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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. They are selected based on academic excellence, leadership, civic engagement and regional involvement.

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. 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 as 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 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.

2022–23 Dean's Fellows

  • Zachary “Zach” Belgum, MIA '23

    Zachary “Zach” Belgum, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Management
    Region: Japan and China

    Zachary Belgum graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Chinese and economics in June 2021. In the summer of 2022, Zachary interned in Tokyo, Japan, as a consultant with Mitsubishi Research Institute to provide policy solutions for the Japanese government and private sector. He has worked as a teaching assistant at GPS and the Rady School of Management and as a research assistant for the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy and UC San Diego’s Taiwan Studies Center. Belgum values connecting with students of all nations and enjoys serving on the leadership team of Asameshikai, GPS’ Japan-focused club.

  • Mikah Bertelmann, MPP '23

    Mikah Bertelmann, MPP '23

    Specialization: Peace and Security

    Mikah Bertelmann holds a B.A. in international affairs and political economy from Lewis and Clark College. As a 2021 Rangel Fellow, Bertelmann spent the summer of 2022 at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest working with the political/economic section. At UC San Diego, he is an instructional assistant and vice president of academic affairs for the campus-wide Graduate and Professional Student Association. After graduating, Bertelmann will enter the U.S. Foreign Service as a political officer.

  • Katrina Boyd, MPP '23

    Katrina Boyd, MPP '23

    Specialization: Environmental Policy

    Katrina Boyd holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and global studies from the University of Virginia. Before attending GPS, Boyd worked in global development, engaging on issues related to agriculture, food security, climate change and refugee resettlement. Over the past summer, she interned with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s public policy team, where she researched issues impacting the business community, including sustainability and industry, climate action, small business, and economic development. She also worked as a graduate student researcher with professor Gordon McCord on a project with the County of San Diego, supporting their implementation efforts to advance regional decarbonization goals in the food and agriculture sector. At GPS, Katrina works as a teaching assistant; serves as a board member for the Consulting Club; and was selected to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.

  • Delaney “Laney” Crabtree, MIA '23

    Delaney “Laney” Crabtree, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Politics
    Region: Korea

    Delaney Crabtree, of Sacramento, California, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland with a B.A in criminology and criminal justice, including a minor in Korean Studies. She also completed a Korean language certificate from Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute. After graduation, Crabtree worked in South Korea as an English teacher and gained a new passion for Korean relations. She is currently the vice president of events for Mannam, GPS’ Korea-focused club; assists with events with the Korea-Pacific Program; and serves as the new executive and communications assistant for the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy.

  • Robert Daquila, MIA '23

    Robert Daquila, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Economics
    Region: China

    After graduating in 2014 with a B.A. from San Francisco State University, Robert Daquilla decided to move to China to begin his career in education by teaching at international schools. He began in Urumqi, Xinjiang, residing there from 2015-2017 before eventually making his way to Qingdao, Shandong, living there from 2017-2021. During this time, he discovered his passion for Chinese language learning, international relations and international education. The COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt end to his tenure in China, but he was able to leverage the experience to enroll at GPS to continue focusing on Chinese affairs from afar as a graduate student. Daquilla has continued to build on his prior experiences in education, procuring roles with the GPS graduate admissions department, assisting both domestic and international applicants in their graduate school journeys. He was also elected president of GO GPS, where he works to enhance the graduate student experience alongside an exceptional board of elected executive officers.

  • Emily Dávalos, BA/MIA '23

    Emily Dávalos, BA/MIA '23

    Career Track: International Economics
    Region: Latin America

    Emily Dávalos holds a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in international studies and economics. As an undergraduate student, she worked with several student groups such as Student Council, the Office of Student Conduct, and Women and Minorities in Economics. As part of an internship, Dávalos traveled to Madrid, Spain, with several GPS classmates to work as a consultant at Emzingo, a certified B Corporation whose mission is to drive innovation and foster responsible leadership among global business leaders. Currently, Dávalos serves as the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA)’s vice president of campus affairs and a GPSA representative on the GO GPS board.

