Alumni Voices

George Fakes (Class of 2019)

George has recently accepted a position at the Jerusalem Fund's Palestine Center in Washington, DC.  The Jerusalem Fund is an independent Palestinian nonprofit with the following mission statement: "The Jerusalem Fund has evolved to meet the changing needs of the Palestinian people. It began as a grant-making organization that facilitates education and community development among Palestinians. It has grown to include active educational and cultural programs that promote public awareness about Palestine and the Palestinians. 

The Fund continues to pay special attention to emergency relief assistance, education, and community development even as grant funding and public support for these activities shifts elsewhere.The Fund remains committed to supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, and to helping them tell their story through words and pictures until a just and comprehensive peace is achieved."

Harrison Burke (Class of 2019)

Harrison (Harry) Burke, a January 2019 graduate of the UNMA program, recently started working as the Staff Associate at the University of Southern California’s Center for the Political Future in Los Angeles. The mission of the Center for the Political Future is to advance civil dialogue and research that transcends partisan divisions and finds solutions to our most pressing national and global challenges. The Center’s events, programs, scholarships, and internships inspire and train students for careers in public service and lifetimes of civic engagement.

Hired in June, Harry works closely with the Center’s Director, Robert M. Shrum, and Co-Director, Mike Murphy. Mr. Shrum was a long-time Democratic strategist for presidential candidates like John Kerry, Al Gore, and Ted Kennedy. Mr. Murphy was a Republican strategist for John McCain, Arnold Scharzenegger, and Jeb Bush as well as several others. He is their assistant, working on their calendars and correspondence. Harry also assists with various projects at the Center such as helping to write questions for panel discussions or assisting the Executive Director with other tasks whenever needed.

On a personal note, he is loving Los Angeles weather compared with New Jersey, though he says he could do without the LA traffic!

Check out the site here:

Kelly Nagle (Class of 2020)

Kelly was selected to present at the 2nd annual Nanovic Institute for European Studies Conference 2020 that was scheduled for March 27th at University of Notre Dame.  Due to the pandemic, the conference was cancelled.  The conference’s theme was “Contesting the Idea of ‘Europe’” and organizers requested abstracts from research dealing with pressing issues in contemporary European life; their often fraught historical contexts; and their significance for dialogue between scholars, policymakers, and the general public.  Kelly's research on Western Muslim women joining the Islamic State and the Orientalist frameworks that limit the West’s understanding of this phenomenon was selected for one of seven presentations at the conference.  Some of the country’s top institutions were also represented in the presentations, including Yale, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley. 

Kelly's research examined the role Orientalism plays in the West’s understanding of Muslims and women.  These Orientalist frameworks have been utilized by scholars and news media to understand why Western women are leaving their countries to join the Islamic State.  The static frameworks  exclude critical components to understanding the women’s motivations and, thus, create incomplete conclusions.  Concepts such as agency, structure, feminism and Islamophobia need to be utilized to create an adequate analysis of a multi-dimensional issue.

Shikun Zhang (Class of 2020)

Shikun Zhang, from the UNMA class of 2020, was recently appointed the position of Assistant Director of the Rutgers Overseas Semester Experience  (ROSE) Program at Peking University in Beijing, China. Check out the link about this new program here: .  Shikun credits the international relations education and support he received from the UNMA program as well as starting his career as a student worker with the Rutgers Global department here in New Brunswick.  We look forward to working with Shikun in any possible collaborative student programs in the future.  Congratulations to Shikun on his  new appointment in China.   

Vincent Heddesheimer (Class of 2020)

May, 2020 graduate, Vincent Heddesheimer has been rewarded one of three winners of this year’s policy competition arranged by European Horizons, a transatlantic policy incubator founded at Yale University. His winning policy proposal  Responses to the Belt and Road Initiative: A European grand strategy” has now been published in the Review of European and Transatlantic Affairs. The essay highlights the challenges posed by the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative on the European Union and proposes that current shortcomings of the EU’s policy could be overcome by creating an alternative “liberal” investment framework in cooperation with democratic partners such as Japan and South Korea.  Congratulations to Vincent on an amazing job!  See link for his published article under his profile.

