Witnessing China’s Development

David LunaBefore coming to China I knew the U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. I also knew engagement with China is critical to addressing almost every regional and global challenge we face.  Working in the Political section allowed me to be part of that engagement and see firsthand the intricacies of diplomacy and attain a better understanding of U.S. and Chinese foreign policy. Prior to arriving in Beijing I took Professor Suisheng (Sam) Zhao’s course, “Politics of China’s Modernization,” where we examined China’s role in the international system and debated scenarios for China’s future trajectory. It was fascinating to witness China’s development along with its challenges up close, especially through a diplomatic purview.

One of the things that made Beijing so exciting was the importance of the work, the access, and the audience. There is a tremendous thirst back in DC and the wider policy community for what Embassy Beijing produces. It felt rewarding to see such an interest in what I was contributing to. The highlight of the summer was serving as the control officer’s aide for National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s visit.  My experience also made me feel somewhat more optimistic about the U.S. – China relationship. There was not the constant cynical and overly sensational coverage of the relationship that permeated news coverage back in the U.S., albeit reticent Chinese State media had something to do with this.

David Luna

– 2014 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow

– MA Candidate in International Security, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Expected 2016


New beginnings!

In my humble opinion, this is the BEST time of the year! The temperature begins to soar (but not the humidity here in Colorado), decks/patios are the preferred dining areas, Red Rocks summer concert tickets are confirmed and the grass is vibrantly green…new beginnings! Granted, it’s week 10 so students are maxed out at this point but graduation is next Friday and we will congratulate approximately 200 new alums while the first year MA candidates will venture to exotic locales and partake in amazing internships. New beginnings!

As I was strolling across campus en route to a meeting, I saw the most lovely sign of late spring/early summer – a momma duck with 10 baby ducklings (image below). New beginnings! For those of you joining us this summer/fall, recently graduated from college, decided to quit your job and travel for the next three months before beginning grad school or are moving to Denver this summer – congratulations! Cheers to new beginnings!

new beginnings at the University of Denver

Nicole Vilegi-Sandage
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Josef Korbel School opens door to employment, bright future

The majority of our graduate admission decision letters have been sent and one of the most commonly asked questions these days is:  “what kind of career opportunities will I have with this degree?”

To help answer this question, one of our second year MA students (who also serves as one of our marketing assistants) wrote the following article about the services and opportunities available through the Josef Korbel School’s Office of Career and Professional Development.

Deciding to attend graduate school is not just about seeking higher education, but ultimately about finding a job in a career that’s right for you. As a graduate student at the Josef Korbel School, you’ll have doors opened to you for internships and fellowships and access to the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) which provides a wealth of resources to assist matriculated students working through the internship and career search process

An example of these efforts includes organizing career fairs that introduce students to potential employers from across the country. Last year, the school hosted both a security fair and a non-government organization (NGO) networking forum where students were able to interact directly with the hiring managers from places such as the CIA and the Department of State at the security fair and ACCION and Global Greengrants Fund at the NGO forum.

In total, the OCPD held 118 events last year helping students develop skills, engage with employers and network. The office offers advising appointments and conducts resume and essay reviews, mock interviews and job-search related workshops.  Additionally they offer opportunities for students to network with alumni and other contacts.  Representatives from the Department of State, ACCION, Catholic Relief Services and many others attend career fairs in Denver, and speak to students attending Career Connections trips to Washington, DC and to New York.  These professional development opportunities, coupled with a Josef Korbel School education, appear to pay off. According to the most recent OCPD report, 84% of alumni one year after graduating are employed and 7% continued on to get another graduate degree. Of those employed, 40% work for NGOs, 32% work in the private sector and 21% work in the public sector

Approximately half of all graduates stay in Colorado after graduation.

“They don’t come in thinking that they’ll stay here but they fall in love with Colorado,” Mira Morton Luna, the Associate Director of Employers and Career Development, said. “The skills they learn here are applicable to many different jobs.”

One reason graduates opt to stay in Colorado is because of its plethora of NGOs and government contractors that students familiarize themselves with while at the Josef Korbel School, whether through internships, career fairs, volunteer work or a number of other informational outlets the school utilizes

Approximately 75% of Josef Korbel students’ degree or certificate programs require an internship for graduation and many internships pave the way for students to find employment in their field.  Some students complete multiple internships, many of which are in Denver or the surrounding area.

During the 2010-11 academic year, Josef Korbel School students registered for 227 internships or practicums, in 32 countries with 106 of them taking place during the summer. Most of those summer internships were at non-profits and NGOs (71), while 27 were in the government. While most students opt to do their internships over the summer, there are opportunities to complete one during any academic quarter.

And for those students who ultimately want to work in the nation’s capital, the Josef Korbel School certainly offers a pathway to get there through the school’s D.C. program. This is a partnership program with the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and GPSIA at the University of Pittsburgh whereby students spend the fall quarter of their second year interning and taking classes in D.C..

As the world’s 11th best international relations masters program, according to Foreign Policy, the Josef Korbel School has shown it can offer something for everybody and has a knack for getting students to where they want to be.

I hope you found this article helpful, please be in touch if you have additional questions.


Nicole Vilegi-Sandage
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver