Who Are We?
Global Policy Institute fellows are a group of hard-working undergraduate students who are passionate about international relations and foreign affairs. Our fellows have studied and worked all over the world, including the Arctic, Rwanda, Belgium and Argentina, among other regions. Each fellow has a wide variety of interests that they are excited to share with the USC community.
The team organizes programming and events for all USC students. The fellows also maintain, update and create content for the GPI website.
Katie Abrams is a senior studying Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change, with double minor in International Relations and Photography & Social Change. Katie is from Highland Park, IL and comes from a vast background of social activism. Katie has professional experience in web design, research, social media, advertising, global health, and youth programming. Last summer she worked as a legislative intern on Capitol Hill. While on a Problems without Passports program, Katie studied Climate Change and International Relations in the Arctic Circle. Her most recent work has been as a research assistant for the Haitian NGO, Zanmi Lasante. Katie’s interests are focused on the environment, activism, global civil society, and government.
Ashley Abadeer is a junior studying International Relations and the Global Economy with a minor in Architecture at USC. Her specific interest in the field of international relations is ensuring water security and hopes to one day help establish clean water infrastructure through architectural design. Ashley has technical experience in AutoCad as well as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere. On campus, Ashley is the speaker’s director for TEDxUSC, a lead researcher in the SPEC lab whose work involved codifying power-sharing institutions and updating the existing literature, and is also a member of USC’s international relations co-ed professional fraternity, Delta Phi Epsilon.
Communications & Editorial Director
Mia Speier is a sophomore pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Diplomacy, a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a minor in Law and Public Policy. She serves as GPI’s communications coordinator and editorial director. Her interests include conflict studies, American foreign policy and political media. She hopes to focus her career on Transatlantic security issues. At USC, she is a tour guide for the Admission Center, served as the Global City Editor at Annenberg Media and a two-term News Editor of the Daily Trojan. Additionally, Mia serve as the Editor-in-Chief for Glimpse from the Globe — USC’s international affairs online publication. She is also an assistant editor for the Southern California International Review — an undergraduate research journal. She spent her summer in Brussels, Belgium working for REVOLVE Media, a European Union-sponsored media organization focused on sustainable development, and spent her spring in Washington D.C. as a Communication Fellow at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Mia is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, USC’s international relations fraternity, and is currently interning at the U.S. Agency for Global Media as a Schaeffer Fellow.
Social Media Coordinator
Bennett Rine is a junior studying International Relations. His specific interests are in the intersection of gender and global issues as well as human rights. With GPI he serves as Social Media Coordinator and editorial lead for the human security team. Bennett is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, USC’s international relations and foreign service professional fraternity, and is also a junior correspondent for Glimpse from the Globe, USC’s international affairs online publication. At USC, he is a research assistant for the Near Crisis Project and has volunteered with the Teaching International Relations Program, working with high school students in Los Angeles.
Matt Slade is a sophomore double majoring in International Relations and Chinese Language from Boulder, Colorado. At USC, he is involved with the Teaching International Relations Program which teaches local high school students complex IR issues, as well as the Civil Rights and Liberties Club where he serves on executive board. In May, Matt went to China to research changes in advertising and consumer culture as a result of globalization in a program through the East Asian Studies Center. Outside of USC, he has worked for several years on research projects for the Korean Negotiation Initiative based out of Boulder. Though he has many interests regarding international relations, within GPI Matt focuses on issues of global and national security, especially in relation to East Asia and cybersecurity.
Kirian Mischke-Reeds is a junior majoring in International Relations and the Global Economy with a minor in Environmental Studies and serves as Chief Editor for GPI. Growing up to a German-Spanish mother and an American father in the Bay Area inspired Kirian to study international issues, focusing particularly on European foreign policy and the global climate change regime. Last summer, he interned for Climate XChange, doing research on North Carolina’s environmental and climate policy. On campus, Kirian is a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Foreign Service Fraternity and is Associate Editor for Glimpse from the Globe, USC’s foreign affairs magazine.
