms, both economic and social) and to have international experience in business trade and international commerce. I also learned how to negotiate with international organizations such as the UN, FMI, IDB, and WB.”
Eric T. Jensen
Eric T. Jensen attended ROTC at BYU and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army upon graduation in 1989, with a BA in international relations. “My first assignment was to Fort Knox for basic officer training, where I was taught basic officership as well as basic military tactics within the Armor branch,” said Jensen. “After nine months, I was assigned to a unit known as a Divisional Cavalry unit in Germany. When I arrived in Germany, my unit was doing the last border patrol between what was then East and West Germany. While in Germany, I was leader of a platoon of soldiers, including three tanks and five armored personnel carriers.”
Jensen’s education and upbringing, as the son of an Army officer, piqued his interest in international issues, particularly international and comparative law. “I was looking for a way to satisfy my compulsion to give military service and also work in the international law arena,” he explained. “While in Germany, I discovered that the Army had a program to send me to law school—fully funded. I would have to commit to staying in the Army as a JAG officer for six years after that. Of course, that sounded like something that would allow me to pursue both my professional interests, so I applied and was accepted.”
Thereafter, he attended law school at the University of Notre Dame. Jensen noted that the “educational highlight” was spending the entire second year at Notre Dame’s London campus, where he focused on international issues, adding to the solid foundation he gained at BYU.
Upon graduation and successful passing of the Indiana Bar, the Army transferred Jensen to Alaska, where he got his first chance as prosecutor for eighteen months. “Though I enjoyed criminal law, I still longed to do international law. I received the opportunity to deploy with Task Force Eagle to Bosnia, so I left Alaska and spent the next four years in Germany, including two deployments to Bosnia and several trips to other spots such as Kosovo, Macedonia, and Poland,” Jensen reported.
In the summer of 2000, he returned to the U.S. to attend a ten-month course at the U.S. Army JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the grounds of University of Virginia (UVA). “During the course, I once again focused on international law and wrote a paper that was recently published in the Stanford Journal of International Law.” After completing the course, Jensen was assigned to teach international and operational law at the school, where he began his second year this fall.
“There is no doubt that my education at BYU, particularly my association with Dr. Eric Hyer, Dr. Valerie Hudson, and others, has had a significant impact on my professional qualifications and ambitions,” Jensen attested. “While at BYU, I worked as a teaching assistant for Dr. Hyer, which involved teaching a Friday class. That whetted my appetite for teaching and helped guide me in my decision to teach at the Army JAG school now. Also, the background in international relations and national security studies has been the foundation for my work in the Army.
“More importantly, the ongoing mentoring from Dr. Hyer (even this many years after graduation) has not only been a great professional benefit but also a wonderful example for me as I try to fill my role as a professor,” said Jensen. “I certainly would recommend (and have done so many times) BYU’s international relations and political science departments to prospective university students, not only for the intellectual expertise they will gain there, but also for the leadership and overall educational experience they will receive.”
“For students wanting to enter the business world, BYU’s international relations program offers a solid and versatile education,” according to Stan Larson, vice president of sales at Del Costa Cheese. “A broad understanding of cultures, economies, and political environments are absolutely necessary to be successful in business or political endeavors whether in Johannesburg, Paris, or Los Angeles.”
Having graduated in 1988 in international relations, Larson began his career in business as an analyst for Nabisco Foods in the San Francisco Bay Area. By 1995, he was serving as the national merchandising manager for Nabisco located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He later assumed a marketing role in East Hanover, New Jersey, working for the Planters Nut Company. His career path then took him back into sales in the western U.S. Through a merger, Larson joined Kraft Foods as a national account executive. During this time, he completed his master’s degree in organizational management (University of Phoenix, 2001). He recently accepted the position at Del Costa Cheese, based in Pleasanton, California.
“International relations was, for me, a lesson in global economics. I learned that everything, every action, every event in the world interacts with everything else for good or for bad, depending on your perspective. The broad IR curriculum allowed me to pull together everything from international economics to urban geography to business management to political science as I formed my impression of the world that I would soon jump into when I left BYU,” said Larson.
A. Jamal Qureshi
A 1998 graduate in Near Eastern studies, Jamal Qureshi was born to immigrant parents in Englewood, Colorado, he said, “My father is from Pakistan, and my mother is from Norway. I lived in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, until I was ten years old. After that I grew up in Littleton, Colorado.”
While at BYU, Qureshi attended the Jerusalem Center in the intensive Arabic program. “I was privileged to serve a mission to London, England, where I received my second education in world affairs—meeting people from over 140 different countries and territories and getting to work frequently on my Arabic skills,” he explained.
“My Arabic language instruction and courses in both ancient and modern history of the Middle East stand out as having set the thought patterns that laid the ground for my professional career,” said Qureshi. “Having lived in Saudi Arabia as a child, where my father worked as an expatriate engineer for the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, I came in with an interest in the Middle East, but I left BYU with a much deeper understanding of the social and political dynamics driving events in the region.”
He credits Professors Michael Rhodes (Ancient Near Eastern History), James Toronto (Islam and the Gospel), Dilworth Parkinson (Arabic), and teaching assistant Nader Neiroukh (Arabic—Jerusalem Center) as the instructors who taught him far more than “the subject matter of their courses.”
In his final year at BYU, Qureshi was admitted to two prestigious programs: the MA program in international relations and economics at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., and the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo.
“I deferred my admission to SAIS for one year, and having just gotten married, took my wife off on a one-year crash course in the Middle East in Cairo (she was able to spend the year working at a local pre-school, where she loved teaching both Egyptian and expatriate children),” Qureshi recounted. “I was fortunate to also have received funding for my intensive Arabic studies at CASA from the Fulbright foundation, which provided an opportunity to meet numerous scholars in many fields of research in Egypt. The CASA experience was unforgettable and gave me the opportunity to make a major leap in my Arabic skills. I must say, however, that without my time in BYU’s Arabic program, and specifically the intensive Arabic program in Jerusalem, it would have been hard to reach the level necessary to be accepted into CASA. Indeed, there always seems to be a significant number of BYU students who make it into CASA alongside people from far more high-profile institutions.”
Following that intensive year-long experience, Qureshi did not opt for relaxation. “After our year in Egypt, I did a summer internship at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem in 1999. Jerusalem is a small post, and at the time had no Arabic-speaking Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) assigned to it, so I was fortunate to immediately participate in a meaningful way” attested Qureshi. “I learned a great deal about the pros and cons of life as an FSO, as well as the manner in which Washington utilizes its diplomats around the world—sometimes commendably, sometimes quite poorly. In addition to writing several cables, I and another intern wrote the first-ever State Department Religious Freedom Report for the Palestinian Territories. To this day, our report is the benchmark from which subsequent FSOs have based their reports.”
That summer did allow for reunions with former classmates and church service. “We revisited friends I had made while a student at the BYU Jerusalem Center. I also tried to make myself useful to the Church by writing a report that I gave to church officials summarizing the status of Palestinian church members throughout the Occupied Territories at the time,” said Qureshi.
He and his wife, Chanthavone, returned to the States, where Qureshi began school at SAIS. “I chose a concentration in the energy, environment, science, and technology program, as I felt that I already had a solid regional background in Middle Eastern issues and needed to gain some more practical skills. Along those lines, I also did an economics sub-concentration in international finance, and cross-enrolled in marketing and accounting courses at the University of Maryland’s MBA program,” he said. “SAIS provided an immensely satisfying intellectual atmosphere from both top-notch instructors (many internationally-recognized experts in their fields) and an incredibly diverse and international student body. My experiences as a missionary meshed nicely with others who had been in fields as diverse as the peace corps, venture capitalism in Southeast Asia, the Latin American power sector, international journalism, and Wall Street to name just a few.”
