Skip to content

Main Navigation

Meet the MIAGE Students

MIAGE students come from all over the country and the world to pursue international careers. Each story is unique: students aspire to own their own businesses, become experts in international finance, fight human trafficking, and develop counter-terrorism strategies. Their diverse backgrounds and infectious ambition make MIAGE a remarkable program. 

Student Spotlight: Lee Winkleman

Lee Winkleman

Hometown: Duarte, California
Languages:  English, Spanish, French
Semester: 4th
Favorite Class(es): Policy Analysis and Fundamentals of International Organizations 
Area of Interest: Diplomatic Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution

I am currently interning with Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, a nonprofit organization that welcomes international visitors to Utah on professional and cultural exchanges. It may come as a surprise to some, but I am late to the "intern game" as this is my first time. Since I started with UCCD in September, I have learned extensively about the voluntary sector as well as the State Department's initiatives in inviting international visitors to tour the country. The focus of my internship is to capture the experience of these visitors once they return home, via online submissions, and documenting the "impact" of their visit to Utah using photos and written testimonials. You can see examples of this on our website: We affectionately refer to these people as "Friends of Utah." Additionally, I have accepted an intern position with Utah Consular Corps set to begin Spring 2020, and I am thrilled to continue working with international organizations. Thanks to this professional exposure, I have capitalized on networking with key individuals in the community both in nonprofit and government settings.

I would love to find a job that will help provide for my family and jumpstart my career. Currently, my spouse is shouldering the brunt of our financial obligations, but I hope to alleviate the stress attendant to the designated breadwinner. My desired career path is working for the State Department, despite the fierce competition one should expect to encounter in that particular field. Once I graduate, my objective will be to find a job in line with my professional interests while doubly preparing for the Foreign Service Officer Test. For me, the opportunity of becoming a career diplomat is the chance of a lifetime. Although it will require vast amounts of time and energy, I find that the sacrifice will be undeniably worth it.

What do you love about the MIAGE program? Why did you choose MIAGE?

What I love most about the MIAGE program is the immense variation of its student body. Even though we are all pursuing the same degree, we display a myriad of motivations with what we want to accomplish upon completion of the program. I am amazed by the high caliber of individuals I have met in my courses. We also have the rare privilege of having exclusive access to some of the other colleges and schools on campus, most notably the Business and Law Schools. These professors complement our more traditional studies outlined by the program's electives and offer more in-depth insight into some of the planet's most challenging problems.

I chose the MIAGE program because once I found out what a Master's degree was, stemming back to 8th grade, I knew then and there it would be on my goal radar. My undergraduate degree was grounded in an interdisciplinary approach, and I was immediately enamored by the prospect of delving into graduate studies, emphasizing the relevance of International Affairs in a world where diplomacy is on the decline. As a family, we decided to remain in Utah following my spouse's incredible job offer that would facilitate her dream to teach dance. This program appeared to be the only viable option for my success, and I am pleased with the outcome.

What is your advice to new students?

I remember feeling underqualified at the onset of the program, especially in the IAGE Foundations course. It had everything to do with my irrational feelings of inadequacy, observing the apparent talent among my peers. I could have gained more from my classes had I summoned the courage to participate more fully. If I am to offer advice, let it be this: Do not let your inaction prevent you from acquiring everything this program has to offer as I allowed to happen to me. Learn from and work together with your classmates because our paths may cross in the future. We need each other to effectuate the global change we hope to achieve, and it can start with the people we meet during our academic training. I fervently believe some of these people will be star players later down the road.


MIAGE students Brock Mays and Chris Rigby become Fulbright Scholars!

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.


Brock Mays

Brock Mays

Brock received thr Fulbright Research award to Lithuania. Brock would like to examine the effects of Russian misinformation and disinformation on Lithuanian society and Russia’s campaign has negatively impacted trust in the national government. Brock began his research in Lithuania in August, 2019.


Chris Rigby

Chris Rigby 

Chris received the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to Kenya. He intends to implement programs in the classroom to help the students to effectively communicate in English. Chris will begin his program in January 2020. 

Congratulations to them both!



