Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Students from the International Policy and Development program come from all walks of life, each bringing unique experiences and insights into the classroom.

Class of 2017

Manuel AlamilloManuel Alamillo

I’m originally from Mexico, and before coming to Middlebury Institute I completed my undergrad at Marymount California University. After I graduate I want to work for the United Nations or work as a diplomat. I love to travel, and it’s been my dream to go to Asia and Eastern Europe. I want a job that will help people and give them the skills they need to better their lives.

Oumar AmarOumar Amar

Before coming to the Institute, I studied in Mauritania, where I’m from. Then I worked with Canary Log, a Spanish company, before joining Kinross Gold Corporation, a mining company, as a Health, Safety, and Environment Trainer. I would like to use my past experience, cross-cultural communication skills, and the skills I will gain from studying at MIIS to bridge the gap between the rich and poor citizens of the world.

Amelia ArnoldAmelia Arnold

I have an undergraduate degree in International Studies from UC San Diego. After graduating I joined the Peace Corps and served as a community health volunteer in Togo. I’m interested in looking at development from a diplomatic and governmental perspective. I would especially like to understand and improve how US Embassies support American volunteers in foreign countries.

Jacques BelvalJacques Belval

I attended the University of Maryland at College Park, where I earned bachelors in both Arabic Studies and French Language and Literature. I studied abroad in Morocco for a year, and worked as an intern for Transparency Maroc in Rabat. After graduating, I taught English in Yemen and Morocco. I hope to pursue a JD-PhD focused on human rights, and later a Master of Laws (LLM).  I’d love to be stationed abroad in the Middle East or North Africa, and if I can make a positive impact in a least one person’s life, I will consider it an accomplishment.

Deana BurnsDeana Burns

I did my undergrad at University of California Merced, where I majored in anthropology and minored in history. I then joined AmeriCorps and worked with an environmental non-profit in San Jose. I want to work for a company that is dedicated to helping human rights issues. I would love to work with companies here in California, where I’m originally from, and abroad. My passion is helping others spread knowledge and skills to better each other.

Cameron ColendaCameron Colenda

I completed my undergraduate degree in International Studies at Sierra Nevada College, where I also received a scholarship to join the National Championship Snowboard Team. I came to the Institute to further my studies in International Policy and hone my Italian language skills. After MIIS, I’d like to work for an international organization such as the United Nations, UNICEF, WHO or NATO, and I hope that my degree will provide me the necessary platform to travel the world and help solve some of the world's most serious problems.

Yann DarmonYann Darmon

I’m from Paris, France, and before coming to the Middlebury Institute I completed my studies in Economics and Management at La Sorbonne. I have dual citizenship, so I’ve always traveled to the US twice a year, and I’ve interned and worked as an English tutor. I hope to use my skills in policy and development to work for an NGO or work in international relations between governments.

Lauren GilmoreLauren Gilmore

I completed my undergraduate from Central Washington University in Political Science and Asia Pacific Studies. Prior to college, I served in the U.S. Navy as an Intelligence Analyst stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. During my service, I grew passionate about working in International relations, so in my undergrad I focused on China and learning to speak Mandarin. After completing my degree here at the Institute, I hope to continue working in international relations to help make positive changes in policy and development.

Ezra HalsteadEzra Halstead

I completed my undergraduate studies in May 2015 at Juniata College and received a Bachelor's degree in Discourses of War and Peace. During my time at Juniata, I spent eight months in France, which included a semester-long internship in Strasbourg at the French Office of Immigration and Integration. In the distant future, I would absolutely love to be a professor. Immediately following MIIS, however, I'd like to travel and work for an NGO that fits my interests before going back to school for my PHD. I'm have extensively studied LGBTQ and Women and Gender issues, and I love anything that involves different cultures and societies.

Frances HessFrances Hess

I completed my Undergraduate Studies at James Madison University in Public Health Education. After my studies, I joined the Peace Corps as a health volunteer in Namibia. While there I focused on developing reading programs, community health education and supporting people living with disabilities. I would like to combine my international experience with my business skills in order to make a large positive impact in people's lives.

Melissa HewittMelissa Hewitt

I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines working as a Children Youth and Families Volunteer just after completing my undergraduate degree at Colorado State University in Social Work. After I graduate, I would love to be able to to continue working abroad for an international organization focusing on women's health issues.

Asel IsmailovaAsel Ismailova

I’m from Kyrgyzstan, and before coming to the Institute I studied in China and the USA, and I worked for an NGO. I would like to work in UN or any other international organization. I want to fight for human rights and use my conflict resolution skills. Working toward human rights and being able to resolve conflict is something I find important. Even doing something small, but big enough to change someone's life, can keep me working harder every day.

