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.