With little actual work experience, Qureshi took advantage of a connection and employed much persistence to undertake several internships during his time at SAIS. “In the summer of 2000, I interned at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Interna-tional Affairs (OASIA). A friend in my local ward is a high-level employee of the department and pointed me to where I should apply after he heard I was looking for an internship. I was in the Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia office, and, despite being a relative novice at economics and knowing next to nothing about the region, I suddenly found myself assigned as the temporary Treasury Department desk officer for Latvia and Lithuania! In practical terms, that meant reviewing all IMF documents concerning the countries and making any comments on the proposed plans from a U.S. government perspective,” he said. “I also worked on other projects such as writing a report on the Russian electric power industry restructuring, and would occasionally represent the Treasury Department at the inter-agency task force on the proposed Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
“For my second internship I wanted to work in the private sector, so after sending in resumes and talking to former employees I got on with Taylor-DeJongh, a firm that performs advisory services to structure financing packages for large infrastructure projects worldwide. The firm has a particular focus on the Middle East and Latin America, with my own work there largely involving performing due diligence research on markets in those and other regions,” said Qureshi. “Perhaps one of the most obscure but interesting tasks was research on wireless phone markets in Africa. It was pretty interesting to see tiny countries, sometimes wracked by civil war or famine, with wireless phone networks whose technology far exceeded American networks (my Internet communication with a Sudanese operator at Sudatel became a prime example). After completing a course on modeling power projects at SAIS, I corrected the financial model for a proposed Brazilian power plant, too.
“My third internship, also in the private sector, was in the firm with which I am now employed, PFC Energy. After meeting several of the senior analysts at the firm during on-campus presentations at SAIS, and after one prior failed attempt to get an internship with them, I contacted a SAIS alumni who worked at the firm who thought highly of me and set up interviews at the firm for me. The result was a brief two-month internship during my last semester at SAIS. In fact, this was more of a trial period for possible full-time employment than an internship, and I was essentially asked to show my abilities through my work at the time,” Qureshi divulged. “Thankfully the internship went well, and, after some further conversations during the summer, I did receive a full-time job offer.”
During the summer of 2001, after his graduation from SAIS, Qureshi interned with the Upstream Public Affairs Division of ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas. “I specifically requested to intern with the upstream division in Houston. That summer with a very large private sector firm was a nice complement to my previous internships with the government and small private sector firms. I was exposed to an entirely different type of organization, where I conducted a study of social and political trends in Tamaulipas, Mexico, for the first half of the summer, and then was transferred to the Middle East and Central Asia office where I participated in the budget process for the region and conducted analysis on political trends in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere,” he said. “Coincidentally, at the end of the summer I also helped negotiate a consulting agreement between ExxonMobil and PFC Energy that involved past (and future) colleagues from the latter.”
With his varied experience and degree in hand, Qureshi did not lack for job offers. “I credit my time at BYU with having given me the foundation of knowledge that guided me into my interest into geopolitical affairs, which in turn led me to explore the range of opportunities available. It was that exploration of opportunities that showed me that international affairs encompasses a vast array of fields, with energy issues being one that I have found a great deal of interest in—thanks to its direct connections to politics, economics, and U.S. foreign policy,” he offered.
Eventually deciding on the offer from PFC Energy, he accepted a position as a Global Oil Market and Middle East analyst. “Though an offer from the Foreign Service remains open through the end of this year, I started this job the week after 9/11 and quickly found the firm embroiled in analyzing what the attacks would mean to the international system. Our clients include energy companies of all sizes, governments, and financial institutions. All of them had a dire need to understand the impact 9/11 would have on their operations and bottom line,” explained Qureshi. “Since joining PFC Energy, I have been trained to understand and analyze global and regional oil market supply, demand, and inventory fundamentals. While there are many consulting firms out there who understand the quantitative aspect of oil markets, what I like about us is that we are one of the few firms that has a strong grasp of both the numbers and the geopolitical issues that are crucial to understanding them. For me, that means opportunities to continue to utilize and expand my knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs and Washington politics to inform our analysis, as well as building new knowledge of other regions of the world and energy markets.”
On the home front, life is just as busy. “My wife is blessed to be a full-time homemaker. Our eldest daughter Jamilah Sengdao is two years old and keeps us very busy with her hyper fun streak. Our twin sons Tor Anouvong and Raad Anourak (our “Sons of Thunder”—both mean thunder, Tor in Norwegian and Raad in Arabic) were born in October 2002 and are keeping life both hectic and fun,” he said. Qureshi recently had his computer-designed Arabic calligraphy piece of the Psalm of Nephi accepted for exhibition in the Sixth Annual International Art Competition at the Church’s Art and History Museum in Salt Lake.
And as if that were not enough to keep him completely engaged, Qureshi is launching a nonprofit-sector initiative. “I am working with two fellow BYU alumni who studied Arabic (James Phipps in Washington, D.C., and Marvin Schroeder in Houston, Texas) to form a nonprofit organization called the Middle East Translation and Analysis Project (METAP) that will publish Middle Eastern press translations and analysis for distribution to key opinion shapers in Washington and beyond.”
Denny C. Roy
Denny C. Roy used his international relations degree from the Kennedy Center as a springboard into academia. “The Kennedy Center program can be an excellent bridge between the bachelor’s and doctorate degrees for a student preparing for an academic career,” said Roy. Graduating from BYU in 1987, Roy credited the preparation for his career to the excellent instruction he received in IR and helpful mentoring from professors like Ladd Hollist and Ray C. Hillam. His bachelor’s degree from the Kennedy Center earned him credit for an MA thesis and one full year of course work, and, after graduating, Roy went on to the University of Chicago, earning a PhD in political science in 1991.
While earning his doctorate, Roy served as an assistant political science professor at BYU. From 1992–95, he lectured in political science at the National University of Singapore. Following a three-year research fellowship at the Strategic and Defense Studies Center at the Australian National University from 1995–98, Roy became a visiting professor at National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Currently, Roy serves as the senior research fellow at the Asia–Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, a Department of Defense institution. He specializes in China-related international security issues. “The analytical skills I use in my job today are the ones I gained at the Kennedy Center,” said Roy.
Mahonry J. Sanchez
After returning from a mission to Belgium, Mahonry J. Sanchez knew that “international” would be part of his education and career. “I had a great experience at BYU. After having returned from a mission, I knew I loved languages, and I knew I wanted to be involved in the international arena for a career,” said Sanchez. “The Kennedy Center provided a lot of experiences which helped me prepare and be anxious to work abroad and deal with different peoples and cultures.”
Sanchez worked to enhance his opportunities through one of the center’s award winning programs. “The highlight while at the center, was preparing for the Model United Nations program. Even though at the end I was not able to go, I learned about working with different countries, interests, and cultures, and how to be effective in getting things accomplished in such a complex structure of procedures,” Sanchez professed. “The time I spent at the center definitely helped me to determine that I wanted to work in the international arena.”
Following graduation, Sanchez was hired to manage the corporate accounts in Mexico for Icon Health & Fitness, the leading manufacturer in home fitness equipment. “As time went by, my responsibilities increased. Currently, I am responsible for our international operations, with the exception of the countries belonging to the European Union,” Sanchez reported. “Outside of that region, I supervise people who manage smaller regions and countries. Within countries, we work with distributors and retailers who distribute and sell our products.”
His work offers Sanchez the opportunity travel frequently, too. “It has been a blessing to be able to work with all types of cultures, peoples, and religions, as I travel to over sixty countries in a continual effort to grow our business,” said Sanchez. “One day I could be in Moscow, Russia, and the next day in Saudi Arabia, then the next day in Chile or Korea. It has been a unique growing experience for me. And I am grateful for the preparation BYU and the Kennedy Center provided me to be able to contribute to other societies in the smallest of ways.”
Stephen P. Larson
Steve Larson has been working in the IT field since receiving his degreein international relations from the center in 1987. Larson also received his MPAin 1990 from the Marriott School. “Nearly every contract and position I have been involved with had something of an international flavor to it,” he said. “I spent nearly seven years in Japan as an IT consultant, returning three years ago to get an MS degree from Mercer University in Georgia.”
A trip to Hawaii led to a fortuitous meeting. “I married a third generation Japanese girl from Hawaii, whom I met while on vacation there. She also served a mission to Japan, so living in Japan wasn’t too hard on her,” Larson quipped.
