2017 International Relations DC Winter Seminar Students

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Jessica Berry '19
Joseph Bitransky '20

Joseph Bistransky is currently a freshman at the College looking into a major in International Relations. He was born in Akron, Ohio, but has lived more than half his life overseas, especially in the former Soviet Union, where he experienced first hand the first Ukrainian revolution as well as the crackdown in Russia associated with the second. He hopes to pursue acareer related to international diplomacy in that region after college.

Andrew Bookbinder '19 

Andrew Bookbinder is a sophomore at the College planning on majoring in government. He was born in Washington D.C. but moved to Taiwan shortly after that. As a result of his dad being in the State Department, he’s lived in Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Taiwan (twice) in addition to Arlington,VA periodically. Andrew serves as a member on the William & Mary Undergraduate Student Conduct Council, plays for and serves on the executive board of the William & Mary club rugby team, and is an active member of the Asian American Student Initiative at the College. Since he turned 16, Andrew has worked at the American Institute in Taiwan over his summer and winter breaks, and has a great deal of interest in governmentand foreign policy. He enjoys recreational scuba diving, hiking, and is an avid reader of both science fiction and fantasy.

Dan Brown '19 

Dan is a sophomore at William & Mary pursuing a degree in government, with the intention of continuing on to law school. He conducts research for the Social Networks and Political Psychology (SNaPP) Lab, which he has been involved with since his first semester on campus. He is also a co-captain of Team Blitz, William & Mary’s competitive cross-country club, and went on the Global Medical Brigades mission trip to Nicaragua during the spring of his freshman year. Dan is interested in many aspects of law and government, with a particular emphasis on constitutional law.

Shelby Cataldo '18
Shelby Cataldo is a sophomore at the College pursuing a degree in International Relations. She is currently very busy on campus in her role as a research assistant at the Global Pathways Research Lab, where she is working to design and perform a research project on the comparative impact of the rise of the importance of global terror on the study of International Relations in western and non-western countries. She is particularly interested in the study of counter-terrorism and work involving non-state actors, and would one day like to work in a civilian capacity in the defense and national security industries. Because she is from Connecticut, she does not often get the chance to visit DC, so she is especially looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time in the city and learn all about navigating the metro.
Mathilde Coutte '19
Mathilde is currently a sophomore student fromthe Joint Degree Programme with the University of St Andrews, in Scotland. She majors in International Relations and wants to minor in Arabic. As a French and English citizen, she is bilingual and she also studied Spanish for six years. Having spent all her life in Europe, she is particularly interested in learning more about US foreign policy crafting, in comparison to the French and English system. Mathilde interned in Lloyds bank where she rotated within Financial Markets to gain a better understanding of the banking industry. In the summer of 2013, she also volunteered in the Law and Human Rights
Office in Accra (Ghana) where she worked in a children’s shelter and within isolated communities in need of assistance. On campus, Mathilde is involved in the Salsa and the Running club.
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Emilie Dewael '19

Emilie is currently a sophomore at the College of William & Mary. She is pursuing a joint degree through the University of St. Andrews in International Relations, and she is also working on a minor in Economics. Growing up between France and Germany as well as studying in both the United States and the UK has enabled her to acknowledge many different perspectives of world politics and International Relations. On campus, Emilie is involved with the Sailing and Tennis Clubs, as well as the St. Andrews Sailing and Model United Nations Club. Emilie is grateful for this opportunity to learn more about foreign policy, increase her experience beyond classroom knowledge, and learn about potential career options. 

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Madison Free '19

Madison is a current sophomore at the College, and is majoring in International Relations. Madison is involved in the International Relations Club and is currently a member of the club’s Service Committee, as well as Project Phoenix where she volunteers as a tutor for middle school students. She recently started working as an administrative intern on AidData’s geocoding team. This past summer, Madison worked for Selah Freedom, a non profit that helps to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking. She hopes to one day pursue a career that combines her interests in both international relations and the prevention of human trafficking. Madison is looking forward to spending part of her break in D.C. and is excited to see the city during winter for the first time. 

Hannah Hampton '19

Hannah Hampton is a sophomore at the College of William & Mary, where she is pursuing a degree in International Relations. She is heavily involved in theater and dance, and is an intern for a modern dance company, draMAStic dance works, for which she danced the role of the Mistress in Intrigue, a mystery on marley... at the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C.  Hannah is passionate about traveling and learning languages, leading to her learning both Spanish and Russian. She is delighted to further her knowledge of U.S grand strategy and how it effects the greater global dynamic. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in European and Eurasian Affairs.

