Sofia was encouraged to apply to SAIS because of its vast network of global professionals and its diverse educational opportunities. The school’s practicum classes, such as the SAIS Women Lead practicum, were particularly noteworthy to Sofia due to their focus on experiential learning and career opportunities. It was because of opportunities like these that Sofia knew SAIS would best prepare her for her future career goals.

Prior to attending SAIS, Sofia was a student at George Washington University (GWU) pursuing a degree in International Relations. During her time at GWU, Sofia focused her educational and professional career on women’s empowerment and refugee rights by working with pro-bono asylum teams and non-profit organizations promoting gender equality. After graduating, Sofia became the Program Design Associate at Women for Women International and worked with the Program Design and Development Team on women’s economic and social empowerment programs across the globe.

Now a student at SAIS, Sofia has had the opportunity to enroll in fascinating courses with highly skilled professors. While it is very difficult to choose her favorite, her conflict management courses have been among her favorite. The coursework has given Sofia the opportunity to learn from professionals who have worked in the field, while analyzing past and current conflicts through various perspectives. Through her studies, she has been able to incorporate a gender lens in conflict analysis and in class discussions, which has enabled her to utilize the skills she has gained from her past experiences working in this field.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging, Sofia feels that the school has made an honest effort to make students’ online learning experience as positive as possible. Sofia’s professors have also been very supportive and flexible during this time, understanding and working around their students’ unique circumstances. However, she has missed many of the networking opportunities she hoped to utilize during her time at SAIS, as well as taking part in the campus community. Thankfully, these drawbacks are temporary, and Sofia looks forward to attending in person soon.

After graduating from SAIS, Sofia plans to continue pursuing a career in gender equality and women’s empowerment by participating in fieldwork to bring about more direct and positive change in communities of vulnerable women and girls. She hopes to utilize the knowledge, skills, and experience she attained at SAIS to excel in this field. Furthermore, she plans to take the lessons she has learned from her colleagues’ experiences and apply them to her own work in this critical sector. Through the practical knowledge and skills she is learning at SAIS, Sofia believes that she will be able to best support and empower vulnerable women with global and contextual awareness.