MIAGE Students Present Policy Solutions at Young Diplomats Forum 2017 - Riga, Latvia

Brock Mays

Brock Mays

Hometown: Cottonwood Heights, UT
Languages: English, Lithuanian, Spanish, Russian, Finnish, Czech
Semester: 1st
Interest Area: Diplomacy 

Clint Gertsch

Clint Gertsch

Hometown: Midway, UT
Languages: English, Spanish, Russian
Semester: 1st
Interest Areas: International security and national affairs

Meet Brock Mays and Clint Gertsch, two first semester MIAGE students who are hitting the ground running with their global impact. During September of this year, Brock and Clint traveled to the Young Diplomats Forum in Riga, Latvia, where they joined 60+ delegates from all across the world in learning, analyzing, and presenting solutions to some of today’s biggest diplomatic challenges.

Attendees Young Diplomats ForumFor four days, Brock and Clint rubbed shoulders with and learned directly from six ambassadors and other foreign affairs officials, including the former Senior Economic Adviser for NATO’s twelfth Secretary General. Additionally, they had the opportunity to visit and meet with representatives from the Latvian Parliament, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the European Union Representation in Latvia. They even had the opportunity to present policy solutions to other delegates as well as foreign leaders and experts.

Brock decided to attend the Young Diplomats Forum this year because of his relationship with the language and area. Brock lived for two years in Lithuania as a full-time volunteer representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following that experience, he completed a study abroad for international relations in Finland. Also during his undergraduate degree, he had the opportunity to present research at the CIA on cultural topography and strategic culture connected to Russia’s relationship with the Baltic states and NATO. When he heard this event was located in Latvia, he just had to go.

One reason Clint decided to attend the Young Diplomats Forum this year is because of its geopolitical location. Latvia borders Russia, is heavily tied to US-Russian relations, and over 30% of the country speaks Russian, a language that Clint is currently studying. Latvia has only been a member of the European Union for about 10 years, which also makes it a unique situation with relationships to the rest of Europe.

When asked what the most beneficial part of this conference was, Clint replied, “all of it,” but if he had to pick three, they would be: (1) networking with and learning from the non-American perspectives of the fellow delegates, (2) networking with and learning from ambassadors and foreign affairs leaders, and (3) completing the Policy Workshop. Brock reported the same three favorites.

Clint Gertsch Presenting at the Young Diplomats Forum

For the Policy Workshop, delegates analyzed specific policy areas and created a solution focusing on one of the following subjects: United Nations reforms, post ISIS Middle East, management of the South China Sea, stability in the Black Sea region, or the future of the European Union and Transatlantic Alliance. Brock’s policy solution focused on stability in the Black Sea region, and Clint’s focused on the post ISIS Middle East.

Clint expounded how his team consisted of him, another delegate from America, and delegates from Saudi Arabia, Denmark, and Austria. His team’s solution was geared towards collecting the finances for and then rebuilding Syria’s infrastructure, assuming no ISIS presence. The 15-20 year solution involved attracting wealthy countries to invest in rebuilding with a return benefit of gaining increased access to the Mediterranean Sea and trade routes. This would not only bring in finances for the rebuilding of Syria, but would bring further stabilization through increased trade.

Brock’s policy team consisted of delegates from Russia, Moldova, the United Kingdom, Tunisia, and Australia, with him being the only American. The most interesting part of this exercise for Brock was to experience how effective diplomacy works. Initially there was a divide in views between the Russian delegate and him and the delegate from the United Kingdom. Despite this, the delegates were able to talk through and understand the differences to come up with a mutually beneficial solution to the issue.

Brock Mays and Clint Gertsch at the Young Diplomats ForumBoth Brock and Clint shared how they are excited to implement these experiences into their current graduate degrees. Brock explained that he has already used his enhanced knowledge for a synthesis paper in the MIAGE Foundations class. Clint explained that the MIAGE program is further giving him access to opinions and research he would have a difficult time accessing otherwise. One thing is for sure, if the experience of these two students in the first weeks of school is a demonstration on how the next two years will be, then great things can be expected of both of them. 

November 2017

Katie Davidson Awarded Graduate Assistantship at the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute

Congratulations to Katie Davidson for being awarded a Graduate Assistantship at the University of Utah Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute! The Kem C. Gardener Institute completes important research to residents of Utah, especially related to economics, demographics and public policy.