  • Yazmin Franco, MIA '23

    Yazmin Franco, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Politics
    Region: Latin America

    Prior to her time at GPS, Yazmín Franco was a legislative consultant for the California State Assembly Speaker’s Office, where she analyzed public policy bills pertaining to higher education, immigration, agriculture and veterans affairs. She possesses internship experience with elected officials and volunteer experience with nonprofits and student-led social justice organizations. Through citizenship fairs, Franco has helped hundreds of permanent residents naturalize around California and currently assists individuals with their immigration processes. As an advocate for undocumented and DACA students, she has successfully fought for increased resources, awareness and financial aid for this population. Franco is using her lived experiences as a student with disabilities suffering from chronic pain to collaborate with GPS on initiatives to help the disability community and create an inclusive campus culture. Franco was recently selected as a climate ambassador for UC Alianza MX’s inaugural cohort of student leaders shaping the California-Mexico climate strategy. Through this program, she will continue to voice the needs of people with disabilities and people of color.

  • Shivangi Gupta, MIA '23

    Shivangi Gupta, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Management; International Development and Nonprofit Management
    Region: Southeast Asia

    Shivangi Gupta was born in India. She pursued an undergraduate degree in liberal arts and graduated in 2020 with a specialization in economics and psychology. After that, she volunteered to work for Teach for India, where she taught English to children from underprivileged backgrounds. During her first year at GPS, she interned with Hacking for Defense, where she worked on a project for the U.S. Department of Defense. She also interned with KPMG in the summer, where her primary focus was on management consulting. She is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and aims to truly make it a part of the private sector’s work culture.

  • Takahiro “Taka” Kanai, MPP '23

    Takahiro “Taka” Kanai, MPP '23

    Specialization: Environmental Policy; Program Design and Evaluation

    Takahiro Kanai received his bachelor's degree in law from the University of Tokyo and has eight years of experience working as a government officer in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan. He has engaged in nuclear energy policy, policy evaluation, and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. Kanai’s interests lie in evidence-based policymaking on economic and energy policies.

  • Dayra Lascano, MPP '23

    Dayra Lascano, MPP '23

    Specialization: Peace and Security; Program Design and Evaluation

    Dayra Lascano is a policy analyst with experience in government and politics. She has more than nine years of experience working for the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry, the Organization of American States, and the private sector. Lascano grew up in Ecuador and got an undergraduate degree in international commerce and international negotiation, where she was awarded for having the highest grade point average of the class of 2016. She also holds a Master of Arts in international relations from the University of Essex, where she received the Department of Government’s Women of the Future Scholarship. Currently, Lascano is a teaching assistant and graduate student researcher at the SDG Policy Initiative and is the vice president of politics for GPS’ Women Going Global club.

  • Jaha McClean, MIA '23

    Jaha McClean, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Economics
    Region: Japan

    Jaha McClean graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a B.S. in biochemistry and a minor in global. While attending UCLA, she participated in research projects including sequencing plant virus genomes and synthesizing small molecules and biofuels using synthetic biology techniques. After graduation, she worked in Japan for two years as an English teacher as part of the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) program. While at GPS, McClean interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, where she participated firsthand in science diplomacy and science policy. McClean is the current vice president of external affairs of GPS’ Asameshikai club.

  • Elizabeth Muthoni, MPP '23

    Elizabeth Muthoni, MPP '23

    Specialization: Program Design and Evaluation; American and Comparative Business Regulation

    Originally from Kenya, Elizabeth (Liz) Muthoni pursued a B.S. in statistics from the University of Nairobi before moving to the U.S. She also received a B.A. in social and behavioral sciences from Soka University of America. Muthoni interned at SHEIN as an environmental, social and governance (ESG) analyst supporting the company’s circularity goals. She is interested in the evolving relationship between business and society as consumers increasingly demand sustainable products. At GPS, she serves as the vice president of finance for the Development Club. After graduation, Muthoni plans to gain experience in the ESG and sustainability fields, with the long-term goal of a career focused on sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Jeffrey “Jeff” Myers, MPP '23

    Jeffrey “Jeff” Myers, MPP '23

    Specialization: Environmental Policy; Program Design and Evaluation

    Jeffrey “Jeff” Myers, of San Diego, California, majored in history and political science with a minor in political economy at UC Berkeley. He learned the value of a quantitative approach through two distinct experiences: writing and presenting a research paper at the American Political Science Association’s 2018 conference and working on local campaigns after returning to San Diego post-graduation. Over the summer, Myers began working as the SDG Policy Initiative coordinator, advancing efforts tied to the Sustainable Development Goals locally and beyond. He also worked as a research assistant looking into the feasibility of a housing subsidy pilot program and other local issues. Myers eagerly anticipates helping the incoming GPS cohort navigate the student government as the GO GPS vice president of internal affairs.