Adrianna JiménezAdrianna Jiménez

I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. I joined the Peace Corps as a Community Health Educator in Peru, where I completed my service in November of 2014. After I graduate I would like to work in developing countries, creating sustainability and friendships, preferably with the United Nations or the Peace Corps. My passion is serving others by bringing to light their greatest strengths.

Liang JuanLiang Juan

I completed my undergraduate study in National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, where I’m from. During that time I participated in summer programs in Berkeley and Seoul, Korea. I would like to participate in international cooperations regarding Eastern Asian relations and businesses, and live in any of the vibrant Asian metropolises! I wish build up broader bridges across the Eastern Asian community through cultures and soft powers.

Courtney KempCourtney Kemp

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona, where I studied International Relations and focused on the Applied Policy Economy of Sub-Saharan Africa. I have two years of experience in the non-profit sector, and have lived and worked abroad in Northern Tanzania and Strasbourg, France. After i complete my degree I want to work at the intersection of business and development, utilizing private sector techniques to combat global poverty. Social justice, human connection, and poverty alleviation are the things I'm most passionate about in my work.

Katy MurdzaKaty Murdza

Before coming to the Middlebury Institute, I volunteered full-time with No More Deaths providing humanitarian aid on the U.S.-Mexico border. I then joined the Peace Corps as an English Teaching volunteer in Panama.  I’d like to continue working with organizations in Arizona that defend migrant rights and improve U.S. immigration policy. It is important to me that I am able to incorporate human rights into my career.

Patrick NiceforoPatrick Niceforo

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Government and Politics. I just returned from a year in South Korea where I studied Korean on the Critical Language and Boren Scholarships. I want to work with the federal government with an organization such as the Foreign Service. I enjoy making connections and helping others directly, so it is important that my work includes face-to-face interaction.

Shannon NolanShannon Nolan

I received my Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington. I became familiar with globalization and development issues while studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain and teaching English in Valledupar, Colombia. I strive for a position as Risk Manager; working with risk assessment and compliance regarding U.S. corporations and Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America. I am interested in the possibility of working for OPIC, the World Bank, or within the private sector. Risk management and compliance have the capacity to improve the lives of many by encouraging sustainable business, reducing corruption, and fostering development.

Jamie PerezJamie Perez

I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering. The following year I joined the Peace Corps serving as a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Volunteer for two years in Peru. I would like to continue working with non-profits and organizations, like the Peace Corps, providing aid to developing countries, as I’m passionate about learning, understanding different cultures, and working with youth.

Nicholas PoppenNicholas Poppen

Before coming to the Middlebury Institute I graduated from Oregon State University in 2004. I commissioned into the Army and am currently an Army Officer. I would like to take the skills I acquire here at the Institute to better represent the U.S. Army and America in the international arena.

Monique RaoMonique Rao

I received my BA in Political Science with a minor in Ethics from California State University, Chico. After graduation I taught English to elementary school children in Spain through the Spanish Ministry of Education. Upon my return to the States, I worked for a small non-profit consulting firm that did facilitation, grant writing, project management, and fundraising. I hope to work in an NGO in the field of international development; working specifically with human rights and for the betterment of children, women, and other marginalized groups.

Mario RomeroMario Romero

Before coming to the Middlebury Institute I was a regional operations manager for the Carter Center's South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program for 2 years. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Anthropology and afterwards served with the Peace Corps for 2 years in Mali as an education volunteer. I am interested in logistics/operations and hope to work in emergency response after graduating.

Meredith RuppMeredith Rupp

Before coming to the Institute, I used my French language and cross-cultural communication skills to work in a variety of sectors domestically and internationally. Highlights included teaching English abroad and serving as an AmeriCorps member. I would like to use my French skills and adaptability to make a difference. I know this is only possible when working in a team of driven yet diverse people.  My passion is creating connections and learning the stories of those around me. It is important for me to know my work is helping others.

Yvonne TangangYvonne Tangang

I’m from Cameroon, and before coming to the Institute I completed my bachelor's degree in International Studies at the University of Iowa. I would like to work for either the United Nations or an NGO as a policy developer. I want to empower and women and children, especially those in developing countries. My passions include ending world hunger, educating young girls, and preventing mother to child transmission of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Brendan TarnayBrendan Tarnay

Before coming to the Institute, I worked in international meetings and conventions with Rotary International. Then I worked in events for lawyers and judges in Los Angeles. I would like to work in programming for an international policy think-tank. I would also like to create an organization and conference that brings together stakeholders from the many areas affected by international migration - from forced migration and asylum, to economic and business migration and investment.