August 2017

Michael Maher and Thomas May Awarded FLAS Fellowships for Studying Russian

Congratulations to Michael and Thomas for their FLAS Fellowship awards to study Russian! FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowships are federally funded awards offered through the University of Utah's Asia Center and Center for Latin American Studies. They provide funding for students to study languages and related area studies for select critical languages. Applications are due at the beginning of every Spring semester.

August 2017

Deba Masterson Awarded Women In Defense HORIZONS Scholarship

Congratulations to Deba Masterson for being award the Women In Defense (WID) HORIZONS Scholarship! WID is a National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Affiliate, and engages, cultivates and advances women in all aspects of national security. The HORIZONS Scholarship application is open to women across the United States who are pursuing education to prepare for a career in national defense or to assist with their current career. This is the first time a woman in Utah has won the award. Previous award winners are from universities all over the United States, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Harvard University and John Hopkins University. 

July 2017

Morgan Shepherd, Chelsea Joliet and Deba Masterson Recruited for Counterterrorism Simulation Design Team

Congratulations to Morgan, Chelsea and Deba, who are all members of the counterterrorism Simulation Design Team at the S.J. Quinney College of Law! These three MIAGE students are part of an eight-person Simulation Design Team, made up of six students and two professionals, who complete a year-long project of designing and putting into action lesson plans and counterterrorism simulations for the Spring semester class in the S.J. Quinney College of Law, "Perspectives of Counter-Terrorism." 

May 2017


Chelsea Winslow

Chelsea Winslow ImageHometown: Ogden, UT
Languages: English, Spanish
Semester: 5th
Favorite Courses: Perspectives of Counterterrorism with Amos Guiora, National Security Policy with General Slack, Immigration Law with Steve Nelson, Criminal Justice Policy with Ed McConkie

Police officers are the humble heroes of our communities, risking their lives on a daily basis so we can stay safe. Chelsea Winslow truly is one of these heroes.

Chelsea has been a police officer for over four years serving in patrol, the High Risk Victims Unit, and as a Field Training Officer. Chelsea juggles a rigorous schedule including sometimes working throughout the night and then heading to class the next day. At times, Chelsea’s schedule is so tight that she comes to class straight from work still dressed in a full-fledged police uniform.

Chelsea Winslow ImageChelsea loves being a police officer because she has a direct impact on people’s lives. As the refugee population in Utah has increased, Chelsea has had the ability to create a positive view of law enforcement for them. Recently, Chelsea was called into a situation which included helping a family from Iraq. It was empowering for her to be able to calm the family down and ensure them that they would be taken care of. Leaving the scene, Chelsea felt optimistic about the interaction and happy about the positive impact she had on their perspective of law enforcement.

One of Chelsea’s major goals as a police officer is to be a mentor for other women in uniform. As a Field Training Officer, she has helped other women with their career goals by giving them advice and tools for how to be successful. Chelsea wants to make sure she assists other women in climbing the career ladder just as she is doing.

Not only should Chelsea be recognized simply for her law enforcement work, but Chelsea really puts her heart into her job. She was awarded the Sheriff's Star Award for stopping an attempted suicide and saving a woman’s life. Additionally, she has been named Officer of the Month three times for the Taylorsville Precinct.

Police officers don’t always have the opportunity to see the impact they make on others. One of Chelsea Winslow ImageChelsea’s most treasured memories is when she was stopped while walking out of a courthouse by a woman who thanked her immensely for her service as a police officer. This women explained that it is inspirational seeing a woman serving in law enforcement.

In addition to helping others daily in her job, Chelsea has chosen to participate in the Police Unity Tour - a 300 mile bike ride from New Jersey to Washington D.C. honoring police officers who have died in the line of duty. The ride will end with a candlelight vigil by over 50,000 people as the names of the fallen officers during 2016 are officially added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Chelsea shares, “I will ride in honor of Officer Doug Barney, Officer Cody Brotherson, and K9 Officer Aldo who all paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting their communities.” Click here to visit her fundraising page and donate to the cause.

Chelsea received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She chose the MIAGE program because of its interdisciplinary approach and flexibility to choose classes based on her future goals. Plus, everyone she saw who came through the program seemed to have found awesome opportunities for work.

