How has being an IR major shaped your education at W&M?
Being an IR major has allowed me to simultaneously pursue my interests in sociology, political science, and economics. As an interdisciplinary major, IR allows students to take classes across several departments, gaining exposure to different professors, methodologies, theories, and disciplinary approaches. If not for IR, I would not have discovered my interest in sociology and its foundational concern with marginalized populations. My IR major also gave me the opportunity to continue taking French classes and study abroad in Senegal, with some of the classes I took overseas fulfilling requirements for my major.
What IR-related educational experiences have you had at W&M that make being part of the Tribe special?
Serving as a Research Assistant to professors engaged in IR research has made being part of the Tribe special, because it gives me exposure to real-world applications of classroom concepts and helps me make meaningful connections with W&M professors. For example, I worked with a professor on researching strategies to increase the retention of Maasai girls in Kenyan secondary schools, which combines my regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa with my interests in international development and girls’ education.
What is an example of something you’ve done as an IR student at W&M that you couldn't have done somewhere else?
This year, I am a Research Fellow with the Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS) – an undergraduate think tank at W&M that researches international security threats and collaborates with other fellows, academics, and professionals to generate policy recommendations in the form of white papers. This environment is unique, as it allows professors and students to work together as colleagues to brainstorm and critique ideas in our areas of interest. PIPS also connects us with mentors from the military as well as professionals within the security community to help us refine our projects and give our projects audiences.
Why did you choose William & Mary?
One of the biggest draws of William & Mary for me was its size. With class sizes generally ranging from 20 to 35, professors make personal connections with students and are available for course-related support and academic and career advising. These fantastic professors have helped define my time at W&M by bringing me onto their research teams, advising my research projects, and advocating for me as I’ve pursued professional opportunities. W&M students also exude passion for their various interests and commitments, both on-campus and off-campus. I was drawn to be a part of the driven and compassionate student body of W&M.