Marie Zaragoza is a junior pursuing a degree in International Relations with an emphasis on global economics and Arabic. Her interests include international political economy, refugee crisis resolution and the Middle East. On campus, she is a research assistant with the Security and Political Economy lab where she researches the influence of power sharing institutions in shaping various educational, economic and civil liberty outcomes and is the treasurer of the USC Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. Marie has also volunteered with the Teaching International Relations Program, where she taught a class on international political economy in a local high school. This past summer, she studied immigration in Spain, working with NGOs and private sector actors to understand the dynamics between the public and private sector to achieve social change.
Michael Murray is a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying International Relations. Within GPI, he focuses on poverty and human security related issues. Outside of GPI, Michael is involved in USC’s Security and Political Economy Lab, Society 53, and JEP. In the past, Michael has worked with the University of Chicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats, Arabic Club ‘SC, and the Levan Institute for Humanities. He looks forward to seeing USC’s international relations and policy related discourse grow through GPI.
Elizabeth Shepherd is a junior at the University of Southern California majoring in Intelligence and Cyber Operations from Pasadena, California. Her interests include Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferation, Modern warfare, Cyberwar, Cyber Weapons, Information Security, and Cyber Forensics. She has experience in both Windows and Mac OS, in addition to scripting and digital forensics. She is involved with CYBORG, a security and forensics club on campus that explores the cybersecurity industry, while also hosting weekly networking events. She also acts as President for USC’s Trojan Comic Fan Club, where she orchestrates weekly meetings and monthly group outings.
Ryan Witter is a senior at the University of Southern California majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Law while double minoring in International Relations and Cinematic Arts. Ryan was born and raised in Seattle. His interests include national security and the interaction between domestic and foreign policy; American-European diplomatic relations; and the role of Russia and Eastern Europe in world geopolitics. This past summer he worked in Brussels, Belgium, for the Elcano Royal Institute, a Spanish foreign policy think tank specializing in international strategic studies.On campus, he serves as president of the Civil Rights and Liberties Club and volunteers with the Teaching International Relations Program, explaining important IR concepts and issues at local high schools. From 2017-19 he worked in USC’s Sports Information Department producing written content for football game-day programs and the official USC Athletics website. Within GPI, Ryan focuses on global and national security issues.
Holden Anderson is a junior from Arlington, Virginia double majoring in Political Economy and Applied & Computational Mathematics with a minor in Musical Studies. He is interested in exploring the intersection of economics, data, and policy, and within the Global Policy Institute, he focuses on the global economy. Outside of GPI, he works as an elementary school math tutor through the Joint Educational Project and is a section leader in the Trojan Marching Band. He has also worked with the Teaching International Relations Program, where he taught a class on international bioethical issues. This summer, he is looking forward to studying the Economics of European Integration in Leuven, Belgium on a USC Maymester.
Kate Curry is a junior at USC studying International Relations. Originally from West Virginia, she enjoys traveling and learning about different languages and cultures (so far during her time at USC, she has travelled to Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and India!) On campus, Kate serves as Brotherhood Vice President of Delta Phi Epsilon (USC’s professional foreign service society), writes for Glimpse from the Globe, tutors international teaching assistants in english, and has volunteered with the Teaching International Relations Program and the Joint Education Project. Last semester, she was a research assistant for the Price school’s Affordable Los Angeles project, where she conducted in-depth interviews with Los Angeles residents to gather data on rent burden. Her interests lie in the realm of human security, with a particular emphasis on children’s access to basic needs.
Cecilia Pou is a junior currently pursuing a major in International Relations. Cecilia is from Westchester, New York. This past summer, Cecilia interned at an advertising startup called Invisibly and this past fall she interned at the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. On campus, Cecilia is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon which is a professional foreign service fraternity. Her interests within the field of international relations include human security and global poverty. Outside of international relations, Cecilia enjoys studying social entrepreneurship and product design.