  • Marissa Myers, MPP '23

    Marissa Myers, MPP '23

    Specialization: Health Policy; Program Design and Evaluation

    In 2018, Marissa Myers completed a B.A. from UC Berkeley, majoring in political science and minoring in political economy, graduating with highest distinction. Her interests lie in data-driven research on women, infants and child health care policies. Before coming to GPS, Myers spent three years as a special education teacher for elementary students with learning disabilities. She worked in several teams developing and creating education plans that best supported students’ learning goals, especially during the transition to distance learning. In her first year at GPS, Marissa won the inaugural Policy Memo Award for writing the best policy memo focusing on how GO GPS can better represent the student body. Marissa currently works as a teaching assistant and is the vice president of academic affairs for GO GPS.

  • Joseph “Joey” Persico, MIA '23

    Joseph “Joey” Persico, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Politics
    Region: Latin America

    Joey Persico holds a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in environmental management with a minor in geographic information systems. Prior to attending UC San Diego, Persico spent over five years working in local government. His interest in global politics and international security led him to GPS, where he plans to build on his work experience and transition to a more internationally focused career. In particular, Persico is interested in studying the effects of climate change on migration and security. Persico is involved with several extracurricular activities, serving as co-president of GPS’ LGBTQ+ organization QuIPS and vice president of the Security Studies Club.

  • Gabriel Rangel Visconti, MPP '23

    Gabriel Rangel Visconti, MPP '23

    Specialization: Environmental Policy

    Gabriel Visconti holds a B.A. and a master’s in economics from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Visconti worked for the Brazilian Development Bank for more than 20 years, serving in different roles in the social, financial, environmental and planning divisions, giving him the opportunity to closely follow some good examples of the effectiveness of the public policy. Visconti is also a board member of Instituto Clima e Sociedade (ICS), a Brazilian philanthropic organization that supports projects and institutions aiming to reduce inequality by tackling climate change and providing sustainable solutions.

  • Salma Shaikh, MPP '23

    Salma Shaikh, MPP '23

    Specialization: Program Design and Evaluation; Inequality and Social Policy

    Salma Shaikh completed her undergraduate education at UC San Diego, earning a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in data science. Shaikh spent the summer continuing an internship with SHEIN as an environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) analyst intern. She also worked as a summer analyst for the GPS Consulting Club. At GPS, Salma is a teaching assistant and a GPSA representative for GPS.


  • Peter Wilborn, MPP '23

    Peter Wilborn, MPP '23

    Specialization: Peace and Security

    Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Peter Wilborn holds a B.A. in political science with a minor in international studies from Morehouse College. Wilborn served in the Peace Corps as a TEFL teacher and policy advocate, working at a local level with other teachers and advocates to assist students in English learning. When the COVID-19 pandemic began and the Peace Corps was suspended, he returned home and worked in the nonprofit sector, specifically in emergency management for COVID testing in vulnerable communities. During his summer 2022 internship, Peter worked with the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism as graduate researcher, assisting with a large literature and data-based project that applied to international counterinsurgency and the responses and effects of those operations. At GPS, he serves as the current vice president of external affairs for both GO GPS and the Strategic Studies Group.

  • Junhui “Chris” Xu, MCEPA '23

    Junhui “Chris” Xu, MCEPA '23

    Specialization: Chinese Economy

    Junhui (Chris) Xu received his bachelor’s degree in international politics from Fudan University in Shanghai. When he was an undergraduate, he worked at BCG’s Shanghai office, the digital government division at the UN (New York), the legal clinic at the Chinatown Tenants Union (New York) and the strategic planning unit at UN-Habitat (Nairobi), exploring a more participatory approach in the face of urban development and gentrification. He has also completed exchange programs in Korea, Indonesia, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and Australia, where he was exposed to discussions on environmental challenges in Asia, the European Union and global governance, the Nordic welfare states and criminal justice reforms, and the history of Aboriginal people in Gadigal Country (Australia). At GPS, Xu is a graduate research assistant for professors Barry Naughton and Tai Ming Cheung on a project to map the formulation, planning and implementation of China’s industrial policy.

  • Qingai “Sunny” Xu, BA/MPP '23

    Qingai “Sunny” Xu, BA/MPP '23

    Specialization: Program Design and Evaluation

    Sunny Xu holds a B.S. in applied mathematics and a B.A. in economics and public policy from UC San Diego. During the summer of 2022, Xu interned at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C., on the education policy team. Xu is interested in education policy, particularly policies about reducing education inequalities and improving social mobility through education. At GPS, Xu is editor in chief for Sinosphere and is a board member for China Focus and the Development Club.