Chelsea hopes to continue her career in criminal justice by combating transnational crime including drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism in local or federal law enforcement. The MIAGE program has been a great learning experience for her and all of her research has tied directly to her career goals. For the last two semesters she has also been serving on the Counterterrorism Simulation creation team for the Perspectives of Counterterrorism class, setting up intricate simulations for students to perform to gain counterterrorism experience.

We congratulate Chelsea on her upcoming graduation and wish her luck on the upcoming Police Unity Tour!


Andrea Soleta

Andrea Soleta ImageHometown: Cavite, Philippines 
Languages: English, Tagalog, Ilonggo
Semester: 4th
Favorite Course: Hinckley internship at the British Parliament

The MIAGE program is filled with incredibly hardworking and talented students who are from all over the world. Andrea is a star University of Utah student from the Philippines, receiving five scholarships and awards while in graduate school. One of these awards is the Abrelia C. Hinckley Graduate Scholarship for her significant experience in community involvement and commitment to a career in public service.

Recently, Andrea had the opportunity to intern at the British Parliament where she was able to visit the Prime Minister’s office and Andrea Soleta on a Bridge in Londontalk with government officials and locals about Brexit. Andrea’s favorite experience during her internship was giving tours of Parliament because she loved seeing people’s shocked faces as they watched a filipino explain detailed British history to crowds of tourists. Another highlight of the experience was giving her supervisor a 15-page policy brief about state pensions in the UK. Her supervisor was amazed by her work. Andrea shared it was so beneficial to learn firsthand British politics.

Andrea’s dream job is to work for an international organization such as WHO or UNICEF, but says she might realistically work for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development or the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. Based on Andrea’s dedication, we have no doubt she will find success wherever she chooses to go.

Andrea Soleta as Miss United Nations USA Utah 2012Whenever Andrea talks to students in other graduate programs she thinks to herself about how grateful she is to be in the MIAGE program. Andrea loves the interdisciplinary approach of the MIAGE program and is excited about all the opportunities that are available to students. She shared how she loves that the classes are not fully focused on research papers and that you can have fun while learning from awesome professors.

Prior to her schooling in the MIAGE program, Andrea won Miss United Nations USA Utah 2012 by representing the Philippines. In the competition, Andrea won best in talent for her piano performance and best in evening gown for a gown that her sister sewed. Andrea also had the opportunity to intern at the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington D.C. in 2014 and served as the President of the Philippines Club during her undergrad at BYU, where she did a fundraising concert for typhoon Haiyan victims.

Check out this Facebook spotlight the University of Utah International Admissions did about Andrea.

Interested in doing an incredible internship like Andrea did? Check out internship opportunities available to MIAGE students through the Hinckley Institute.


Chandler Jordana     

Hometown: Ogden, UT  Chandler Jordana
Languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Catalan  
Semester: 4th  
Favorite Course: Middle Eastern Law with Amos Guiora  

Chandler’s interdisciplinary experience and interests make him well-suited for the MIAGE program. Chandler completed BA degrees at Walla Walla University in both International Communication, with a French emphasis, and in Spanish Language & Literature. Chandler wasn’t even sure he wanted to pursue a graduate degree when he happened upon the MIAGE program, but was quickly enticed by MIAGE’s interdisciplinary approach. Currently Chandler is completing his fourth and final semester in the MIAGE program.

Due to his experience, Chandler has the ability to fit in whatever setting he is placed. Besides living in the US, Chandler has lived in Lebanon for work, Spain and France for study, and Italy as a volunteer at a nursing home. Chandler’s ability to speak several languages also helps him adapt to various settings, even though, as he shares, his fluency varies.

Chandler plans to pursue NGO/nonprofit management focusing on helping mitigate global instances of extreme poverty. Additionally, Chandler is interested in pursuing diplomacy or international journalism. These goals have reflected his school work; last semester he was able to write an extensive research paper on “The Exploitation of Migrant Workers in the Middle East” for Middle Eastern Law and orally present on “Global Development NGO Inefficiencies and Mismanagement” for the MIAGE Foundations class. Even with all of his experience, Chandler shares, “MIAGE has helped me to realize a lot of my weaknesses, as negative at that might sound. There are lots of areas that I've realized that I need to focus on improving in order to make myself more well-rounded, namely economics. I find business and econ very interesting, but my background is not in those areas and so I've had to put forth extra effort there.” Through the MIAGE program Chandler has been able to start strengthening those “weaknesses.”