Lan Duong is a junior from San Jose, California, majoring in International Relations and double minoring in Computer Programming and Spanish. Her main interests lie in migration studies and the interplay between domestic and international politics. She works with the Human Security team at the Global Policy Institute and is also a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, USC’s international relations professional fraternity. Outside of school, Lan has been heavily involved in political campaigns, from her role as Outreach Director for a school board campaign in her hometown to her position as a full-time field organizer for Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign in Iowa. Lan has also spent time volunteering with CARECEN, a Los Angeles-based advocacy organization and resource center for Central American immigrants. This fall, Lan is working as a policy intern for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Helen Williams is a junior from Amelia Island, Florida studying International Relations and Environmental Studies. She is interested in science diplomacy and addressing climate change through effective law and policy. She is spending her spring in Washington, D.C. as an intern at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She has interned at the Institute of European Studies’ Environment and Sustainable Development Cluster in Brussels, Belgium, as well as the Coalition for Clean Air in Los Angeles. At USC, she is involved in Delta Phi Epsilon, Glimpse from the Globe, the Teaching International Relations Program, and serves on the executive board of the Environmental Student Assembly.
Aaron Smith is a junior at the University of Southern California majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in International Relations from Nottingham, England. His specific interest in the field of international relations focuses on climate change and human security. Outside of GPI, Aaron is on the executive board for Troy Camp and is a member of the Trojan Knights. Last semester, Aaron participated in a Case Study on Modern Leadership course co-taught by Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Delarai is a junior studying International Relations and Spanish from Orange County, California. In addition to GPI, she is a part of Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, an organization dedicated to teaching local middle school girls about important topics, like consent and mental health. Delarai is also a part of the action level coding team for the Near Crisis Project, a team dedicated to researching and coding the daily actions of near crises. Some of her primary interests in the field of international relations include human security, human rights, and the intersection of gender and international relations.
Jamie Schlegel is a senior studying International Relations and Arabic from Sheridan, Wyoming. Her interests include genocide prevention, forced migration and refugee policy, peace negotiation, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. At USC, she is a program coordinator at the CALIS office where she oversees volunteers participating in the Teaching International Relations Project. She is also a research assistant in the Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence Lab where she uses geospatial intelligence to track humanitarian crises, as well as for the Near Crisis Project where she does research on the Sahel Region.
Anton is a junior majoring in International Relations and the Global Economy. He grew up in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, and has spent his life between Russia and America. His interests lie in exploring domestic politics and their effects on international relations, economics or capital flow. Experience in showcasing the intersections of Eastern European politics, human rights and economic development are drawn from his time as a volunteer for human rights organizations in Russia, Interning for Senator Amy Klobuchar, and as a speaker for clubs of the Russian expat or first generation student communities. Before transferring to USC, Anton spent last fall working in Iceland and Rome and is a big European soccer fan.
Sabrina Pierre is an undergraduate junior from Sierra Vista, Arizona majoring in Health and Human Sciences, with a minor in Occupational Sciences and International Relations on the pre-med track. She is interested in the intersection of global/public health and global issues, with some specific issues being human rights and human security, child migrant conditions and policies, basic needs access for children across the globe, and anti-racism movements/issues. On campus she is a Keck P.R.E.P Scholar, a counselor and the elementary school programming director for USC’s Troy Camp, and you can find her working the front desk at Music Operations in Thornton. She is also a research assistant for the Dr. Steven Lopez, Culture and Mental Lab in clinical psychology, that focuses on mental health in the Latine community.
Zissis is currently a PhD Student in Public Policy and Management. His research interests include international relations, global health and environmental policy, and comparative politics. He earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering from USC, with a minor in Computer Programming. He grew up in Athens, Greece and currently resides in Los Angeles. He enjoys backpacking through foreign countries, learning foreign languages, reading history and philosophy, playing guitar and piano, meditation, and running long distance.
Sumaya Hussaini is a junior pursuing a Master of Public Diplomacy, majoring in Political Science and minoring in International Relations. She is currently for Accountability Counsel, a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance for communities harmed by internationally financed projects. On campus, Sumaya serves as team lead for the Education, Conflict & Aid Allocation project for the Security and Political Economy Lab. She has previously interned for the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan and USC Center for the Political Future. Her areas of interest include foreign policy, sustainable development and human rights.
