Stanford Global Studies students represent the full range of the university's disciplines—from engineering and computer science to performance studies, biology, history, political science, and more. Through their participation in SGS programs, they have acquired global skills, experience, and knowledge—and ultimately, a global mindset—that uniquely prepares them for today's world.
Here, students from across SGS's 14 centers and programs share their favorite experiences, classes, and future plans.
Alexis Kallen '18, is a 2017 Truman Scholar, a 2018 Rhodes Scholar, and recipient of the 2018 Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Kallen, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in political science and minors in Spanish and human rights, is passionate about the rights of girls and women in developing countries. For her honor’s thesis, she examined the reasoning behind the lack of genocidal rape findings in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Outside of the classroom, she served as chair of Stanford in Government...Read more.
While taking Politics in Iran, Cameron Ramos wrote a sentiment analysis program and scraped software to analyze trends between the Twitter feeds of Iranian government officials, the country’s elections, and the Iran nuclear deal. A computer science major, he added a minor in global studies as a counterbalance to his technical coursework. “The program was transformative for me and the classes were among the best I took at Stanford,” he says. “I believe I've gained a much more nuanced understanding about how our world works which will be immensely helpful in the future.” Next, Cameron will join the flight software team at SpaceX. Read more.
"One of my favorite Stanford memories was co-founding Akwaaba, the Ghanaian student association. There was a big Ghanaian community and we needed reasons to get together," says Priscilla Agbeo, a first-generation college student who graduated with a minor in global studies, with a specialization in African studies. "Freshman year, I realized many students, especially those who were international students, couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving, so we all got together and cooked. We made a large meal for 50 people including kenkey, okra stew, groundnut soup with rice balls, tilapia, jollof rice, and other Ghanaian dishes. We ate together at Harmony House, listened to music, and had a conversation over dinner that evolved into people sharing childhood stories.” Read more.
Through international relations (IR), Sophie Stuber was able to study topics of human rights such as genocide, transitional justice, and war and foreign policy. Her favorite class at Stanford was Need to Know: the Tension Between Free Press and National Security, taught by Philip Taubman. After graduation, Sophie plans to pursue a joint master’s degree in international affairs and journalism at Sciences Po in France. In this Q&A, Sophie answers questions about her IR honors thesis "When Home Exists No Longer: Climate Change and Forced Cross-Border Migration."
“I have learned so much about my heritage and how Iran plays a role in global politics," says Rochelle Rouhani, who recently completed a B.A. in economics and a minor in global studies with a specialization in Iranian studies. Through the minor, Rochelle analyzed the different waves of immigration to LA following the Iranian Revolution. She is currently working on her capstone project, which examines Iran's policy responses to different rounds of international sanctions and explores how the economic & fiscal policy changes are unsustainable moving forward. Read more.
One of Thomas Churchill's favorite memories from studying abroad in Berlin was taking a course on contemporary German theater: “In this course, I went to a play in German every week! My language skills and appreciation for theater increased dramatically. My favorite play, a reinterpretation of Goethe's Faust, was a one-man show in which I got pelted with lettuce repeatedly throughout. It was absurd, hilarious, and fun, and is an experience I never thought I'd have.” Read more.
Atussa Mohtasham graduated with a B.A. in comparative literature and German studies, as well as a minor in global studies. "I chose these subjects with an interest in modernity, and how this phenomenon has played out across cultures," she says. For her minor capstone project, Atussa explored the philosophical underpinnings of Ghazals by Hafez, through a directed reading, in both English and Persian, with Professor Abbas Milani. Atussa says she is most proud of making the most of Stanford’s study-abroad opportunities: "Building a worldly perspective was pertinent both to my intellectual and personal growth," she says. In the fall, she will start a Ph.D. program in German studies at Princeton University.
“Majoring in international relations has taught me to maintain a global perspective,” says Marin Callaway '18. “It has also given me an incredible knowledge of history and current events that has continuously proved useful in jobs.” Marin, who was also a peer advisor in the IR program, says she was attracted to the interdisciplinary nature of IR which allowed her to study Latin America through the lenses of security studies, culture, history, language, and political science. Throughout her time at Stanford, she has been heavily involved in Stanford in Government (SIG), serving on the board twice. Read more.