Will Heikkinnen
Will Heikkinen '19

Will is a sophomore at the College of William & Mary. He is a major in government and a minor in Hispanic Studies. He hopes after graduating William & Mary to go to law school in a major city, such as DC, New York, or Boston. He was born in Portland, ME, and has lived in both Maine and Massachusetts throughout his life. He loves travel, and it makes sense as he grew up traveling with his mother who is a flight attendant. He previously studied in Madrid, Spain and taught English to elementary school students. He speaks both English and Spanish, and is currently learning Italian at the College. Two of his favorite places to visit are the Outer Banks and the south ofFrance. He has a younger brother at St. Lawrence University and a sister who is a junior in high school. He is an avid Red Sox and Patriots fan and loves movies. He is very excited to live in DC for the first time in the winter!

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Gabriella Hernandez-Figueroa '19

Gabriella Hernandez is a sophomore at the College and is pursuing a major in Government. She continues to work on her fluency in Spanish by taking Hispanic Studies classes and planning to study abroad in Argentina and Spain. Her interest in international affairs was largely driven by her biannual trips to Latin American countries and studying the varied consequences of U.S. intervention in the region. On campus, she is a member of the Latin American Student Union and the Ballroom Dance Club. She looks forward to her time in Washington D.C. and hopes the opportunity will further her understanding of future U.S. foreign policy.

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Naixin Kang '19
Bel Kelly-Russo
Bel Kelly-Russo '18

Bel is a junior at the College, majoring in Government andminoring in Public Health. Being the daughter of parents employed by the government, she has lived in the D.C. area her entire life. On campus, Bel is involved in student advocacy work through volunteering at the Haven, being a Health Outreach Peer Educator, and serving as the Student Assembly Undersecretary of Sexual Health this year. Bel also enjoys volunteering at Head Start with her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and being a tutor with College Partnership for Kids. Having spent some time working on political campaigns, Bel is also very interested in politics; she very much enjoyed being a part of the "Political Polarization" D.C.Summer Institute during the Summer of 2015. Although she is not settled on one career path, she is considering attending law school inthe future.

Zhengyuan Ling '19

Zhengyuan is a sophomore international student major in International Relations and History at William & Mary. From Ningbo, China, Zhengyuan speaks both English and Chinese and currently is learning intermediate-level Spanish at the college. He has also toured in Taiwan, Japan in Eastern Asia and lived in Washington, DC and Jackson, WY for months. Zhengyuan is a Sharpe Scholar and had conduct a community-based participatory research of the household registration system in China. Zhengyuan is extensively involved in programs of the William & Mary Confucius Institute, performing traditional instrument Erhu in the Chinese ensemble. He heads and coordinates the media branch of the William & Mary Chinese Students and Scholars Association, serving international students and visiting scholars with communication services and facilitating the popularization of Chinese culture on campus. During his free time, Zhengyuan likes reading, biking, kayaking and cooking authentic Chinese cuisines. He held several cooking events in the Sharpe residence and the Chinese Language House. He hopes to pursue a career related to diplomatic history and international relations. Zhengyuan is looking forward to represent the college in Washington and to work with William & Mary faculties and fellow students during this winter.

Zhaoning Liu '18
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Trip Means '17
Trip Means is a senior from New Canaan, Connecticut double majoring in Government and Finance. On campus, Trip is the President of his fraternity Alpha Tau Omega and the William & Mary Club Golf Team. He has also held a variety of positions in the Inter-Fraternity Council This past summer he interned on the Sales Desk at Hartford Funds, a mutual fund distribution company based in Radnor, Pennsylvania. After graduation, he hopes to pursue this interest and move into a career in wealth management. In his spare time Trip can be found attending Tribe basketball games and playing golf with his friends.
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Jack Nicol '18

Jack Nicol is in the Class of 2018 at the College and is originally from Indiana. He will be majoring in Government and minoring in History here at the College. On campus, Jack is an RA in Taliaferro Hall and is involved with the International Relations Club. He also volunteers with the Heritage Humane Society in Williamsburg. When he is not busy with classes or work, Jack is usually in The Daily Grind hanging out over coffee or catching up on the latest current events.

