Our 2015-2016 Dean’s Fellows

A quick look at the students who were selected for this special distinction

By Sarah Pfledderer | GPS News

The School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) selected 17 second-year students as its 2015-2016 Dean’s Fellows.

Beyond an outstanding academic record, as determined by first-year GPA performance, the School also selects students with staunch leadership, citizenship and regional involvements. Here, we hand the pen to three fellows—chosen randomly—for some personal perspective on how they fit the bill as GPS’s top scholars.

Pacific intrigue from the military

Kadambari Vyas“While on four years of active duty service in the U.S. Army, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a small team to serve at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii. Studying the geopolitics and its implication in the Asia-Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR) gave me new insight into the world of international relations.

Being a part of a unit in the U.S. Army that dealt specifically with Pacific AOR, I was able to learn some facts and engage with my peers who worked in the area. I also lived in South Asia (India) for about 23 years. At GPS, I took two classes with a visiting faculty from Southeast Asia and engaged in a few conversations with Associate Professor Krislert Samphantharak about the region. This gave me insight into the region from a native perspective.

Heading into my second year, I'm looking forward to being more involved with various student activities. I also am looking forward to being able to concentrate on my areas of interest and reaching out to communities outside UC San Diego to serve as a liaison between the students and experts from fields of strategy and security.”— Kadambari Vyas, MIA ’16

An entrepreneur fixed on giving back

Tim Swaney“From a very early age, I learned the importance of service to one’s community from my parents and growing up in Chile. For the past 12 years, I have been involved in projects with a school and orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico. As a Californian, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to give back, as well as learn from our southern neighbors. These trips created in me the passion for Latin America and the decision to focus my studies on the region at GPS.

My leadership skills will always be a work in progress. I was selected to be a member of the PIASO board as vice president of social media, as well as to the Net Impact board as vice president of external affairs.

Through my past experiences with the American Society of Association Executives and Renewable Farms, I often was looked to as a subject matter expert in their respective fields of business, having to lead co-workers and volunteers to project success. The experience in starting an organization (Renewable Farms) has been invaluable and gave me practical experience in an arena of sustainability I am passionate about.”—Tim Swaney, MIA ’16

Environmentally informed, experienced

Irina Goriatcheva“My interest in GPS is rooted in the School’s focus on environmental and energy policy. Apart from growing up in Russia, I engage with the Pacific's energy developments by conducting research on the renewable energy markets in China, Mexico and Chile.

Currently, I (intern) at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on developing solar customer experience metrics and designing distributed generation pilots. Prior to attending GPS, I worked as project manager at HiQ Solar, a solar inverter company. Additionally, I launched a clean technology accelerator, Cleantech Open San Diego, which aims to accelerate the growth of clean technology innovation. Now, I volunteer my time as strategy adviser for Cleantech Open in San Diego, providing strategic and leadership support for the organization.

At GPS, I am the co-director of the Environmental Policy and Business Forum, an educational and networking program providing the latest regional, national and international insights on environmental public policy and clean technology. I am looking forward to the Environmental Policy and Business Forum's upcoming event ‘Can and Should California go 100% Renewable by 2050?’"—Irina Goriatcheva, MIA ’16

Other 2015-2016 Dean’s Fellows include:

  • Karla Yee Amézaga, MIA ’16;

  • Henrique Barbosa, MIA '16;

  • Marla Recio Carbajal, MIA ’16;

  • Nick D'India, MIA '16;

  • Mathias Einberger, MIA '16;

  • Emily Foecke, MIA ’16;

  • William Honaker, MIA ’16;

  • Peter Larson, MIA ’16;

  • Gwendolyn Morien, MIA '16;

  • Mingda Qiu, MIA ’16;

  • Stephanie Vallarino, MIA ’16;

  • Joaquín Vallejo, MIA ’16;

  • Chuyue Wu, MIA ’16; and

  • Edith Yuh, MIA '16.

The students’ responses included here have been shortened and edited lightly for clarity.

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