Chandler’s international work isn’t limited to his schooling. Chandler is currently working as the local Job Development Supervisor at Catholic Community Services in the Refugee Resettlement Program. At his work he assists refugees in finding jobs, which includes networking with local companies and sharing the benefits of hiring refugees. Through his work, Chandler is able to sit on a few government and nonprofit refugee committees and boards. Chandler shares, “the most rewarding part is seeing clients improve, whether that means getting a better job or improving their English. They face many challenges and seeing them successfully overcome them is really cool. I also enjoy seeing refugees raise awareness regarding their plight.”

We are excited to see where Chandler goes next in his life adventures!

If you are also interested in nonprofit work, the time is now to follow Chandler’s example and get involved! Chandler explained, “there are literally hundreds of opportunities to volunteer with nonprofits in the valley. Take advantage of them!”


Emily Estheimer

Hometown: Cache Valley, Utah and Oregon
Languages: English, German
Semester: 3rd
Favorite Course: Foundations of International Security from Steven Lobell and National Security Policy from Paul Slack

Emily is quite the international expert. Her undergraduate degree was in International Studies from Utah State University, and now has almost completed her Master of Science in International Affairs and Global Enterprise. She shares, "I chose the MIAGE program for its interdisciplinary approach. I think in our world today it is important to be able to analyze a situation from many different angles and perspectives in order to be able to come up with the most prudent situation."

Emily is going into international politics and diplomacy with the current plan of becoming a Foreign Service Officer (FSO). Her desire to enter this field comes from wanting to help others. Emily knows that political discourse, policy and diplomacy can help people around the globe gain access to opportunities that those who grew up in America sometimes take for granted.

While working toward her goal of becoming an FSO, Emily has been studying hard for the FSO test and just it on October 8th; she finds out her results in a couple weeks. The process to get hired as an FSO usually takes about a year, so Emily is planning on looking for work either locally or in Washington DC until that time following her graduation this spring.

Additionally, Emily shared that the MIAGE program has helped prepare her to become an FSO. She shares, "An FSO may be required to wear many hats (especially in a small consulate) so it is good to have a solid knowledge base across many areas. I also think that having a wider base of knowledge can help with relationship development and management in a foreign country. The more you understand about a country's history, political, economic, legal, and social makeup the easier it will be to connect with the locals and develop constructive relationships."

Emily's favorite courses thus far from the MIAGE program have been Foundations of International Security from Steven Lobell and National Security Policy from Paul Slack. Here are her observations about these classes:

-Foundations of International Security: "This course was definitely challenging, but it was also very interesting and informative. There was a lot of reading each week, but the discussions we had in class were great. This class is theory based, but I have been able to apply my knowledge from this course and relate it to the materials and practical applications in my other classes."

-National Security Policy: "Professor Slack has had a fascinating career - he served as the National Security Adviser to the Vice President during the Nixon Administration, and worked for the Marine Corps as a 1 star General - and has a wealth of knowledge about national security policy. He was able and willing to tell us about his firsthand experience in some of the events we discussed in class. I don't think there is anything more valuable than having access to someone who has that much experience and is willing to share it."

Remarkably, Emily has managed full-time work while doing full-time graduate school, which is not an easy feat. She is grateful that her job is on campus, at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which makes the commute between work and class simple. Sometimes Emily's schedule requires her to wake up early or stay up late to maintain excellence in her classes. Overall, Emily shares that she strives to be very conscious of how her time is allocated, which is a great lesson for all graduate students.

Even though she works hard in career and school, Emily finds time to be adventurous and have fun. Emily is an international traveler and has visited 13 countries with another trip planned in May to visit Germany, Croatia, Norway and Iceland! We are excited to have Emily as part of the MIAGE program.


Erin Moore

ErinHometown: Simi Valley, CA
Languages: English, Arabic
Semester: 4th
Favorite Course: Managerial Negotiations with Dr. Kristina Diekmann

In 2013, Erin Moore's previously exciting life had come to a standstill. "I had just returned from volunteering in India for nine months. It was my first time living in a foreign country, and everything else I did felt small by comparison. All my job prospects were disappointing, and I knew I was capable of so much more. One day I googled 'international affairs masters,' and the rest is history!"