Larson remembers several classes in particular that have benefited him. “My classes with an international focus helped immensely, especially the electives I took in anthropology and geography,” he said. “And I highly recommend taking the Religions of the World class; it gave me an understanding of why certain peoples think and believe the way they do. I have found that many folks overseas view Americans as very ethnocentric. Having Americans working overseas is the best cure for that.”
Larson recently accepted a position as international NOC engineer with Symantec. He and his wife, Olivia, live in Eugene, Oregon.
After graduation with a double major in Latin American studies and Spanish, Kenneth Loso began his career with what he called a “short stint” with Aerolíneas Argentinas in Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, in the marketing and flight control department, before he entered Citibank’s officer training program in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a move that has resulted in a twenty-nine year career associated with Latin America.
While at BYU, Loso said, “I took advantage of a great mixture of courses from political science, sociology, business finance, history, and geography and economics— all associated with Latin America. The challenge was that we were catapulted into upper divisionlevel classes without having come up through the entry level classes and then we would have to compete grade-wise with both undergrads usually in their last year and grad students going for a master’s.”
Given that challenging start, he added, “As far as I am concerned, it well prepared me to enter an officer trainee program with Citibank and deal with hyperinflation and government overthrows in Argentina as well as the debt crisis of the 80s in Latin America.” During his career with Citigroup, he spent twelve years in the corporate bank managing subsidiaries of multinational Fortune 500 companies and large local corporations, twelve years working with financial institutions, and for the last five years in training and consulting activities.
In addition to his travel, he has also lived in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico, as well as the United States. “At one point in my career I managed a risk portfolio of accounts with credit facilities totaling $6.7 billion dollars. The largest single transaction that we successfully closed totaled $3.2 billion dollars, earning approximately $26 million dollars in revenue,” Loso recalled. That deal resulted from “simply reading my company’s annual report and the annual report of my client and making a connect on losses experienced by both in the same product, and then finding a solution.”
As to the impact of his education on his career, Loso stated, “Latin American studies prepared me to be better balanced to face and deal with very difficult and volatile market conditions as well as in times of personal safety issues due to adverse sociopolitical conditions at various intervals of my career.
“I will always be in debt to the outstanding professors I was privileged to learn from and their ability to take the academic to the practical in order to actually apply my education to the conditions on the ground of each country where I worked.” His current position as a business learning director has brought a new set of challenges. “I have direct contact with corporate line officers and bank customers for whom I am challenged to design, develop, and execute new training programs that will better prepare others to face a constantly changing business and market environment,” Loso explained. “This creates new opportunities to generate new revenue while protecting the risk assets of the institution.”
He is also responsible for risk, global finance, and customer training in Latin America. “Again, the exposure I received in the Latin American studies program was excellent preparation for almost any business position in Latin America. I would strongly recommend complimenting it with a master’s in finance, economics, and/or business administration, but certainly it prepared me to deal with many difficult issues in the dynamic foreign markets in Latin America, which is where I went shortly after graduation.”
Loso shared insights about his education and tips for students 24. today, as he counseled,”My language major enabled me to gain an appreciation for the culture and actually think in another language similar to the client base I would be attending.This greatly helped the communication process right from the start. It is incredible what can be learned from the many literature classes associated with the foreign language major. Together with the Latin American Studies major, it was possible for me to concentrate on those countries in Latin America where I would beworking. I quickly understood that each country has its distinct culture and customs that must not only be learned, but understood.”
Loso added, “The program allowed us to delve into several projects dealing with specific countries which permitted valuable insights into those cultural differences. I was much better prepared than many of my colleagues to recognize those differences, and in the end it allowed me to be much more successful in my business activities.”
Loso graduated in 1972, long before the Kennedy Center existed, but he has certainly maximized his education as he has worked in Latin America.
Jenny Hale Pulsipher
Following an undergraduate degree in English at BYU, Jenny Hale Pulsipher entered the American Studies master’s program at the Kennedy Center in 1985. “I wrote my thesis on the theme of pilgrimage in the works of Willa Cather. I chose American Studies, because I wanted to better understand the historical and cultural context of the literature I had been studying,” Pulsipher said. “The center gave me a good place to begin the transition that has since landed me in history.”
After completing her courses, family responsibilities called as she and her husband Michael moved to Palo Alto, Philadelphia, and Boston, where he completed his medical and residency training and a post-doctoral fellowship. Pulsipher found free-lance editing, defended her master’s thesis in 1989, began their family, and in 1993 she entered a doctoral program in American History at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. “I accepted a position in the history department at BYU in 1998 and graduated from Brandeis in 1999. My husband then followed me to Provo,” she stated. “My field of interest is early American history, particularly Indian/English relations. My most recent article appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly in 2001 (http:// www.wm.edu/oieahc/WMQ/ Apr01/), and I have a book, This New Albion World: The Contest of Authority in New England, that will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2003.”
Of her year at the Kennedy Center, Pulsipher recalls that it was “excellent preparation for my PhD program. I still consider the core graduate seminar I took from Professor Ladd Hollist to be the most rigorous course, and one of the most beneficial, of my graduate career. It prepared me very well for the substantial reading load and, particularly, the analytical expectations of my doctoral courses at Brandeis.”
She credits her classmates and faculty mentors with a critical role in her academic progress. “I learned a lot from the small, close group of students at the center that year, many of whom had more experience in the kinds of reading and thinking covered in our core courses than I did at the time. Dr. Hollist, who directed the program that year, was a marvelous teacher and mentor. He expected the very best from us, and his encouragement of me to continue my training (at a time when I did not think it would fit into my life) played an important role in my return to graduate school four years after completing my work at BYU,” Pulsipher noted. “I was also very fortunate in two brilliant and humane thesis advisors—Richard Cracroft and John Murphy (in succession, as I shifted my thesis topic from Mark Twain to Willa Cather).
“My year in the Kennedy Center was a happy one, intense and invigorating. I worked hard and learned a great deal. Because of that positive experience, I have encouraged others to apply to the program, including my younger brother, Michael Hale, who graduated with a master’s in Asian Studies in 1992,” she concluded.
Pulsipher is an assistant professor of history at BYU. Her husband, Dr. Michael Pulsipher, is the acting clinical director of pediatric blood and marrow transplantation at Primary Children’s Medical Center. They are the parents of four children.
Marvin A. Schroeder
Marvin A. Schroeder’s study abroad in Israel (1992) was more than a sightseeing trip—it was the springboard for his career in business consulting. Enthralled by the culture and politics, he returned to the Holy Land three years later to hone his language skills in the intensive Arabic program at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies as part of his BA in international and area studies.
In addition to guiding his career, Schroeder related that his “completely delightful” education at the Kennedy Center impacted his thinking and reasoning in the business world. He recalls Professors Dilworth B. Parkinson, William J. Hamblin, Daniel Peterson, James A. Toronto, and Donna Lee Bowen as the most influential during his education. He claims his international studies degree “taught me to absorb new knowledge quickly and then communicate it expertly by word or pen.”
Capitalizing on his talents and interests, Schroeder continued developing his understanding of Middle Eastern political and business dynamics while pursuing his MBAat Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management. He focused his studies on finance, international political economy, and the Middle East. Following graduation, Schroeder landed a job as a senior consultant with Arthur Andersen, a business consulting firm. “Learning other cultures, languages, histories, and political systems of the Middle East set me apart as a circumspect and knowledgeable individual in the workplace,” Schroeder reported.
As senior consultant, his duties included consulting in the oil, gas, and utility industries; financial and scenario modeling; market and economic analysis; and developing expert opinions and reports for international, domestic, and governmental arbitrations and legal actions. Schroeder worked with big name, multinational clients such as Shell Oil, Texaco, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Pennzoil.
Schroeder asserted that “one of the intangibles of an international studies background is flexibility.” Accordingly, after three years with Arthur Andersen, Schroeder shifted his career and began his current job as the business planning and market strategy manager for Compaq Computer Corporation in Houston, Texas. At Compaq, Schroeder is responsible for market research and strategy development, financial forecasting and analysis, and developing the business plan division. “I instinctively look at all the angles to find a solution in a way that more technical people around me do not,” he stated.