  • Marcia Yang, MIA '23

    Marcia Yang, MIA '23

    Career Track: International Politics; International Development and Nonprofit Management
    Region: Japan

    Marcia Yang holds a B.A. in philosophy and public affairs from Claremont McKenna College. As an undergraduate, she received the Arthur R. Adams Fellowship from the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies to conduct an individual research project analyzing the relationship between Japanese economic policy and welfare. She also received the Mgrublian Fellowship from the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights to conduct an independent study on expatriates' perceptions of the Chinese Communist Party through time. Before attending GPS, Yang worked as an assistant language teacher in Japan for three years as a part of the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) program. At GPS, Yang works as a graduate student researcher for the Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology (JFIT) and serves as vice president of internal affairs for Asameshikai, GPS’ Japan-focused club.

2022–23 Robertson Fellows

  • Elisabeth Earley, MIA ’23

    Elisabeth Earley, MIA ’23

    Career Track: International Development and Nonprofit Management
    Regional Focus: Latin America

    Elisabeth Earley graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, specializing in quantitative methods and survey design. There, she worked as a research assistant investigating international anticorruption interventions and assessing their effectiveness and scalability. She also conducted survey experiments measuring confirmation bias for political news on social media. Outside of academic research, Earley studied Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, played intramural soccer and coordinated volunteers for the student-led organization Bears for Elder Welfare. After graduation, she assisted fieldwork in Brazil and Nepal for the World Bank, and most recently, served as project manager for a large-scale study by the Inter-American Development Bank that used banking and mobility data to track and measure the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latin American SMEs.

  • McKenzie Hartman, MIA ‘24

    McKenzie Hartman, MIA ‘24

    Career Track: International Politics

    McKenzie Hartman was raised in Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and international relations and diplomacy and minors in Spanish and German. During her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad in Chile and interned with the Political/Economic section of the U.S. embassy in Bolivia, where she researched for the annual human rights report and helped organize bilateral exchanges between health professionals. After graduation, she worked for the Franklin County Board of Elections and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail across the country. She then served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany. There, she taught classes on both the English language and American culture and politics. McKenzie hopes to use her time at GPS to prepare her for a career in diplomacy.

  • Jackson Rice, MIA ‘24

    Jackson Rice, MIA ‘24

    Career Track: International Economics

    After growing up in San Diego, Jackson Rice attended UC Berkeley and graduated in 2020 with a B.S. in Society and Environment with the highest distinction. During his time at UC Berkeley, he worked as a writing tutor at the university's Student Learning Center. After graduating, he received a scholarship to study Mandarin in Taiwan from 2021-22. His background working in education and love for his time studying abroad solidified his desire to pursue an international career in public service. Jackson comes to GPS with a plan to specialize in China and, upon graduation, utilize his Mandarin skills and training to work in diplomacy and policy analysis on U.S.-China relations.

  • Peter Joseph Wilborn, MPP ’23

    Peter Joseph Wilborn, MPP ’23

    Career Track: Inequality and Social Policy

    Peter Joseph Wilborn is an Atlanta native and 2019 graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Affairs. While at Morehouse, he participated in the STARs Program as a research assistant at UC San Diego and was a Public Policy and International Affairs fellow at the Ford School in the University of Michigan. Following graduation, he joined the Peace Corps as an English teacher, where he also worked with local communities in East Africa until he was evacuated by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. Upon his return, he joined the Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) as a site manager for COVID-19 testing centers, eventually leading the logistics planning for all Georgia-based sites. His interests lie in regional and international development and policy geared toward human security, and plans to continue developing those skills while at GPS.

2022–23 Sylff Fellows

  • Brandon Callegari, MIA ’23

    Brandon Callegari, MIA ’23

    Specialization: International Politics and Korea

    Brandon Callegari graduated from Princeton University in 2021, with a B.A. from the School of Public and International Affairs. While at Princeton, his research involved human rights for displaced peoples, with a specific focus on North Korean defectors. He has previously interned in Indonesia and South Korea for community development and human rights nonprofit organizations, spearheading sustainable development projects for local villages in Bali and creating United Nations petitions to recognize atrocities committed against Zainichi Koreans after the Korean War. At UC San Diego, Callegari is continuing his focus on North Korean human rights and international human rights issues more generally.

Read more student stories → GPS News