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Student Profiles

Our School is internationally recognized for its excellence, and a key reason for our growing distinction is our ability to attract the best graduate students from across the globe. Here is a sampling of our student scholars. 

Dean's Fellows

We are proud to introduce the students who have been selected as Dean's Fellows. This special distinction serves to signal the professional qualities of excellence that the School cultivates and honors, to reward outstanding performance by students and to create a prestigious group of high-quality students and alumni to showcase to the world.

Selection Criteria
  • Academic Excellence: select students are at the top of their class based on first-year GPA performance
  • Leadership: demonstrated leadership at the School and campus, as well as in community affairs
  • Citizenship: involvement in activities with a public purpose such as active volunteerism
  • Regional involvement: meaningful engagement in the Pacific region encompassing Latin America and Asia such as study or work abroad, internships and activities focusing on the region and its people

Robertson Fellows

The Robertson Foundation for Government aspires to make a difference by offering annual financial support for graduate students pursuing federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs.

Established by the family of the late philanthropists Charles and Marie Robertson and named in their honor, the foundation pursues a mission that was central to the Robertson’s philanthropic activities: strengthening the U.S. government and increasing its ability and determination to defend and extend freedom throughout the world by improving the training and education of men and women for government service, with particular emphasis on international relations and foreign affairs.

Robertson Fellows at selected universities receive full scholarships and full internship stipends from the foundation. They also commit to work for the federal government for a minimum of three of their first seven years after graduation.

Note: We do not receive unsolicited applications for Robertson Fellowships. An internal committee makes recommendations based on applicants accepted to the School and meets the mission of the program.

Sylff Fellows

Created in 1987, the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) program is designed to support graduate students studying in the humanities and social sciences fields at 69 universities in 44 countries. In 1991, a $1 million dollar endowment was received to create the Sylff program at UC San Diego to support the education of outstanding students pursuing their graduate studies with high potential for global leadership. Professor Ulrike Schaede is the chair of this program at the School.

We commemorated 20 years of supporting Sylff Fellows on May 26, 2011 in conjunction with events celebrating 50 years of UC San Diego historic milestones, remarkable achievements and innovative firsts since the university’s founding in 1960. Read the story.

2017–18 Sylff Fellows

  • Savitri Arvey, MPP '19

    Savitri Arvey, MPP '19

    Career Specialization: American Policy in Global Context

  • Justin Lesniak, MIA '19

    Justin Lesniak, MIA '19

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: Latin America

  •  Philip Voris, MIA ’18

    Philip Voris, MIA ’18

    Career Track: International Management, International Environmental Policy

    Regional Focus: Japan

2017–18 Dean's Fellows

  • Eddy K. Chebelyon, MIA ‘18

    Eddy K. Chebelyon, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Development and Nonprofit Management

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Chebelyon transitioned to GPS following three years as a research associate at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya. At ILRI, he was part of a team that pursued a comprehensive research agenda aimed at designing, developing and implementing a market mediated index-based insurance to protect livestock herders from drought related losses in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. While working at ILRI, Chebelyon developed an interest in ICT applications for economic development that lead him to the nonprofit management stream at GPS. Prior to beginning his work in economic development, he studied natural resource management and agricultural economics at Egerton University. In the summer of 2017, he worked on a project aimed at reconciling mechanistic and econometric models of climate change impacts as a Larry Robinson Fellow.

  • Ashley Halabi, MIA ‘18

    Ashley Halabi, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Politics

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Halabi completed a B.A. in political studies with a minor in human rights and transitional justice and another in international law. Interested in human rights issues during conflict, she worked at a Syrian refugee school on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Upon arrival at GPS, Halabi helped to start a new human rights student organization called Ceasefire that sheds light on war-torn communities, and now serves as its president. She is also the vice president of communications for the Development Club and the publications director for the Journal of International Policy Solutions at GPS. In the summer of 2017, she completed two internships in New York at Physicians for Human Rights, a Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, and Justice Rapid Response. Both organizations are dedicated to investigating and holding perpetrators accountable for mass atrocities in countries that need assistance. Halabi aspires to work on bringing justice to war-torn communities at an international tribunal and establish an NGO that provides education to refugee children.