Moreover, Schroeder added, “My education comes in handy in everyday interactions and business relations. It makes for good conversation, selfsatisfaction, and power over the flood of opinions and rhetoric we are so beset by in this wild and wonderful world.”
Schroeder graduated from the Kennedy Center in 1995 in International and Area Studies.
Seneca E. Johnson
“I first became interested in foreign cultures because they fascinated my mother. Every year, she spent months researching the holiday and Christmas traditions of a culture or country. Each Christmas Eve, our family celebrated the holiday using the traditions of that year’s country. As I got older, my father began teaching me about different economic systems and how each system impacted every aspect of life. With all this going on, it is not surprising that by the time I was about fourteen—and with not a clue how to do it—I had decided that I wanted to work in embassies,” recalled Seneca E. Johnson, foreign service officer (FSO), currently stationed in the Department of State, Economic and Business Bureau, covering energy issues in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China.
“In hot, if somewhat uninformed, pursuit of my goal, I enrolled as an international relations major my freshman year at BYU. The first semester of my sophomore year, on the first day of PlSc 200, Dr. Stan Taylor said we should all take the Foreign Service exam. I remember thinking, with all the confidence of the young and idiotic, ‘Ok, so THAT’S how I do it.’ I took the test as soon as I was old enough, and I was hired the February after I graduated,” Johnson said.
She joined the Foreign Service in March 1991, served her first tour in London as a consular officer (1991–93), and then served in Tunis, Tunisia (1994–95), as an economic reporting officer, after French language training at the Foreign Service Institute. From 1996 to 1998, she served as the Iran desk officer for sanctions, nonproliferation, human rights, and energy. Husband, Eric Gaudiosi, participated with Johnson for a one-year Bosnian language training course (1998–99), followed by a two-year assignment in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. “In Bosnia, I covered political affairs in the federation, one of the two entities comprising Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she explained.
“I believe my education, both before and during my time at the Kennedy Center, was crucial. I use what I learned at the Kennedy Center literally every day, and my experiences there provided an excellent foundation for all that I have learned since. In particular, the emphasis on clear, concise writing and logical reasoning has been invaluable. Anything remotely resembling an academic or a highly-embellished ‘purple prose’ style is savagely ridiculed by most FSOs. I am grateful that the Kennedy Center offered practical education in foreign affairs—not something everyone receives! In retrospect, I doubt I could have had any better preparation for my career,” Johnson concluded.
Jonathan R. Kehr
Jonathan R. Kehr is serving as a United States Marine Corps captain in Okinawa, Japan. Kehr’s interest in things international began as a young adult. “While serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala (1991–93), I became enamored with learning about other cultures, languages, and religions throughout the world,” he explained.
Kehr soon found his niche at the Kennedy Center. “International relations at BYU seemed very fitting for me because I enjoyed every class required. The international political science courses, anthropology, geography, world religions, language, economics, and international business courses all impressed me. When I first selected international relations as a major, I did not have a career picked out, but I knew that I wanted to be global,” he said. He also took advantage of a travel opportunity with Study Abroad London that whetted his appetite for additional international experiences.
“When I attended BYU, I remember getting some pretty crazy looks from folks when they heard my future plans with the Corps. I cannot think of a profession more rewarding for my family and me than service in the Marines,” he remembered. Kehr is the Landing Support Detachment Commander in the Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. In this assignment, he has served and trained in Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, mainland Japan, and Iwo Jima.
“One of my favorite operations was working and living on the sands of Iwo Jima, while supporting the 56th Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima. During four days, I explored the caves where the defenders spent their last days prior to the Marines conquering the island. I stood on Mt. Sirubachi, where the infamous flag raising occurred,” Kehr recalled. “I met veterans of that battle and accompanied the now-grown children of Medal of Honor recipients. Although a horrible battle was fought on Iwo Jima, there was a peaceful feeling on the island. I felt grateful for those young Marines and sailors that sacrificed their lives for our freedom—I walked on hallowed ground.”
Kehr has led the Motor Transportation Operator Marines and, in his current assignment, he is a logistics officer for the Heavy Equipment Operators and Landing Support Specialists Marines. “My responsibilities include commanding service support Marines on beaches during amphibious assaults. We ensure the equipment, personnel, and supplies are delivered from the beach forward,” Kehr explained. “These Marines also externally load supplies and equipment onto hovering helicopters, receive and send personnel from airfields, and are responsible for loading and offloading Navy ships that we use for deployment. In addition to their specialty, every Marine must train to fight as riflemen.”
In October, Kehr’s unit deployed aboard the USS Ft. McHenry for a humanitarian assistance mission in East Timor. “I recently taught a geography/international relations lesson to my Marines about current world events—the men were curious about a few things. The curriculum that I taught was mainly from memory from BYU international relations courses and information from current events that I continue to track to this day. I taught out of the atlas I used during my geography courses that I took while at BYU,” he said. Kehr has since been transferred to a larger ship, the aircraft carrier USS Essex, which also has amphibious assault capability.
“The U.S. Marine Corps has provided me with leadership and management opportunities that would be impossible to find elsewhere. I am entrusted not only with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of military equipment, but with the lives of our country’s sons and daughters,” Kehr expressed. “Being a Marine Corps officer daily challenges the mind, spirit, and body.”
The Marine Corps has also allowed Kehr and his wife, Summer (Kelly), to travel in twenty countries. “The Corps has been outstanding for my family. We enjoy the adventure. I love having a job that requires intellect and fortitude, and, besides, who wouldn’t want to get paid to shoot guns, spend time outdoors, travel the world, and ride in helicopters?” Kehr asked.
Kehr received a double major BA in international relations and geography from BYU in December 1997. He and Summer are the proud parents of two girls, Penelope and Anna Persephone, who are waiting in Okinawa for his return.
D. Gregory Olson
My fascination with international relations began as a small child when my father would play the “map game” with us. He would take the large atlas off the shelf and we would lie on the floor with our heads hovering over the map of some distant land. We would plan an extended expedition to the Alps, or Africa, and talk about all of the things we would see and do when we got there, and what kind of currency or clothing we would need. The seeds he planted grew deep roots, and all seven of his children became student voyagers or international backpackers of sorts.
I dabbled in French and Spanish during high school, but my linguistic talents were latent at best. By the time I reached BYU in 1983, my older sister Lori had already graduated with an IR degree and spent considerable time studying abroad. My very naïve approach to college manifested itself when a good friend asked me what classes I had signed up for my first semester. After going through a list of classes such as geography of the world, Chinese 101, and several upper division classes, he laughed at me and told me I could not take them. Growing incensed, I demanded to know why. “You have to take classes within your major to graduate,” was all he said.
The BYU catalog listed all the majors and my classes fit very nicely under the heading “International Relations (IR).” That was it. I showed him my new-found major and he laughed at me again. It was then that I learned that “prerequisite” courses were required before matriculating in upper-division courses. It took three tries to pass PlSc 200. That TA was so pedantic about things that only he, Stan Taylor, and Kate Turabian thought were important! I found a recovery group for people who had been traumatized by comma-splice errors and failing to double space after a colon. We met in the “old” Lee library and drifted through the stacks in a semi-silent stupor, muttering things like “Who cares how many flush toilets there were in Pakistan in 1973. Burkina Faso? I can’t find Burkina Faso—it’s not in this stupid book!” I am so glad I took (and finally passed) PlSc 200. What I discovered was that life was not about arguing with TAs over minutiae; life was about expecting excellence from myself and correcting errors along the way. What a great lesson.
After a two-year mission to Brazil, the latent language gene kicked in and my paradigms changed. Living with and serving the wonderful Brazilian people taught me something so incredibly basic that had eluded me in college. I was trying to study language out of context. Language was more than connecting nouns and verbs and dissecting sentences during an audio lab. I had to be immersed in the culture of a people and see how they lived life and made decisions before I could ever hope to speak another language. Language embodies a people’s hopes, dreams, desires, aspirations, and destiny. This, I discovered, was the essence of an IR education.
