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

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Faculty Spot Light, Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein, Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School, recently published this piece on the European Debt Crisis. Dr. Epstein teaches within the International Security program and the Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration program. You can learn more about her, and her background here. To learn more about the International Security Degree, watch the video.

 

Why choose the Josef Korbel School?

Tis the season for admission decisions! Our graduate  admissions committee was delighted with the quality of our applicant pool this year and are confident we will have a stellar incoming class joining us in September. The tables have  turned and the now the ball is in the admitted students court. So what’s an admissions office to do? Well, in addition to bite our nails, incessantly check the admission deposit numbers and plan our Discover Korbel event for admitted students, we want to provide admitted students with as much information as possible so they (you) can make an informed decision when deciding which graduate school to attend. Rather than toot our own horn, I think it’s more impactful to share with you a few reasons why our current students chose the Josef Korbel School.

“Korbel is unique in having an International Security degree. That itself was hard to find in other institutions. But the deciding factor for me was the flexibility of the programs. Korbel stood out from other schools in that it allowed students the opportunity to personalize their education. At Korbel, two students in the same program may have very distinct experiences based on the concentrations they choose, the internships they complete, and the focus of their research.”
Molly Stolpman – MA International Security, 2012

“I wanted a more qualitative, traditional academic degree rather than one that’s more policy focused. I wanted a degree that is amenable to different paths – one I would be able to use in the Department of State or outside of it. The alumni also played a role. Also, as a Studies student I have more flexibility to choose my courses so I get to study with renowned professors.”
Erica King – MA, International Studies,  2012

“The Korbel School is a part of the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program which offers Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) graduate education benefits after completing Peace Corps service. Also, the GFTEI program at Korbel attracted me because I felt it combined my undergrad and professional experience with my international interests. I believe that the program will help direct my future career in a way that is more aligned with my interests. Finally, the Denver location combines the fun and serenity that the Rocky Mountains have to offer with the hip urban culture that I missed while in Peace Corps.”
Kyle Horton – MA Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration, Peace Corps Fellow, 2013

“I was initially attracted to the International Human Rights degree offering. As I looked into the syllabi of various classes, I was particularly drawn towards the class on Contemporary Slavery & Human Trafficking (INTS 4987), as well as Nationalism, Communism, Liberalism & China’s Rise (INTS 4460). I was also drawn to the Human Trafficking Clinic (HTC).”
Colin Lawrence – MA International Human Rights, 2013

“I had been trying for some time to transition from what was a volunteer experience into a career. I was finding that it is difficult to get your foot in the door, especially if you want to work globally and not just domestically. I also recognized I had certain skill deficiencies and wanted to rectify that situation. I wanted to expand my abilities in terms of monitoring and evaluation, specifically, and more generally really deepen my knowledge of global humanitarian policy and practice. Eventually I see myself in operations management and in organizational management. I was attracted to the Administration program because of its focus on practical training in quantitative analysis and management skills and because of the freedom it allowed me in terms of selecting electives. I saw the opportunity to position my specific M&E focus within a broader framework.”
Maureen Mersmann – MA International Administration, Peace Corps Master’s International, 2014 

“It has an amazing reputation and it’s not in D.C., New York or Boston. I was really impressed by some of the professors. Also, all the people I hired from Korbel were great. I got into some of the D.C. schools but ultimately opted to come here. I came to Denver to make time to breathe and not feel the beltway pressure that exists. I wanted to spend some time somewhere else while I’m still growing.”
Greg Maly – MA International Studies, 2012

“At Korbel, there is an openness and obvious willingness of the staff to help the students. You are not just a face; you are not just a number. It’s a small enough school that you can get to know the faculty and the staff members if you want to. At Korbel, it really feels like it is a collaborative effort to help students succeed and get into the field. Not because it ups the school’s prestige, which it does, but because they genuinely care. Also, I was drawn to the flexibility of the program itself. I didn’t want to be trapped into taking courses that I have no interest in. I feel that at this level of education, we should be able to tailor our own degree programs so that was a big draw for me too.”
Kiela Parks – MA International Human Rights, 2012

I wanted a unique perspective on international issues and the Korbel School offers that. At the same time, the Korbel School has a solid APSIA reputation and stays connected with active policymaking centers like New York and Washington, D.C. I also have to mention the faculty here; they’re not the reason I came to Korbel, per se, but they’re easily the best part of the program.
Michael Marcous – MA Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration, 2013

“I was working for 15 years in the Pacific. Eight years in Fiji, where my wife is from. The project we were working on was coming to and end and I had to figure out what to do next. When you’re in your 40s you don’t have much leeway or the grace of time. I was interested in teaching and it became clear that an MA was a minimum. Another reason was that I was out of school for so long that I felt I exhausted my own theoretical perspective. I wanted to get back into the academic world and think.”
James Mockovciak – MA International Development,  2012

“I wanted a professional school with a strong reputation in international security. I was accepted to other prestigious APSIA institutions in D.C. and on the East Coast, but I ultimately decided on Korbel because of its location outside of the Beltway and the flexibility of its program.”
Amy Wong – MA International Security, 2012

I also chose the Josef Korbel School for my graduate studies. I’m originally from upstate NY and after serving in the Peace Corps, backpacking/volunteering internationally for 10 months and acquiring six years of random work experience, I decided I wanted to return to school to earn a degree in International Studies. I applied to two other east coast schools but ultimately decided to pursue my degree at Korbel for three main reasons. 1.) I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and wanted to attend an international affairs/relations/studies school that participated in the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program. 2.) I wanted a program that was extremely flexible and interdisciplinary (I managed to incorporate a certificate in Finance, a certificate in Sustainability Implementation and Leadership, and concentrations in communications and international administration into my program). 3.) I’m an outdoorsy kinda girl – Colorado was an obvious choice. I couldn’t be more pleased with my coursework, interactions with faculty and fellow students and the skills/knowledge/experiences I’ve gained.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about why our students chose the Josef Korbel School. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have questions or would like to chat with a current student.

Happy weekend,
Nicole

Nicole Vilegi-Sandage
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Nicole.Vilegi@du.edu