  • Victoria Holden, MIA '18

    Victoria Holden, MIA '18

    Career Track: International Development & Nonprofit Management

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Victoria Holden came to GPS after four years in data analytics with Oakland Unified School District and Prudential Financial. To supplement her work, Holden spent her summer internship with Embrace it Africa, where she consulted for a local microfinance institution in Uganda and helped assist in the creation of a medical cooperative. Holden is passionate about education and development, volunteering with Refugee Transitions, Oakland schools and a YMCA program focused on tutoring illiterate adults. Within GPS, Holden acts as the president of its student government board and Women Going Global.

  • Samuel (Sammy) Huang, MIA ‘19

    Samuel (Sammy) Huang, MIA ‘19

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: Japan, Southeast Asia

    Huang studied at Grinnell College and has two and half years of professional and academic experience abroad in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. His research interests focus on energy security and geopolitics in the Asia-Pacific region. He is committed to a career in public service, and in summer 2017 interned at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., followed by a Boren Fellowship in Japan for the 2017-18 academic year. At GPS, Huang serves in leadership positions on GO GPS and Mannam, and has edited and written for the Journal of International Policy Solutions and the China Focus blog.

  • Meghna Jain, MIA ‘18

    Meghna Jain, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: Southeast Asia

    Prior to joining GPS, Jain worked in different sectors such as manufacturing, micro-finance, finance and public policy. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from University of Delhi and a post graduate diploma in economics from the University of London International Programmes. In the summer of 2017, she interned with Technoserve, an international nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C. where she worked as a monitoring and evaluation intern. She is interested in making a career as a monitoring and impact evaluation specialist and is looking for opportunities in domains of development, entrepreneurship and consulting after graduating from GPS.

  • Andrew J. Kincare, MIA ‘18

    Andrew J. Kincare, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Politics and International Management

    Regional Focus: Japan

    After serving four years as an Airborne Korean Linguist in the U.S. Air Force, Kincare completed his bachelor's degree in international studies from UC Irvine. Following this, he became an AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Calif. for 18 months, where he became interested in volunteerism and professionalism. At GPS, he is the vice president of internal affairs for GO GPS, and recipient of the 2017 Doming Liu award. He hopes to work in international policy after graduation.

  • Dana Kozhakhmetova, MIA ‘18

    Dana Kozhakhmetova, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Economics, International Environmental Policy

    Regional Focus: China

    Prior to GPS, Kozhakhmetova worked for the Chinese global telecom Huawei in Moscow, Russia as a contract manager. She also has academic training in China studies, and lived in Taiwan and China. Kozhakhmetova serves as a managing director of China Focus blog and vice president of external affairs for Net Impact as well as vice president of operations for Southeast Asia Link at GPS. After graduation, she plans to apply data analysis skills to improve decision making process in environmental policy and promote sustainable energy implementation on an international level. With a background in the telecom industry, she is interested in the technology sector and problems of innovation in China, as well as clean energy and Chinese corporations.

  • Jeanne Marie (Jem) Marasigan, BA/MIA '18

    Jeanne Marie (Jem) Marasigan, BA/MIA '18

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Marasigan obtained her bachelor’s degree in international studies with a focus on political science at UC San Diego. In order to strengthen her quantitative skills, she interned with Nextrade Group, LLC where she analyzed and managed big data. After graduation, Marasigan aims to work for the private sector with hopes to promote economic and environmental sustainability.

  • Matthew Matsuyama, MIA ‘18

    Matthew Matsuyama, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Economics, International Politics

    Regional Focus: Japan

    As a Boren Fellow, Matsuyama spent the 2016-17 school year studying Japanese at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan. Over the summer, he interned at Mitsubishi Research Institute in the Health and Wellness Unit learning more about current efforts being made to improve work-life-balance in Japan. Now a second-year student at GPS, he assists the GPS’s Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology with research and joins the Japan-focused Asameshikai board. After graduation, he hopes to work for the U.S. Department of State as a policy analyst.