Kavita Rai is a passionate youth activist and journalist centered around creation and thinking out-of-the-box. She is a storyteller and public speaker at heart and uses journalism as a platform for her activism, writing about global and national politics as well as her South Asian identity. She served on Girl Up Campaign’s international youth consultant board advising the organization on communication and advocacy strategies. Building off of her activism, she lobbied on Capitol Hill with the ACLU and Girl Up for bills ranging from immigration reform to protecting girls abroad. She has been invited to speak on behalf of organizations including Los Angeles City Hall for the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights day and Girl Up for the Annual Global Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. She’s excited to continue her education and advocacy work as a student at University of Southern California
Maya Prakash is a senior studying International Relations Global Business and Economics. She also has a minor in Middle East Studies and is learning Arabic in school. Maya is the co-founder and former president of Arabic Club ‘SC, captain of the Trojan Tennis Club, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the USC Economics Review, a peer-led review that provides a forum that aims to apply critical economic thinking and theory to the most pressing policy, private sector and public welfare issues of our time. Maya also hopes to go to law school after graduating and is a member of ‘SC Moot Court, Society of Women in Law, and Blackstonians Pre-Law Honor Society. This past summer, she interned at a law firm in Houston.
Amer is a senior at USC. Passionate about Research and legal policy, he is double majoring in political science and international relations hoping to better understand how policy decisions at all levels of hierarchy are made. He first became interested in politics through growing up in Beirut and realizing that almost all of his government’s policy choices have come not as a result of their goodwill but due to international pressures that have lobbied politicians to make the decisions that best service their constitutes. After graduation, he aims to prepare to take the LSAT in hopes of getting into law school.
Si Yun Ee
Si Yun Ee is currently a sophomore at USC. Motivated by her interests in the fields of International Relations and Global Studies, she takes her studies in International Relations and Global Studies to analyze the politics and the social construction of today’s society by better understanding both the international and local perspective of global issues. Her interests lies in the intersection of wide scale impact and explanations of political decisions and theories through International Relations, as well as the micro level of politics through cultural and diaspora influences through Global Studies. Through her commitment to her research and interests, her belief in both a strong work ethic and global self-immersion is prominent by her avid involvement as a student leader in various positions, in research and organizations that she partakes in. She is keen in furthering her interests in diplomacy, international regional stability and negotiation through obtaining further real-world experiences and learning opportunities to better herself as a global learner, thinker and professional.
Benjamin Blum is a sophomore studying International Relations from San Francisco, California. Ben’s interests lie in diplomacy, conflict studies and national identity. He has served as an intern at the US Department of State and works with the American Film Showcase, a government-funded public diplomacy initiative produced by USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He became passionate about international affairs after living in Japan for two years. Ben has completed research assistantships focused on international relations at USC and one day hopes to work in the foreign policy sphere.
Amanda Wilson is a third year undergraduate at the University of Southern California studying international relations and legal studies. After graduation, she hopes to attend law school and work in Washington, D.C. She was born and raised in Orange County, CA and considers herself a lifelong Trojan fan. Outside of the classroom, Amanda loves to spend time hiking with her dog, going to the beach, and doing hot yoga!
Daniel Kos is a freshman studying International Relations with a minor in Latin American Studies from San Francisco, California. He is interested in politics and economics in Latin America, especially income inequality and each country’s trade relations to the United States and China. In high school, Daniel was on the Model UN team, which he hopes to continue to pursue at USC. He also volunteered for his city district’s Youth Council, where he engaged in community leadership, policy research and neighborhood event planning. Daniel is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, and enjoys hiking in nature.
Spencer Dee is a freshman currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada studying International Relations and Global Economy. His interests include economic development, humanitarian drug crises, foreign international trade laws, military intervention in both local and international arenas and the security for universal human rights in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As a new student in USC, he is a part of Tommy Tours and is hoping to join other campus organizations in the following weeks. Outside of USC, he has worked as a data caption for the Bernie Sanders campaign and now has been working closely with the Nevada Democrats as a fellow. He is also passionate about working with research in his upcoming years as he has worked with ABS-CBN (a prominent news media center in the Philippines) and documentary producers to conduct research on the relationship between the Philippines’ War on Drugs and law enforcement.