Danya Katai (symbolic systems '18) says that the global studies minor helped him understand the history of Iran and its society from many different perspectives. “I was able to learn about the growth of Islam within the region and what role that played in shaping Iran's religiosity. I learned, in detail, how the Islamic Republic of Iran came to be and what implications that had and will continue to have on the world. At this time in history, especially with increasing turmoil in the region, it is more important than ever to begin to educate oneself in an unbiased, educated manner, and the Iranian studies minor has done this for me.” Read more.
Pearl Yip chose to pursue a master’s degree in East Asian studies because she wanted to learn more about China—"the soon-to-be world’s economic superpower," she says. A recipient of a Stanford Global Studies graduate student grant, Pearl was able to travel to Guangzhou as part of her thesis research, which investigated the socio-economic plight of migrants in Taobao Villages in China. Read more.
Christina, who studied international relations and completed a minor in global studies with a focus on Europe, plans to pursue a master's degree in international security at University College London. But first, she will work at TeachFirst in London, a two-year program that trains young aspiring teachers through experience teaching in underperforming schools across the country. “I'm proud that I found the academic area I am passionate about. I didn't know that I wanted to study international relations, and it has proven to be a fascinating and rewarding experience.” Read more.
“The international relations program has shaped my understanding of the world in so many ways,” Chandler says. “I am well-versed on international policies and doctrines, as well as potential ways to alleviate conflicts in the future. I would like to say that I am a more globally-oriented citizen, and I am much more aware of the political and social aspects of the world.” Read more.
Amartya Das graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematical and computational science and a minor in global studies with a focus on South Asian studies. “I've loved the breadth of classes I've been able to take even within my concentration,” he said. “My electives included a Bollywood film class & a class about the history of yoga.” After graduation, Amartya will pursue a master’s degree in symbolic systems at Stanford, before working at a management-consulting firm. Read more.
Caroline Doyle received her B.A. in international relations, with a focus on the history of nuclear weapons in 2017. During her time at the Farm, Caroline was a paid Research Assistant at the Hoover Institution, where she worked for Senior Fellow Russell Berman analyzing ISIS’s recruitment tactics and use of social media. Caroline is most proud of being able to balance both athletics and academics at Stanford, where she was a two-time captain of the women's tennis team. Recognized by the Pac 12 as the scholar-athlete of the year, Caroline says she is proud of how she was able to ... Read more.
Jian Yang Lum chose to study international relations with a focus on international security, the Middle East, and Central Asia, because he cares strongly about terrorism and war in today’s world. Lum is also pursuing a coterminal master’s degree in statistics in order to learn how to make inferences out of data. His favorite course at Stanford was Hacking For Diplomacy, where he was able to work as part of a team of students tackling foreign policy challenges. “It's been a blast thinking of a problem such as online radicalism from a different perspective,” he said, “and seeing how to integrate skills from all across the startup spectrum ... Read more.
Kate Gasparro is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow studying sustainable design and construction at Stanford. In 2017, Kate earned her M.A. in international policy studies, which she pursued simultaneously with a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Kate’s favorite class at Stanford so far is Applied Econometrics for Public Policy, because it incorporated different types of statistical strategies for analyzing policy and taught students how to navigate policy implications and understanding. For her practicum project, Kate evaluated sustainable water service delivery in developing communities. Read more.
Farhan Kathawala graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in computer science and a minor in global studies with a focus on Islamic studies. He chose to study these two subjects because he loved the creativity of being able to create his own software, and wanted to combine the resources of Stanford and his own cultural and religious knowledge to make things about the Islamic World more known and accessible to others. A few of Farhan’s favorite courses include Islam, Iran and the West with Abbas Milani, or Poems, Poetry, and Worlds with Vincent Barletta. For his capstone project... Read more.
Kirsten Willer chose to study international relations (IR) because it was a great blend of history and African studies classes with economics and statistics. “I loved how interdisciplinary it was, and how I could really focus on anything,” she said. Kirsten received her B.A. in 2017, with a focus on Africa, social/community development, and wellbeing. Kirsten studied abroad in both Paris and Cape Town. One highlight she recalls from Cape Town was hiking up Lion's Head to watch the sunset and then hiking down by the light of the full moon: “The view was magical!”As an IR honors student, Kirsten wrote a thesis on citizenship challenges and resulting violence in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more.