  • Shunichi Muto, MIA '18

    Shunichi Muto, MIA '18

    Career Track: International Economics, International Management

    Regional Focus: Japan

    Muto studied economics and conflict resolution at Soka University of America. In his junior year, Muto had the opportunity to study in Argentina where he improved his Spanish skills while volunteering as a student research assistant at National University of La Plata. He applied to GPS to solidify his quantitative skills, derive tangible solutions and to expand his understanding of international affairs. At GPS, he studies international economics and development issues as well as serves the community through various student organizations. He did a summer internship at Ernst & Young’s transfer pricing department, where he spent one month assisting major companies with important international business decisions. Upon graduating, Muto will be working in the private sector for the development of international business between Japan and other countries. He is very excited to spend his second year at GPS preparing for his career as well as exploring more academic interests. He is particularly excited for the last quantitative methodology class which offers an opportunity to develop econometric research.

  • Gabriela (Gabi) Rubio Moreno, MPP ‘18

    Gabriela (Gabi) Rubio Moreno, MPP ‘18

    Career Track: Energy and Environment Policy

    Rubio Moreno has worked as a project manager in Continuous Improvement at a leading pipe manufacturer in the oil industry. She was also part of a consultancy group focused on the massive electric vehicle use in Europe for an oil company. At GPS, she has honed her leadership skills by serving as founder and president of the Public Policy Series Club that aims to bring students closer to issues affecting the border region through community service activities. She aspires to become an energy policy expert that will help to mitigate climate change and promote clean energy in Latin America.

  • Marcelo S. Oliveira Goncalves, MIA ‘18

    Marcelo S. Oliveira Goncalves, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: Public Policy

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Marcelo S. Oliveira Goncalves is a public policy and management specialist with a distinguished career in Brazilian federal public service. He holds a B.A. and a M.A. in political science from the University of Brasilia. Before coming to UC San Diego, he spent the last two years coordinating the Executive Secretariat of the National Council for Food Security (Consea), where he managed a team responsible for advising the council and the federal government of Brazil on matters of food security and social development. Additionally, he has taught political science and public policy subjects as a visiting lecturer in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in Brazil. After GPS, he plans to return to Brazil and resume his career in the federal government, focusing on the formulation and evaluation of policies such as those that helped to remove the country from the World Hunger Map in 2014.

  • Duangruetai (Pui) Surasakjinda, MIA ‘18

    Duangruetai (Pui) Surasakjinda, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Environmental Policy

    Regional Focus: Southeast Asia

    Surasakjinda has previously worked in the nonprofit sector. Prior to GPS, she worked for an ASEAN-German development cooperation project aiming to enable ASEAN Member States to develop and implement harmonized policies to promote food security and sustainable agrifood systems in the region. At GPS, she is the current president of Southeast Asia Link. Upon her return to Thailand, she will start working as a policy analyst for the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board under the Prime Minister’s Office.

  • Adriel Taslim, MIA ‘18

    Adriel Taslim, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: Public Policy

    Regional Focus: China, Southeast Asia

    Taslim, a seasoned concert violinists and performer, learned French, German and Mandarin during his undergraduate studies. He also has spent significant time abroad in Southeast Asia including a Boren Fellowship and teaching projects in Thailand. In the summer 2016, he worked with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Atlanta, GA; and currently works as an M&E assistant with USAID on its educational development missions throughout the lower Mekong river region. In the summer 2017, he interned in Chiangmai, Thailand to work with the U.S. Consulate in political and economic analyses, local public diplomacy initiatives and consular event planning. He aspires to work in a cultural affairs or a policy role to continue learning and promoting cultural understanding between Western nations and Southeast Asia.