The most valuable tools that IR studies provided me were the ability to form opinions based on personal research and a desire to look outside the box for new parameters and dimensions to life’s problems and questions. As graduation approached, the reality of paying bills and taking care of my young family loomed large on the horizon. I started looking for a career that encompassed the wonderful things I learned as a student that paid more than eight dollars an hour to start. I remember sitting in a room at the Wilkinson Center with two or three hundred fellow students as we listened to the FBI, CIA, and foreign service representatives tell us about careers that paid just above the poverty level and required a master’s degree.
Although my wife and I felt destined to work in the foreign service, it was not to be. We had decided to educate our children by letting them experience new cultures, but we would not be doing it via the U.S. Government.
When I was feeling quite desperate, it was then that I understood a new life lesson: often life does not provide a neat set of blue-prints with a complete plan ready for implementation.
I call this the Nephi Principle. Nephi understood that getting his family to the promised land was not just about transportation and travel arrangements. Nephi had to bang the iron out of the rock, make tools, and then God would show him how to work the timbers from time to time. That has to be a little bit like PlSc 200! I love applying lessons from the Book of Mormon to understand current events and twists and turns that life provides. IR provided me with incredible tools, but my wife and I were to use those tools in new ways.
The Nephi Principle aside, one must still feed his family! As we prepared to relocate to Phoenix and attend Thunderbird Institute (an international management school), we were led a very different direction. The road less-traveled makes all the difference. A medical software company hired me to train doctors in the use of computerized diagnostic equipment. Within six months, I was deeply entrenched in a large, integrative medical practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, helping to develop new tests for chronically ill patients. Two years later, we developed new equipment and software that has enhanced doctors’ ability to diagnose such things as chronic mercury toxicity, pesticide poisoning, and chemical exposure. The more I learned, the more I wanted to care for patients myself. The only thing in my way was the lack of a medical degree and a few laws that needed to be fixed.
PlSc 200 taught me how to research laws, and I began putting those IR tools to work. With a small group, I wrote new legislation in Nevada that provided for two new categories of medical practitioners. Based on laws in California for medical assistants and physicians’ assistants, this new Nevada law was the first in the nation to regulate homeopathic assistants and advanced practitioners of homeopathy. The State of Arizona passed a very similar bill a year after our bill became law in Nevada. Working on that piece of legislation was exhilarating.
Since finishing a degree in IR at BYU, my studies have taken me to the British Institute of Homoeopathy in London, where I earned a diploma in homeopathic medicine. Commuting from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on weekends, I eventually finished a master’s and a PhD in homeopathy from Curentur University. For the last twelve years, I have been privileged to practice at the Nevada Clinic under the tutelage of F. Fuller Royal, MD.
Now it seems that the road less-traveled is taking me to the West Indies, where I will complete my MD degree in allopathic medicine. This time, however, my wife and I are doing this with six children! We try to put our family first, and, in spite of the educational demands placed on us, we seem to be succeeding. It is my hope to develop new distance-based learning programs for medical students via the Internet.
The Foreign Service never quite materialized for us, but the desire for international experiences is still as strong as ever. We homeschool our children and travel is an important component of our curriculum. In March 2001, two of my sons and I traveled throughout Guatemala for several days. They kept careful journals (well, as careful as you can when you’re eight and ten years old) about their experiences. One of the things they noticed immediately was the conspicuous absence of flush toilets. My wife and daughter were scheduled to volunteer in a Peruvian orphanage when the earthquake delayed their plans. Suffice it to say, the IR spirit is alive and well in our home. It brings me great joy that one of our favorite family games is still the “map game.”
It is my belief that IR students and professionals have much in common with Nephi. We study cultures, languages, political systems, and economics, and then we try to apply it, teach it, and improve upon it. At times, life is viewed as a goal that must be achieved or a degree that must be obtained, but the Nephi Principle reminds us that it is the process that provides the wisdom. Joy happens while we journey— not just when we arrive. Upon the wall over my desk are several framed diplomas reminding me of roads less-traveled. The truth is that I will always be an IR student trying to understand such imponderables as why people get sick, why countries get sick, how people in Kosovo, Iraq, North Korea, or Washington, D.C., think, and less importantly, why people with thirty items in their cart get into the express-checkout line at the grocery store.
Garth Knudson, a Kennedy Center graduate involved in e-business, attributes his success in life to “a great MBA, hustle, and blessings from above.” After graduating from BYU, Knudson worked as a research associate at Technology Catalysts International, where he had the opportunity to work with companies from Japan, Russia, Argentina, South Africa, and the States—not quite the Latin-American-specialist job he was looking for, but still opportune. “I traveled to Buenos Aires and New York City to learn about the companies and products in the chemical, oil and gas, biotech, and pharmaceutical markets,” he said. “Working at this company made me decide to get an MBA,” said Knudson, who attended the
Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. They offered a dual-degree program in management and international studies with Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona. “I liked the class size of 150, and the focus on personal growth and achievement,” he said.
Focusing on marketing and finance, Knudson enjoyed his time at school and worked part-time on consulting projects for Cleveland-based companies. It was during this time that he decided to expand his expertise to the Internet. “I developed a project focusing on Internet growth in Latin America,” he said. “I pitched the project to a Thunderbird alumnus working for RealNames.com. She liked the idea and sponsored my project.”
That project won him a spot at the Los Angeles Internet World Conference and a gig for RealNames analyzing Media Metrix statistics—a job which attracted his current employer. One month before graduation, Knudson secured a job with CareerBuilder.com, where he focuses on penetrating U.S. markets. “However,” he says, “e-business is definitely an international phenomenon, and the companies we’re targeting as clients have international divisions.”
Knudson graduated from Brigham Young University in 1994 with a BA in International Relations. He and his wife, Rachel, reside in Virginia.
Michael Murdock’s interest in Asia began ordinarily enough as an extension of his mission to Taiwan. While at BYU, Murdock double-majored in Chinese and Asian Studies. The real turning point in his academic career took place while he pursued a master’s in international and area studies at the Kennedy Center. While there, he was offered a unique opportunity to study modern Chinese history at Cheng-chi University in Taipei; his son was born during that study period in China.
Murdock asserted, “That experience at Chen-chi paved the way” to his doctoral studies in history at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Studying history at a Chinese university and my Kennedy Center MA set me apart from other applicants and got me accepted into graduate school. Without my Kennedy Center experience, my academic career would have definitely gone a completely different direction. It also gave me a first-rate chance to work closely with wonderful, committed mentors in Paul and Eric Hyer, Valerie Hudson, and Samuel Chao (no longer at the university). Those relationships continue today,” Murdock added.
After teaching stints at Bowling Green State in Ohio, Michigan State in Lansing, and the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan, Murdock accepted an opportunity to return to BYU in the history department. Rating his job satisfaction as high, he also admitted the pressure to publish is extraordinary, but he appreciates the challenge.
He said it helps that he knew coming in that the expectations were high. “BYU is pushing to accelerate its scholarly contribution; because we are all under the same pressure to publish, solidarity develops, especially among the newer faculty.”
In August 2000, Murdock brought back a stack of materials on the Nationalist Revolution, missionary institutions, and the rise of nationalism in China from government archives in Taiwan. “During the 1920s, missionary educators in Christian schools taught China’s youth to appreciate liberal democracy, sympathy for the West, and Christian values. China’s revolutionaries felt threatened by this agenda, because it competed with their own vision of close Russian ties, strong centralized authority, and an anti-imperialist (or anti-West) China.
“As a result, they worked to turn Chinese students in Christian schools against their missionary teachers and administrators. Since the missionaries refused to suppress their own students, they had no choice but to submit to the revolutionary government. Significantly, the revolutionary tactic worked against Christians but not other foreign educators. For example, when revolutionaries incited students to demonstrate against Japanese schools in the north, Japanese and warlord troops crushed the demonstrators. Missionary schools proved a perfect revolutionary target because they refused to employ force. Therefore, in a few years most Christian schools had become subject to revolutionary control,” he elaborated.
Murdock’s research will culminate in a book.