Yusen Luo (Class of 2020)

Yusen Luo (Class of 2020), was recently hired with a private media organization, Guancha Syndicate/Guancha News, which has become influential among the young population in China. The organization shares content online in various forms, including articles and videos, covering mostly politically-related topics. For example, they have interviewed U.S scholars such as John Mearsheimer and a former Singaporean diplomat, Kishore Mahbubani; they also publish articles on their platform. Yusen’s work as an editor is flexible as he is assigned to work as a copywriter on one of the channels, which reaches millions of views regularly. At the same time, he interviews people for articles, such as Ronny Tong from the Executive Council of Hong Kong.

“Currently, we are working on an offline forum. (We just created our own YouTube channel: Guan School观学院). We invite Chinese top scholars in different fields to have a lecture on the channel. From there, we upload the lecture videos online for free. Currently, I am in contact with professors from Renmin University and Fudan University to enhance the channel.”
UNMA is excited for Yusen as he starts his career in China by sharing political forums with Chinese people.

Yusen's Interview with Ronny Tong, (he is the first voice)

Ronny Tong Ka-wah is pan-democrat moderate politician in Hong Kong who co-founded the Civic Party in 2006 and announced his departure from the party in 2014. He is the convener of the Path of Democracy think tank in Hong Kong. Tong supports democratic reform involving a middle-ground between Hong Kong and Beijing.

(Sources for bio:

Rebekah Mann (Class of 2019)

Rebekah has recently accepted a position in Manhattan, New York as a Financial Intelligence Analyst for NY/NJ High Intensity Financial Crime Area (HIFCA) under Homeland Security Investigations. This was entirely coincidental as her previous neighbor in New Brunswick had a connection who is the Director of NY/NJ HIFCA and gave him a recommendation to interview her when a position opened up. She is coming from Arlington, Virginia as a Program Assistant III at the Foreign Service Institute. Rebekah was recommended to FSI by her Graduate Program Director, Eric Davis and started the application process in May of 2019. To summarize the process, it essentially happened in three steps. 1. The phone screening, 2. Qualification interview, and 3. The final panel interview. During this time, she was going through her background check, which was a lengthy one—primarily due to the required Secret Security Clearance. It took about four months from start to finish for this process to complete and for Rebekah to be hired. As for the New York position, Rebekah was only required to submit a resume and attend a panel interview—she will go through the background check process during her employment. The best advice she can offer is to apply anywhere you can as long as it interests you and to keep your options open. Also, make as many connections as you can, because ultimately, those connections are really what help you land a job that can eventually lead to a career. It’s no understatement that it is very difficult to find jobs in our field and at our age, but it is possible if you know the right people and don’t give up on applying.

Christian Alvarez (Class of 2016)

“Since my admittance into the MA program at Rutgers I was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) funded by the U.S. State Department, allowing me to study abroad in Oman for a two-month period. This highly competitive scholarship could not have been possible without the assistance and guidance provided to me from my professors at Rutgers. I also had the opportunity take part in an internship at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute. Additionally, I was recently accepted into the PhD program in political science, a goal unattainable had it not been for the outstanding education offered by the masters program. The superb academics and outstanding support provided by the staff has made many of my goals attainable. I am proud to be a graduate of the MA program at Rutgers University”

Mazhar Syed (Class of 2016)

“I joined UN MA program in Fall 2014, the program's first semester. The program has developed and grown a lot with wide variety of focus. Classes provided theoretical and practical knowledge for students to critically analyze policies in a global scale. As the program continues to increase in number of students, more internship opportunities as well as career advising  has been incorporated into the program for students to take advantage of”