  • Ambar Valles, MIA '18

    Ambar Valles, MIA '18

    Career Track: International Management, International Environmental Policy

    Regional Focus: Latin America 

    Prior to GPS, Valles worked in corporate social responsibility (CSR) where she conducted factory level social compliance audits and administered capacity building and continuous improvement projects for private firms monitoring their supply chains. During this time, Valles worked on issues regarding international human rights standards, labor and workplace safety laws and environmental sustainability. In Summer 2017, she interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor where she expanded her interests on labor migration and the social and environmental impacts of manufacturing practices. As a second-year at GPS, Valles continues to delve into these topics through quantitative and qualitative approaches in order to pursue future career opportunities in consulting.
  • Santiago Mateo (Mateo) Villamizar Chaparro, MIA ‘18

    Santiago Mateo (Mateo) Villamizar Chaparro, MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Development and Nonprofit Management

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Villamizar Chaparro has worked as a researcher in various think tanks and has done consultancy work back in his home country of Colombia. Moreover, he previously was employed as a lecturer and a teacher, a job he is fond of and would like to pursue professionally. At GPS, he is managing director of the Journal of International Policy Solutions and vice president of student affairs for the student government called GO GPS. After graduation, he aspires to keep researching about Latin American political and economic issues applying the data skills acquired at GPS.

  • Philip Voris, MIA ’18

    Philip Voris, MIA ’18

    Career Track: International Environmental Policy

    Regional Focus: Japan

    Voris is a second-year master’s candidate at GPS. Philip has a B.A. in Political Science and Mass Communications from UC Berkeley and came to GPS to further develop his research and methodology skills. This past summer, he worked as a graduate student researcher for Professor Jennifer Burney, exploring the ways in which countries can meet greenhouse reduction commitments while minimizing economic costs. He is both a Dean’s Fellow and an active member of the Japanese cultural group, Asameshikai.  Following graduation, it is his intention to continue his studies with the end goal of researching and teaching full time at a university level.

  • Alexander (Alex) Webb, MIA ‘19

    Alexander (Alex) Webb, MIA ‘19

    Career Track: International Economics, International Politics

    Regional Focus: China, Southeast Asia 

    Webb received a Boren Fellowship to study in Taiwan for the 2017-2018 academic year, and interned at the American Institute in Taiwan Commercial Section during summer 2017. Before attending GPS, he completed two years of service as a Teach for China Fellow at a rural primary school in China's Yunnan Province. His interest and experience in China led him to write articles on political and social issues for the China Focus Blog at GPS. After graduation, he plans to pursue a public service career focused on East Asian affairs.

  • Yingtao Xie, BA/MIA ‘18

    Yingtao Xie, BA/MIA ‘18

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: China, Latin America

    Xie is passionate about international trade and economic interactions between the two regions China and Latin America. She not only studied in Chile and Brazil for a year, but also interned with various local organizations during her stay in Latin America. Fluent in Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese, Xie hopes to enhance cultural diversity and mutual understanding in academic and professional environments. With the goal to be a professional specializing in international trade, she plans to improve regional expertise and develop better quantitative skills while being at GPS.

2017–18 Robertson Fellows

  • Isabelle Heilman, MPP '19

    Isabelle Heilman, MPP '19

    Career Track: Environmental Policy

    Heilman was born and raised in Tucson, AZ and graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a bachelor’s degree in environment, economics and politics and Spanish. She received the Best Overall Student Award from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and her thesis “A Policy Proposal to Confront the Effects of Climate Change in the Agricultural Sector of Jalisco, Mexico” was awarded the 2013 Best Undergraduate Paper Prize by the Society of Policy Scientists. After graduating, Heilman received a Fulbright-García Robles scholarship and pursued a research project in Guadalajara, Mexico focused on multi-sector collaboration in the creation of state climate change action plans. Upon returning to the U.S. she worked in the training and marketing teams at Medallia, a software company in Palo Alto. After concluding her studies at GPS, Heilman plans to pursue a career in climate change policy, with a focus on citizen engagement in the policy process.

  • Richard Hill, MIA ’18

    Richard Hill, MIA ’18

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Amid serving as a full-time student, Richard also is an Air Force Reservist. His military career began at his undergraduate alma mater, UC Berkeley, where he was commissioned as an Air Force Intelligence Officer through Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 085. He has since completed assignments in Germany and Qatar as well as two deployments to sub-Saharan Africa and another to Afghanistan. His final active duty assignment was at the U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters in Omaha. After graduation, Richard hopes to pursue a civilian career in economic and trade policy.