Erin began the MIAGE program in 2014 with plans to become a Foreign Service Officer. "That's still a long-term goal of mine, but MIAGE opened my eyes to so many other international possibilities." Erin has focused her MIAGE degree on international economics and business, while also learning Arabic. During her program, she participated in the law school's Counter-terrorism Simulation, she interned with an export consulting firm, and she won the business school's Games4Health competition by designing a video game and business plan to solve a health problem.

"It's incredible how many cool opportunities MIAGE can connect you to. We're really lucky to get to take all these different classes. I know my ability to integrate knowledge from so many different disciplines makes me competitive and unique."

Erin earned her BS and MS in sociology at Brigham Young University in 2011. She discovered her passion for international affairs while serving as the Volunteer Director for Rising Star Outreach of India, where she managed hundreds of foreign volunteers providing services for leprosy-affected families in Southern India. After graduating this semester, Erin plans to continue to build a career in export consulting.

Erin's advice to current and incoming students: "MIAGE opens so many doors for you, but it's up to you to walk through them. A lot of times you'll feel like a fish out of water. You'll be the only non-law student in a law class, for example, and you'll think, 'What the heck did I get myself into?' Those moments are major decision points. You can either hide in the back of the class, do just enough work to get by, and run away when it's over, or you can sink your teeth into it and make the most of the experience. Get to know your classmates. Meet with your professor. Attend lectures related to that topic. Prove to that class and to yourself that you belong there. Because you do. You wouldn't be in the program if you didn't."

Cory McClellan

CoryHometown: Blackfoot, ID
Languages: English, Spanish
Semester: 4th
Favorite Course: Entrepreneurship and Poverty in Peru

Since August 2013, Cory works at American Express as the assistant to the Vice President and General Manager of World Service, Victor Ingalls. In this role, Cory provides strategic, analytical, and project management in support of new business development and operations enablement for over 2000 employees. Prior to working at American Express, he served as a Captain in the United States Air Force’s Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here, he oversaw the operations of a 200 member maintenance team, with responsibility for national strategic assets valued at $15 Billion.

Cory graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Utah in 2009, and is currently working towards a MS in International Affairs and Global Enterprise. Some of his favorite courses have been International Law, Linear Algebra, and Entrepreneurship and Poverty in Peru. During this last course, taught by Dr. Jay Barney, he spent eight days consulting small businesses in Cusco, Peru. His cost/benefit analysis resulted in the eventual crowdfunding of the investment needed for a machine to grind primary ingredients into guinea pig food. This machine optimized the expense and quality of the food needed to support the operations of an agricultural co-op comprised of 320 women-owned businesses.

Outside of work and school, Cory enjoys traveling, scuba diving, and spending time with his family and friends. As a hobby, he maintains a 30 gallon salt water aquarium with several dozen species of fish, invertebrates, and coral. Additionally he is a pilot, and enjoys flying to nearby destinations.

Necoline Hubner

NecoHometown: None (Grew up in the Air Force)
Languages: English, German, Japanese
Semester: 3rd
Favorite Course: Middle East Law with Professor Amos Guiora

Prior to starting the MIAGE program Necoline worked as an English instructor specializing in online curriculum design. After graduating from BYU-Hawaii with a B.A in Teaching English as a Second Language she worked as a teacher in Washington D.C., Utah and Texas where she began developing education programs for the refugee population in Dallas. This work inspired her to go back to school to cultivate a skill set in international affairs in relation to refugee resettlement and policy. In addition to school, she is currently developing a human rights education program for refugees with the Asian Association of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Starting in January 2016, Necoline will leave for an internship working with U.S. joint forces in the European Command in Stuttgart, Germany working in Logistics and Emergency Medical response before returning to finish course work in the fall. Upon graduation, Necoline hopes find employment working for an international organization such as the UNHCR or IRC working with refugee program development.



Brenen Sidwell

Hometown: Cedar Hills, Utah
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French
Semester: 3rd
Favorite course: Foundations with Dr. Reynolds
Career goal: US Department of State or Help International

Brenen studied Political Science and Spanish as an undergraduate with an emphasis in World Politics. His experiences doing humanitarian work in India, Paraguay, and the Philippines, as well as an internship with the Consulate of Spain, have led him to seek an international career. With his training in the MIAGE program he plans to build a career in international development, serving people abroad either through government agencies or NGOs.