Henrik Östhed, senior manager in Accenture’s Strategy Practice in Scandinavia, has managed major projects in the communications, high-technology industries, and health care and financial services sectors in the United States and Europe for the past six years. Östhed’s achievements include the creation of one of the largest integrated Health Management Organizations (HMO) in the United States, and the development of a European distribution strategy that affects sales, manufacturing, and back-office functions for product lines—effectively lowering costs and improving performance.
As an author of management documents and a leader of operating strategy practice in the Nordic countries, Östhed said, “My consulting approach is impact oriented with an emphasis on quantum leaps and developing solutions that are not only innovative, but also practical. Most of my work focuses on assisting executive management of major companies in addressing strategic, organizational, and change management issues.”
In addition to his career accomplishments, Östhed sits on the board of directors for Global Data Group, an internet data management/collaboration services company, and is serving as chairman of a multi-country chapter of Brigham Young University’s alumni association.
Östhed received a BA in international relations and economics at BYU, and earned an MBA with honors from the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden, after which he was invited to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting scholar.
Jay Rollins, recently assigned as regional inspector general for audit with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Pretoria, South Africa, was first bitten with the international bug while serving as a missionary in Central America. “My mission included parts of Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras. I was amazed that four countries so close together geographically could be so different culturally,” Rollins said.
Upon completion of his mission, he returned to BYU, married, and changed his major to international relations. “I credit Drs. Stan Taylor and Ray Hillam for being positive influences during that time. I had the opportunity to serve an internship in Washington, D.C., where I observed the political and legislative processes—one of my most rewarding experiences,” Rollins recalled.
After graduating with a BA in international relations in 1981, Rollins began working on his MBA at BYU’s Marriott School, taking all the international courses he could. His career did not take long to begin. “Following graduation, I worked briefly as an accountant and budget director before being hired as a Foreign Service auditor with USAID in Washington, D.C. They sent me, my wife, and five children to Cairo, Egypt, where we lived for eight years. During our stay, we added two more children, who were born in local Cairo hospitals,” he said.
Rollins’ work in Egypt included conducting and overseeing performance and financial audits of USAID programs, activities, grantees, and contractors. Fond memories include the people they knew through the Church and the places they saw. “Our family had many church experiences as we worked with Latter-day Saint African refugees, visited the Holy Land, and took a group to Mt. Sinai and the Red Sea for youth conference,” he related.
Until his recent reassignment, Rollins had been serving as assistant director of the Performance Audits Division of USAID’s Office of Inspector General. “I am grateful to be able to work in a career that allows me to make a difference in the lives of poor people throughout the world, as well as provide for my own family,” he reported. Rollins is looking forward to continuing his international career with USAID.
Jefferson Smith, a native of Houston, Texas, had his first international experience at age seventeen, when his family moved to Spain for six months. “I had a wonderful, very informal education. I knew I wanted to live like that,” Smith said. After returning from a mission to Germany in 1995, he attended BYU. As a result of his American Heritage class, “I realized my deep belief in the Constitution and a love for the ideals of freedom and equality. I knew I wanted to work in law and government.”
Smith took all the international political science classes he could find, and Professor Valerie Hudson soon became his friend and mentor. On one occasion, as Smith was researching online, he found the State Department web site and read about a career possibility as a Foreign Service Officer—the first time he had ever heard of such a thing. “It sounded like the dream job— traveling around the world, interacting with different cultures, changing jobs and homes every few years, while enjoying the security of a tenured career. So I signed up to take the FSO exam,” said Smith.
In September 2000, that dream job came to fruition for Smith, wife Stacey, and his two children, Noah (3), and Caleb (1). The first move took them to Arlington, Virginia, until Smith received an assignment to Kingston, Jamaica, where he has been serving as a vice consul in the Consular section of the embassy since January 2001.
“I am really loving all the aspects of Foreign Service life so far—professional, social, family life, and church life,” he reported. “The Kennedy Center program offered me an interdisciplinary way to broaden my education. Each course offered me something that has helped me in my personal and professional pursuits. Most of all, I gained a hope and faith that we can serve God by serving our country, and that we better serve our country (and others) when we serve God.”
Smith received his BA in international studies from the Kennedy Center in December 1999.
Rebecca (Wood) Callahan
Rebecca (Wood) Callahan lives in Iwakuni, Japan, where her husband is stationed with the Marine Corps. During a tour of duty in Arizona, Callahan “became a mentor for the Marine Corps Family Team Building (MCFTB) program. I conducted classes for new Marine Corps (and some Navy) spouses on this ‘strange’ and unique lifestyle. In Japan, I am still a MCFTB trainer, but I do not have as much hands on work with the local team. Instead, I am one of ten trainers who go to various bases and sites to train new mentors and team leaders. This has been a very rewarding job.”
She has taken her volunteer opportunities seriously. “I am now also the key volunteer coordinator for Marine Air Group 12 in Iwakuni—the official liaison between the commanding officer and families and spouses of the group. I ensure that families are taken care of and that vital information is passed to them.”
This is in addition to her own family responsibilities. “Since my children are now in school full-time, I have become a substitute teacher for the elementary school here. I would like to continue my higher education, but my husband has not been stationed in areas that are conducive to obtaining the graduate degree I would like. Internet schools are becoming more numerous and with higher quality degree programs, so perhaps someday I will be able to do most of my graduate work in that manner,” said Callahan.
She received her degree in international relations from the Kennedy Center in 1987. “My degree opened the door at Syscon. However, because it was not a technical degree, I could not expect to be paid very well at that type of company. I did receive great experiences while there though, so it was worth it.
“I worked on the defense contract side of the company where I began as test information manager in support of integration and certification testing, conducted at the Land Based Evaluation Facility (LBEF) at TRICCSMA in Newport, Rhode Island (no longer active due to downsizing). I then served as a project manager and contract liaison for the Central Data Repository. Eventually, the contract I was assigned to was converted to government positions. I moved to offices in Middletown, where I served in several management positions.
“In 1996, my husband was transferred to Virginia. I had every intention of staying home during this time, but Syscon asked if I would telecommute from my home. I was thrilled to be able to continue working and yet stay home to be with our children during my husband’s many absences,” explained Callahan.
Her education continues to serve her in unexpected ways. “My degree has actually helped me more in supporting my husband’s career. I participated in ROTC at BYU, which now helps me understand when my husband has to be gone so often. I also understand the regional conflicts and dynamics that affect where we go, when he will be gone, and why he is gone. Additionally, I find that I am open to new cultures and excited to go places that some military spouses are not excited about. I am more accepting of the cultural differences because of my educational background, and because of how my parents raised me—my father has a degree in foreign affairs,” Callahan concluded. (Robert S. Wood has been a lecturer at the center.)
In April, David Deem joined the strategy group of Xqsite, Inc., a startup web design company that is part of the Internet incubator Divine InterVentures, Inc.
“I chose international relations (IR, now international studies) as a major due to a long-time interest I had, and continue to have, toward international issues. I particularly enjoyed the holistic approach the interdisciplinary education afforded me,” said Deem. “Specifically, Professors Richard Jackson and Chad Emmett enriched my experience with geography. Similarly, Professor Valerie Hudson’s national security class was great.”
Deem worked on the Journal of International and Area Studies staff, culminating as co- editor. The journal played a significant role in his Kennedy Center experience, creating friendships and providing experience that continue to serve him well to this day.
After graduation, Deem accepted an offer as business manager with Kennedy Center Publications, where he managed the financial, marketing, and fulfillment areas. In 1994, David redesigned the fulfillment and inventory processes and created the office’s first web site.
“Another memorable event came after I graduated, but while still working for the center,” Deem explained. “David M. Kennedy had passed away and we were able to attend his funeral. There were several general authorities in attendance, including President Hinckley, and others from the Quorum of the Twelve. I gained an even greater appreciation of his life and couldn’t help but be impressed by that incredible tribute to him.”
After three years, Deem returned to the familiar surroundings of Chicago to pursue a career in information technology (IT) with Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and shortly thereafter went to work for one of its subsidiaries, A.T. Kearney. While with Kearney, he managed several global IT projects that afforded him the opportunity to travel to South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
“While I’ve been working within IT, I’ve frequently used the skills gained from my undergraduate education. It has been extremely important to identify and be sensitive to potential issues when designing systems that will be used by people of different culture and ethnicity. Also, when working with committees made up of people from around the world to gain consensus, I was able to utilize important principles learned while a student at the Kennedy Center,” Deem articulated.