  • Samuel Huang, MIA ’19

    Samuel Huang, MIA ’19

    Career Track: International Politics, International Economics

    Regional Focus: Southeast Asia and Japan

    Prior to GPS, Samuel worked in the education sector as a strategic planning assistant in Grinnell College’s Office of the President, as an English teacher in Nagasaki, Japan, and a Chinese teacher at an after-school program in San Diego. He has studied abroad in Wonju, Korea, completed a yearlong International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University and held internships at Doosan Corp. Electro-Materials in Seoul and at Nicobar Group in Shanghai. Samuel aspires to enter the foreign service and facilitate diplomatic solutions for collective action problems.

  • Michael Schwab-Holler, MIA ’19

    Michael Schwab-Holler, MIA ’19

    Career Track: International Economics

    Regional Focus: China

    A former financial controller for Premium AEROTEC in Augsburg, Germany, Michael also was a Boren Fellow as an undergraduate student, traveling to Beijing to study Mandarin. He also received a grant from the Office of National Intelligence and University of South Florida’s National & Competitive Intelligence Program to attend a summer seminar on Russian foreign policy in Estonia and Finland. Michael hopes to pursue a career in the U.S. government. Michael’s summer 2016 internship will be with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency in Washington, D.C.

  • Adriel Taslim, MIA ’18

    Adriel Taslim, MIA ’18

    Career Track: Public Policy

    Regional Focus: Southeast Asia and China

    Adriel, a seasoned concert violinists and performer, learned French, German and Mandarin in his undergraduate studies. He also has completed two teaching stints in Thailand—in 2012 as an English teacher in rural Taiwan and in 2014 in Lamphun with the Teach Thailand Corps. He aspires to work in a cultural affairs or a policy role to continue learning and promoting cultural understanding between Western nations and Southeast Asia. His summer 2016 internship is with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Atlanta, GA. Following his internship, Adriel will be spending the 2016-17 academic year on a Boren Fellowship in Thailand.

  • Jacob Throwe, MIA '19

    Jacob Throwe, MIA '19

    Career Track: International Politics

    Regional Focus: China

    Born and raised in the Boston area, Throwe’s interest in East Asia stems from his extensive reading of Confucian philosophy at a young age. Starting from his first year at Boston College, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history with minors in Asian studies and mathematics, he became involved in different student-led culture groups on campus and took part in a number of anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives. The summer after his first year, he taught English in rural southern Taiwan. Upon his return, he began formally studying Mandarin Chinese. He went back to Taiwan, spent a semester studying at Peking University in Beijing, China and worked at an international conference hosted at the university. Upon his graduation, he received a scholarship to continue his language study at National Chengchi University in Taipei. Since graduation, Throwe has held positions in both the U.S. and China. He spent a year in Nanjing, working with Chinese high school students as they navigated the American college admissions process. After that, he was between Boston, Hong Kong and Shanghai overseeing the development of an educational startup. He spent the last two and half years at the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University performing a litany of roles as the department underwent profound change.

  • Taylor Tielke, MIA '19

    Taylor Tielke, MIA '19

    Career Track: International Politics

    Regional Focus: China

    Tielke graduated magna cum laude from Concordia College with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and political science. At Concordia, he stayed busy working as a leader in several campus organizations as well as academic honor societies. On the weekends, he competed with the speech and debate team. In his junior and senior years, Tielke was selected for department honors and was asked to take part in a public debate with a Nobel Peace Prize acceptor on nuclear proliferation. After graduation, he volunteered with the Peace Corps and was assigned to China. At his site in Chongqing, he predominately works with first generation college students. Outside of the classroom, Tielke created long-term programs such as a gender inclusive (and nationally competitive) spoken English team and a teacher training program to prepare and send teachers abroad to conduct research and observe teaching pedagogy in other countries. Ultimately, Tielke will use his time at GPS to build on his Peace Corps experiences and advance his goal to work for the U.S. Foreign Service.