Anbes Mebrahtu

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Languages: English, Amharic (Ethiopia), and Tigrigna (Eritrea)
Semester: 4th 
Favorite course: Multinational Firms with Dr. Reynolds 

Anbes is pursuing an internship the African Union's Department of Peace and Security, where he hopes to participate in negotiations over border conflicts, including Sudan and South Sudan disputes and Ethio-Eritrean disputes. He would also like to work toward the creation of a common market in the East African region and the free movement of people and trade between neighboring countries. Eventually, Anbes would like to establish a sustainable business in his home country of Ethiopia, such as a bicycle or handicraft shop, which will employ locals and uplift the community.

William (Bill) Merkle 


Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Languages: English, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese
Semester: 3rd
Favorite Course: Foreign Investment Law with Professor Benedict Kingsbury

Bill is an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a BS in Humanities and academic distinction in 2014.  In 2015, Bill completed a graduate fellowship at the Asian Studies Center of The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He has published articles about security and economy in the Asia-Pacific with The National Interest, a leading defense newspaper in Washington, D.C. and with the University of Pennsylvania’s SIR Journal of International Relations.

Bill served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan from 2009 to 2011. He provided humanitarian assistance during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. In March 2012, Bill formed a service club called “Cadets in Action Overseas” (CIAO), where he led a team of cadets to clear debris from water drains in devastated fishing villages in northern Japan. CIAO also provided humanitarian assistance in Haiti in December 2012 under Bill’s leadership. Bill was recognized as a 2013 Truman Scholarship Finalist for these accomplishments.

Bill also completed a six-month study abroad to Nanjing, China. His interests include disaster relief, international investment law, and the study of U.S.-Japan and U.S.-Australia relations. Bill also holds his private pilot license and will enter pilot training in January 2016.


Shuktika Maheshwari 

Hometown: Kanpar, Uttar Pradesh, India
Languages: English, Hindi
Semester: 4th
Favorite course: International Management with Dr. Boam

Before joining the MIAGE program, Shuktika worked for the Education and Research Division of Infosys Ltd in Karnataka, India. She desired to give her career new direction in business and banking and had long been interested in studying in the United States. These interests drew Shuktika to the MIAGE program, which was especially appealing because of its diversity of courses. Currently in her third semester, her studies focus on international economics and communication and their impact on business opportunities in emerging global markets. Shuktika will graduate next year and plans to work in global investment banking and finance.


Jessica Visbal

Hometown: Miami, FL
Languages: Spanish, Italian, French, English
Semester: 6th
Favorite Course: Global Justice with Dr. Guiora
Current Internship: US Embassy in Rome, Italy

Jessica earned her Bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Latin American studies from Pace University in New York City. During her undergraduate studies, she interned with the United Nations Colombian Consulate, also in New York City, working in translation and interpretation. Jessica joined the MIAGE program because of its breadth, as her ambitious career goals require knowledge of both economics and law. She graduates from the University of Utah this semester and will be spending the summer interning with the American embassy in Rome. Her work will be in the office of political economy and American services, helping to facilitate and improve the relationship between the Italian government and US merchants. Jessica plans to work in intelligence for the FBI or State Department, focusing on European and Latin American Affairs.  


Thomas Hone



Hometown: Pleasant View, Utah
Languages: English, Arabic
Semester: 6th
Favorite courses: National Security Policy with Professor Slack; Global Perspectives on Counter-Terrorism with Dr. Guiora
Career goal: Counter-terrorism


I have always been interested in why groups, societies, and nations do what they do. However, in my studies I've learned that not one single discipline holds all the answers. Global issues are extremely complex and must be looked at from multiple angles. This is why I chose the MIAGE program. MIAGE has allowed me to explore issues through the eyes of a political scientist, economist, historian, anthropologist, and lawyer. As I pursue a counter-terrorism career with the US State Department, I know this broad and very hands-on training will help me contribute to the development of solutions for the world's most difficult challenges. I have enjoyed my time in the program and am excited to begin the next chapter in my career. 