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Meredith Passero '18

Meredith is a junior at the College, originally from Bristow, Virginia. She is pursuing a double major in Government and Economics, primarily concerned with foreign affairs issues and subsequent policy responses. Specifically, Meredith is interested in the fluctuations in U.S. trade policy, particularly with Latin America and Southeast Asia, global responses to food and water crises, ongoing developmental problems in the former Soviet republics, and shifts in the U.S. policy toward terrorism in the Middle East. While she has not had a chance to study abroad, Meredith hopes to visit southern Europe, the Levant, and Chile. On campus, Meredith is employed at the Dean of Faculty for Arts & Sciences, has researched for the project on Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) through the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations (ITPIR), is a member of the Student Conduct and Honor Appeals Board, and is involved in Catholic Campus Ministry. Having grown up near DC, she hopes to pursue a career in a government agency, preferably employment involving the analytical investigation of economic data from diaspora and refugee crises. Meredith hopes that this seminar will provide an opportunity for her to expand her knowledge of foreign affairs issues and deepen her understanding of and appreciation for the process by which foreign policy is constructed and implemented.

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Rachel Plescha '18

Rachel Plescha is a Junior at the college currently majoring in a self-designed International Environmental Policy major.  Growing up as an Air Force brat gave her the opportunity to live all over the world, which inspired her interest in International Relations and love for travel.   On campus, Rachel is a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority, the William & Mary Crew Team, and works as a swim coach for the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins team.  She is looking forward to living in D.C. and learning about why and how certain policy is prioritized before studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany in the spring.  

Chesney Reid
Chesney Reid '19

Chesney is a sophomore at the College pursuing a double major in Government and Religious Studies.  Moving to Northern Virginia before beginning her high school career, she was introduced to new cultures, politics, and religions, sparking her love of diversity. It is this passion that has led her to study religion and its influence on governments around the world.  On campus, she is involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, contributing to organizations such as IJM that seek to enforce human rights law. Chesney is currently interning with the AidData Research Faculty at the College, and hopes to find a career among the embassy community in Washington DC.  She anticipates that her experiences with the DC Winter Seminar program will help her achieve this goal.  

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Anna Scott '18

Anna Scott is currently a junior at the College, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics. She conducts research for the Global Pathways Research Lab on non-Western International Relations scholarship. She is passionate about international law, development, international organizations, the environment, and more. On campus, Anna is involved with Students for Animals advocacy group and co-coordinates a campaign for cruelty-free products. She also volunteers at the Heritage Humane Society, enjoys running and hiking on trails throughout Virginia, and dabbles in vegan cooking. During the DC Seminar, Anna is excited to see how international relation scholarship and government policy interact. 

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Cara Vetsch '19

Cara Vetsch is a sophomore at the college pursuing majors in International Relations and Applied Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics. She is originally from Duxbury, Massachusetts, but has family spread out around the world that led her to travel from a young age. On campus, Cara is a member of the Club Volleyball team as well as a geocoding intern at AidData, a regular volunteer and shift leader at Campus Kitchen, and a member of the International Relations Club. She spent the summer after her freshman year teaching middle school girls in rural Kenya and plans on being involved with development and conflict studies in the future.

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Lindsey Washington '19

Lindsey is a sophomore at William & Mary, and is majoring in International Relations.  On campus she is a member of the William & Mary Rowing Club and the International Relations Club.  In her free time Lindsey enjoys running, reading, and hiking, and is passionate about international security.  She looks forward to applying theory taught in international relations classes to foreign policy, and believes that learning how foreign policy is made will create a strong foundation for a future career in international security.  She is grateful for this opportunity, and is excited to learn in Washington D.C. this January.

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Clara Waterman '20

Clara is currently a freshman at the College and is pursuing an International Relations major and an Arabic Language and Literature minor. She has lived in eight different states all over the country, and most recently lived Yorktown, Virginia. On campus, Clara is an active member of InterVarsity and Running Club, and is a hall representative for her dorm. She hopes to study abroad in Morocco this summer to improve her Arabic. She would like to work for the federal government in some capacity after college, and is looking forward to visiting different departments and agencies over the course of the seminar. Clara loves being in DC, and cannot wait to be in the city so close to the Presidential Inauguration.

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John Yoest '17

John Yoest is a Senior majoring in Government at the College. He is a member of the Division I, CAA Champion Tribe Baseball team, and is the President of the WM student group Tribe Fellowship. He was elected 3 times successively into the William & Mary Student Assembly as a Vice President of Advocacy, Vice President, and Class Senator.  In May, John will commission as an Active Duty Officer into the United States Army, through William & Mary ROTC. Finally, he is thrilled at the opportunity to learn more about the future of US Foreign policy and Grand Strategy in regard to defense and counter-terrorism through Professor Oakes' seminar!