“I’m fortunate that even though I don’t have a “hard skill” like engineering or computer science, my employers have valued my IR degree as indicative of a well-rounded education,” he added.
Deem graduated from BYU in 1993 with a BA in international relations and a Portuguese minor. He and his wife, Julia, celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary this year and have three sons: Trevor (6), Zachary (4), and Benjamin (18 months).
A native of Buckingham, VA, Mark Henshaw moved to Falls Church, VA, in 1999 when he began working as an analyst with the Office of Transnational Issues, Directorate of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“As an undergraduate, I had never seriously considered attending graduate school, but a brief conversation with Professor Valerie Hudson [political science] changed my mind.
“She told me a graduate degree would open doors for me. I thought she was merely referring to job possibilities, but looking back I suspect she had more than that in mind. She was right,” Henshaw offered.
That encounter brought him back to BYU, where he enrolled in the Kennedy Center’s graduate international relations program. Hedging his bets, he also enrolled in the Marriott School’s MBA program. Henshaw elaborated, “I figured that while international study would be interesting, I would use the MBA to support myself after graduation. My attitude changed in a hurry. My time at the center not only prepared me to become an analyst, but encouraged my desire to pursue security studies.
“At the center, I first learned the satisfaction that comes from tackling important societal and political issues. Now that I’ve felt that same satisfaction in helping strengthen our national security, I doubt that many private sector jobs would be nearly as fulfilling. I’ve had Marriott School friends ask why I took a government job that pays half what I could be making elsewhere. Many of them don’t understand my perspective when I tell them it’s more about personal fulfillment than money,” he added.
Henshaw’s education was not limited to the classroom, “Looking back, I realize that I learned just as much outside of the classroom as I did inside. Other students and I frequently spent hours excitedly debating political theories, current events, and other subjects in the graduate carrels. There were probably times when I got a little too excited during those debates and lost my share of those discussions. I learned how to find the strong and weak points of an argument. I was exposed to points of view that I had never considered, and I was forced to take a hard objective look at my own viewpoint.”
The influence of the center’s interdisciplinary faculty, drawn from departments across campus, also left a lasting impression. “I developed strong relationships with my professors that were very satisfying. I spent hours talking with Professor Eric Hyer (then director of graduate studies) and Professor Hudson (my thesis advisor who I still keep in touch with) about a broad variety of subjects. I hadn’t really expected to become friends with my instructors—no student ever does—but it happened.
“The center took me to a whole new intellectual level. My professors helped me develop critical thinking skills that made me look at concepts and theories in a whole new light. In a few short years, I learned some of the same skills that many of my fellow analysts at the agency have tried to develop. Through my Kennedy Center studies, I became both a general scholar and a national security specialist in an area that lead me directly to the agency’s door. I joined the CIA right out of school, but from the beginning I was able to contribute,” Henshaw revealed.
“My only regret about the center is that there’s no doctoral program. If there were, I’d definitely go back when the time comes. That aside, I think my experience there was about as perfect as any graduate student can expect,” he concluded.
In 1999, Henshaw received a combined MA in international relations from the center and MBA with an information technology emphasis from the Marriott School. During his undergraduate years he served as a missionary in the Argentina Trelew Mission (1990–92). He also received his BA in political science and a communications minor from BYU in 1995.
Amini C. Kajunju
Amini C. Kajunju is a project officer over the Africa Trade and Investment Program (ATRIP) at International Executive Service Corps. Kajunju gained international affairs experience while working with other companies’ programs in research and marketing.
Travel opportunities for work and leisure have taken her to Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, India, and Ethiopia. One journey took her to Kenya in conjunction with the Kennedy Center. “I ended my collegiate international career doing a six-month internship in Kenya.”
Her introduction to the center began immediately upon her arrival at BYU. “I am from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and had traveled around prior to coming to BYU. Initially, I sadly thought that I would not be able to travel or take part in international opportunities during my schooling—I was wrong. My first week at BYU, I was introduced to the Model UN (MUN) class and the rest, as they say, is history.” She continues to stay in contact with Cory Leonard, student programs coordinator at the center, whom she met through MUN.
Kajunju acknowledged, “I was always very impressed with the efforts that the ‘management’ of the center made to bring the world to Provo. Professors Jeffrey Ringer, Dave Buckner, Ted Lyon, and many more, served as my mentors. These individuals and all the resources available to students made my time at the Kennedy Center worthwhile and fulfilling.”
Kajunju received a BA in international relations (now international studies) from the center in August 1995. She is currently a graduate student in finance and management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Kajunju will complete her degree May 2002 and will continue her career in economic development in the private sector or with non-profit organizations.
Kevin Kohn, a 2000 Kennedy Center graduate, landed a job with Quantum, a hard drive company in the San Francisco Bay area. Of Kohn’s good fortune, he remarked, “Although this is the technology world, I got the job through a combination of my experience with Model United Nations, international studies degree, international experience, and a little luck or blessing. I am currently working on publishing documentation for various products my division of the company manufactures for an Intranet web site designed to assist training new hires.”
He feels there was a direct connection between his international degree and experience and being hired at Quantum. “The work environment is primarily international in its employee base, with representation from all corners of the globe. I have been asked many times what I will do with an international studies degree. Through networking with people in the course of my studies, experience with various cultures, and diverse types of work and volunteer experience, I stood out among the candidates for the job as one who held a unique perspective and background. I also acknowledge openly that this job was and is a great and marvelous blessing,” he admitted.
Kohn’s background has already paid off in his new work environment as well. “Learning about different cultures in school and abroad enhanced my ability to relate to and cooperate with engineers from various countries. They are intrigued about my interest in them. This enables me to have a great deal of success in carrying out my job of tying the different projects, and their teams, together. They are also extremely interested in the international characteristics of BYU and the Church respectively,” said Kohn.
His career path will also open doors to further learning. “I have the opportunity now to enroll in a master’s program at Stanford University. This benefit is in addition to a generous salary,” Kohn added.
He is also quick to remember others for helping him along the way. “I appreciate the advice from professors and friends over the years. The opportunity to work with the faculty of the center, namely Professors Jeff Ringer and Cory Leonard, provided me with the real world insight into countries and their peoples in the work environment. My education through the center has enabled me to successfully bridge the ‘cultural gap’ faced by many in our modern economy and society. One of my most influential teachers, Paul Kerry, professor of history, instilled in me the vital skill of critically listening to and resolving difficult issues encountered when differing cultures are brought together into one forum,” Kohn summarized.
Ron Sasine received an international relations degree from the Kennedy Center in 1989 after serving a mission to Ecuador (1985–87). “I was very active in the student programs of both the center and the Political Science department and served as the founding president of BYU’s chapter of Sigma Iota Rho,” said Sasine. However, he did not contain all his international activities to campus. “I spent a summer as an intern at the State Department working in the public affairs bureau during Secretary of State George Shultz’s tenure. I originally planned a career in the foreign service and eventually passed both the written and oral exams, later I was disqualified on medical grounds. By that time, I had already begun to redirect my career path toward the private sector with some help from a very influential course I took from Professors Earl Fry (Canadian Studies coordinator) and Lee Radebaugh (of BYU’s Marriott School). At the end of my studies at BYU, I spent five weeks touring with the BYU Singers in the Middle East—Jordan, Israel, and Egypt,” Sasine reported.
As with many students of international studies, Sasine pursued his master’s degree. While attending the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. he “continued to work at the State Department, this time as an analyst on the Cuba desk. We first came to Brazil in 1990 when I accepted a temporary assignment with Westvaco Corporation, a U.S. packaging manufacturer with operations in Campinas. I completed my degree a year later and accepted a full-time position at Westvaco’s international headquarters in New York City. Two years later, we moved to Miami, where I continued to focus on Latin American markets, and in 1995, we returned to Brazil. I am now responsible for our marketing efforts here, as well as my continuing involvement in strategic development throughout the region,” Sasine remarked.