Thomas VillagomezThomas Villagomez

I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Sociology. After I graduate from the Middlebury Institute, I would like to work as a data or public policy analyst for either a non-profit, government agency, or technology firm.  I believe the most important factor in a career is thorough analysis of a wide-ranging web of complex data, achieved through effective research and fieldwork methods. 

Zhihao (Eugene) WuZhihao (Eugene) Wu

I was an iron miner as well as a GRE teacher in China. I had to go into the mines during daytime, and went back to the ground in the evening and then taught GRE to Chinese students. I want to be an policy maker tackling international conflicts in the world. With such international working opportunities, I can travel a lot and make numerous friends from other countries. I’m passionate about knowing more about the world, and making the world a better place.

Shujuan ZhuShujuan Zhu

I’m from China, and before coming to the Middlebury Institute I was a graduate student at Renmin University. I am an exchange student. After I complete my studies, I want to use my degree to work in and explore some new fields. Ultimately I aim to return to China to live together with my family.

Class of 2016

Jeremy BorgiaJeremy Borgia

Before coming to Monterey I traveled, studied, and worked throughout the Middle East, and specialized in English Literature and Arabic at Brigham Young University. I would like to use my cross-cultural communication experience in tandem with my compliance and trade expertise in a internationally-focused career. It's important to me that my career and work does more than turn a buck; there are people whose lives need improving, and I want to do something about it.

Annathea CookAnnathea Cook

I came to the Institute after graduating from Humboldt State University where I earned my B.A. studying Chinese language and culture. During my undergraduate studies, I studied abroad in China in Both Xi'an and Beijing. My passion is understanding how the world works and using that knowledge to improve the lives of people around the world. This leads me to international trade policy which is where I feel that I can have the greatest positive impact.

Heather FickeHeather Ficke

I completed my Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas at Austin in Russian and International Relations. I am very passionate about Slavic Culture, and the study of Russian Language and history as it continues to evolve. My other passion is ultra-running, which has allowed me to push myself past what I thought I could achieve.

Judie HendersonJudie Henderson

Choosing MIIS allowed me to cohesively combine a background in crisis management with an undergraduate degree in social work. I have experience with study abroad in Costa Rica, as well as travel in other countries like Ireland and New Zealand. I am currently studying international policy from the perspective of conflict, but look to a future of working for an international government in a developing nation because it is at this level where I can make the biggest difference in the lives of others. 

Katie LampeKatie Lampe

Before coming to Monterey I worked for an NGO in Denver on environmental issues. Prior to that, I taught English in France and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I am particularly interested in refugee issues and human rights.  After I graduate I want to work in the field of international development. It is important to me to pursue a career that will help others and will affect positive change. I know it might seem like a cliché, but it's true!

Timothy LittsTimothy Litts

Before coming to Monterey, I lived in Egypt and studied at the American University in Cairo on an NSEP Boren scholarship. The more I learned about financial crime and corruption the more I came to realize the staggering scale of the loss to development and their effect on society. That is what motivates me - plugging the holes in our financial system to help it be as honest, transparent and effective as it can be.

Nenneya ShieldsNenneya Shields

I have a B.A. from the University of Virginia, worked and lived in China and France focusing on Translation and Teaching ESL while mastering French and learning Mandarin. Some of my most memorable work includes helping Congolese families through the International Rescue Committee and editing and translating in Lyon and Paris. I am particularly interested in social entrepreneurship, impact investing, health and education, opportunities for women, language and Africa-China relations.

Jeanine WilligJeanine Willig

I completed my Undergraduate Studies at Humboldt State University in Cellular Biology. I then worked for the California Department of Justice as a DNA analyst. I joined Peace Corps as an education volunteer in Burkina Faso. I am interested in working outside the US, on migrant issues and human rights. My passion is working with youth, inspiring the next generation to be the best they can.

Eva WolzokEva Wolzok

Before coming to the Institute I was travelling throughout China, lived in Hong Kong and studied Chinese Mandarin language. After graduation I want to work for an organization that creates a true positive social impact and cares about environmental sustainability.  I am passionate to see how to change the system in which we are evolving and create an innovative to look and implement development projects.

Edwin ZoluduaEdwin Zoludua

Before coming to Monterey, I worked as a Technical Assistant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Liberia. After I complete my degree at the Institute, I hope to work for development-focused International Organizations such as UN, World Bank, USAID, IMF, UNDP, etc. My passion is to help change the world in a way that eliminates poverty and inequality.