Vinita Kriangsantikul


Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Languages: Thai, English
Semester: 4th
Favorite course: International Management with Dr. Boam

Vinita finished her undergraduate studies in Thailand in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Law from Kasetsart University. During her third year, she also worked as a trainee at the Reconciliation Center of the Civil Court. After graduation, Vinita turned her focus to international business and investment, moving to the US to join the MIAGE program in Spring 2014. For Vinita, MIAGE has been a great opportunity to build her skills in multiple areas of business and investment, especially multinational firms, economics, and management. She will complete the program in Spring 2015, after which she intends to work in the US for a few years before returning to her home country of Thailand to start her own business.

Lisa Little

Hometown: Newberg, OregonLanguages: English, Spanish lisa
Semester: 4th
Favorite course: Foundations with Dr. Reynolds
Career goal: International NGO

Lisa interned with the Scottish National Party (SNP) at the Scottish Parliament for the Spring 2014 semester. Her assignments focused on external written communication for an MSP-Member of the Scottish Parliament, Colin Beattie. Duties included writing motions, press releases and a weekly column; responding to constituents through letters; writing congratulatory letters; and assisting with group visits to the Parliament. Lisa wrote a speech for debate on geothermal energy and submitted a report to the minister of energy about creating a working group on the industry. She did extensive research on hydraulic fracturing and geothermal energy. Lisa observed the politics surrounding the referendum vote, which took place September 18th, 2014.

Sofiya Mykhalska

Hometown: Torez, Ukrainesofiya
Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English
Semester: 3rd
Favorite course: Multinational Firms with Dr. Reynolds

After earning her Master's degree in English teaching, Sofiya moved to Utah from Ukraine seven years ago. Upon moving to the States Sofiya sought to expand her knowledge in disciplines like economics, politics, and international studies. After extensively researching all the programs available in these areas, the MIAGE program turned out to be just what she was looking for. Sofiya will complete the program next year, and she has big plans after graduation. She intends to work in intelligence as a language analyst. Additionally, she hopes to set up a non-profit in her home country of Ukraine, which has recently experienced a Russian military invasion. Sofiya would like to establish a foundation providing food and shelter for orphans in Eastern Ukraine. Next semester she will take a course in management of non-profit organizations to equip her with the skills necessary to accomplish this.

Kirk Galster



Hometown: Clinton, Iowa
Semester in MIAGE: Third
Languages: Arabic, English
Favorite course: Economics of Multinational Firms with Dr. Reynolds 

After serving three years active duty in the U.S. Army as an infantrymen, Kirk received his BA in Political Science and a secondary major of International Studies with an emphasis in Middle East and North African conflict. He joined the Iowa Army National Guard in 2008 and was trained as a satellite imagery analyst. During active duty, he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005-06, and during his guard service he completed a tour to Afghanistan in 2010-11.He completed a semester abroad in Amman, Jordan in the fall of 2012 which focused on language acquisition and Arab-Israeli politics. Kirk has taken two years of Modern Standard Arabic and is currently in his third year under the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. His plans to pursue a career in international business development utilizing foreign investment and microfinance and focusing on conflict reduction and counter-terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa.

Andrew Radcliffe

Hometown: Vancouver, Washingtonandrew
Semester in MIAGE: Sixth
Languages: English, German
Favorite course: Counter Terrorism Simulation Design with Amos Guiora

Andrew finished his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah in 2012 with BA's in Political Science and History and a minor in International Studies.  His education focused on international relations and 20th century conflicts. Andrew completed a semester abroad in Kiel, Germany in the summer of 2011 which focused on German language studies.  He joined the MIAGE program in the summer of 2013 and will graduate this May.  In the Spring of 2014, Andrew was the first non-law student invited to join the counter-terrorism simulation design team at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. This team has spent the last year designing a simulation to test students' ability to respond to terrorism scenarios in real-time. The Lassonde Institute is currently preparing an article on the simulation for their annual publication "Student Innovations." Andrew is currently seeking employment in global investment research with Goldman Sachs and waiting for an update on his application for Fulbright grants to continue his studies in England.  In the long run, he plans to pursue a public service career in diplomacy or intelligence with an emphasis in counter-terrorism. 


 Visit our News page to learn more about students and events in MIAGE.

Last Updated: 4/2/20