His professors played an important role in moulding this career path. “I can recall several professors who were very important during my Kennedy Center years. First, there was Ray Hillam, who made the world come alive to me and made me believe that I had a role to play. Stan Taylor helped me focus on how to play that role. Earl Fry, Valerie Hudson, Greg Peacock, and Scott Dunaway all shaped my learning in unique and special ways—some focused on the theoretical, while others focused on the practical aspects of foreign policy. I was clearly a child of the Cold War, and I can vividly remember trying to keep track of my throw weights, SALT’s, and MIRV’s for Valerie Hudson, while at the same time listening to Earl Fry’s explanations of what he foresaw as a coming wave in free trade zones,” Sasine elaborated.
“My education has been invaluable to me over the years, both for the academic background it provided and for the wider perspective it gave me from which to view world events. In my graduate program, I fared well compared to my colleagues from other, more prominent undergraduate institutions, and in my career my BYU background has been a continual source of interest on the part of those with whom I come in contact—both in the U.S. and abroad. I look back at BYU with fondness, and I constantly recognize the value of what I gained as a student of the Kennedy Center,” he affirmed.
Daniel L. Nielson
Daniel L. Nielson obtained his BAdegree in international relations from BYU August 1988, receiving the distinctions of magna cum laude and university honors. He received his PhD degree in international affairs at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in 1997.
“I would say that most of my career has been related to my undergraduate degree,” Nielson stated, including his current position as assistant professor of political science at BYU. Other relevant projects he has pursued include: establishing the Journal of Environment & Development, a precedent publication; working as a research assistant; speaking as a visiting lecturer/scholar to universities in the United States and Mexico; and acting as an associate of international relations at the UCSD. Nielson has also received several academic honors and awards, and has authored and co-authored various publications.
Nielson’s research interests include international political economy and developing countries. These interests are evidenced in his current publication projects, which include books addressing: changes in the world bank related to the environment; trade in North America, mainly focused on the North American Free Trade Agreement; and incumbency in legislatures throughout the world.
Nielson stated that he has had several lasting experiences through his association with the Kennedy Center, during both his time as a student to his present research projects as an assistant professor. He was especially quick to cite examples of exemplary professors he learned “how to really think” from—naming Lamond Tullis, Ladd Hollist, and David Magleby. “These three professors opened my eyes to the different possibilities of learning and studying,” Nielson explained. In fact, Nielson’s occupational future was changed because of them. Nielson said, “I had never really considered academics as a career until I experienced their classes.”
Nielson is grateful for his experiences at the Kennedy Center. He has enjoyed the opportunity to return to BYU as a professor and plans to continue his work and research here in the future.
Tiffany Ivins graduated from BYU April 1999 with a minor in international development (literacy emphasis). She acquired additional skills at the Kennedy Center as a field facilitator for International Study Programs (formerly International Field Studies and Internships) students in South Africa and East London and conducted research in the Philippines. Her current position as an international programs officer for Laubach Literacy International was obtained in part because of her overseas experience. “My supervisor tells me that my two internships in Africa have qualified me beyond many degree-holding people in this NGO office. I never would have experienced that without the international programs.”
Ivins also said her “studies at BYU helped me significantly because I was afforded ‘in-the-field’ experience at a very pivotal point in my studies. Professors and programs in the Kennedy Center were great forums for me to explore my previous experiences and to prepare for future adventures. There is nothing like a hands-on experience guided by professors who believe in the students. I am appreciative for committed faculty and staff who fight to make available the interdisciplinary program at the Kennedy Center, and I hope these programs continue and expand.”
Ivins still has contact with many Kennedy Center alumni and teachers and said, “I certainly remember many fond hours passed in the Kennedy Center—philosophical conversations about how we could change the world, resolve conflicts, or initiate revolutions. Although a mere building, I think the Kennedy Center will always be a place I remember as a communal respite to recharge my spirit. The torch is passed, but my flame still burns.”
Laubach Literacy International has already given Ivins the opportunity to conduct field visits to Nepal and Thailand, and she implemented research on “Affects of Maternal Education on Children’s Health” in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nepal, and Bangladesh this summer.
Ivins plans to continue her studies by beginning a master’s degree program in International and Comparative Education at the University of Oxford in October.
L. Gordon Flake
Gordon Flake was appointed executive director of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs in February 1999. Prior to his appointment, he was a senior fellow and associate director of the program on conflict resolution at The Atlantic Council of the United States, and he served as director for research and academic affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America.
“My graduate experience at the David M. Kennedy Center helped solidify my inclination to pursue a career in the international arena. My professors and the various guest speakers [International Forum Series and in classes] brought in to address the combined class came from a variety of fields and further opened a window of perspective and potential.” He also recalls personal moments at “weekly meetings in the ‘war room’ (the Kennedy Center Conference room, where we actually moved beyond trying to apply that week’s episode of Star Trek the Next Generation to international relations); small group discussions of the books we had read that week; the struggle to understand Bruce Bueno DeMesquita’s The War Trap; and hours burrowed in the carrels downstairs. My time in the program was a time of immense intellectual, personal, and spiritual growth.”
Flake travels frequently to Japan, Korea, China, and other countries in Asia as a conference participant and lecturer [he was in Rome while transmitting this by e-mail]. He is a regular contributor on Korean issues in the U.S. and Asian press. He has published extensively on policy issues in Asia and is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Korea 2010.
Born in Rehobeth, New Mexico, he received his BAdegree in Korean from BYU, with a minor in international relations. He also completed his MAat the Kennedy Center. His master’s thesis focused on the economic reforms in Laos.
He lived in Korea for a number of years and speaks both fluent Korean and Laotian. He has four young daughters and is married to Pakayvanh Sisoutham of Vientiane, Laos.
Bethany Brady, a native of Bountiful, Utah, graduated cum laude in international relations, with an emphasis in international development from BYU in December 1998. Brady was a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, a recipient of BYU academic scholarships, and received the Brigham Service Award in 1998.
During her last semester, she completed an internship/field study in South Africa. While there, she was introduced to the NGO, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in Arlington, Virginia, where she is currently employed as senior program assistant. Brady is currently working on “Drug Management for Childhood Illness,” a joint project between MSH, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The project seeks to make life-saving resources more available in health facilities and to ensure that both health-workers and caregivers of children are using medicine correctly. In conjunction with this project, Brady traveled to Uganda in February, where she collaborated with the Ministry of Health to improve the availability, affordability, and use of essential drugs and vaccines in four districts in the country.
Brady acknowledged Dave Shuler, Valerie Hudson, and Donna Lee Bowen for the influence their classes have had, and her field study, in her position with MSH. She also noted the flexibility and encouragement of Chad Emmett, international studies advisor.
She has been accepted to the Master’s of International Health at Johns Hopkins University and the Master’s of Public Health for Developing Countries at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine—it remains for her to choose which program will best suit her career goals.
Sasine Promoted at MeadWestvaco
Ronald D. Sasine has been appointed as the new vice president of global cross-selling for the Consumer Packaging Group (CPG) of MeadWestvaco. According to company statement, Sasine will be responsible for expanding business; identifying new sales and profit potential; and working collaboratively with CPG divisional personnel to connect resources and opportunities. He will also assist in extending these interactions to other Mead-Westvaco operating entities.
After a stint with the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., Sasine had been working for Mead-Westvaco’s Brazilian subsidiary Rigesa Ltda. for six years, where he gained a breadth of experience in market planning, customer development, and international operations (see Alumni Profile, Bridges winter 2001 print). While in Brazil, Sasine had the opportunity of hosting the Marriott School’s business students at his company. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian Packaging Association and of the American School of Campinas, Brazil. He served as a bishop for the Church and as a counselor in the Campinas Brazil Mission presidency.
Sasine, who was the alumni speaker at August graduation, graduated magna cum laude from the Kennedy Center in 1989, and in 1991 he received his master’s degree in international relations from the Nitze School of Advanced Interna-tional Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Karen, and their four children have relocated to New York.
Read Sasine’s address to August graduates in Bridges fall online issue in November.