#IncomingElliott: Desirée Winns

#IncomingElliott: Desirée Winns

Desiree Winns, M.A. International Affairs, 2024, #IncomingElliott

Desirée Winns is an incoming graduate student of international affairs at the Elliott School. She was born in Japan, raised in Tennessee and Germany, and spent a year of the pandemic in Hong Kong. A former film major who switched to political science, Desirée has used her skills in storytelling and research for her internships with the office of Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas, the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, the Carter Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Aspen Institute. At GW, Desirée plans to concentrate in Democracy Studies with particular focus on Russian and Eurasian politics, the culture of autocracies, and the long-term psychosocial effects of war, genocide and conflict.

Is your grad program related to your undergrad degree? If so, how?

After studying film for two years, I transferred schools to major in political science. I am pursuing my master’s in International Affairs, so my grad program is closer in theme to my last two years of undergrad.

What are you most looking forward to about starting your program?

I am most looking forward to working, studying, learning and living in DC with other students who are just as passionate about history and politics as I am! GW has so many interesting classes and opportunities that I can’t wait to be a part of. For example, the History, Memory and Violence class reflects the exact interests I have in studying the generational effects of war and conflict. When I saw the Space Policy Institute and the extensive concentrations offered in regions such as Central Asia and Russia, it made me even more excited to apply and be accepted. I can’t wait to learn there!

What would you like to have accomplished by the time you finish your program?

By the time I graduate from GW, I hope to be more well-versed in Russian or Mandarin, and to have completed an internship at NASA headquarters. I also hope to have gained further experience in mediation and complete my capstone project on something related to the cultural psychology of autocracies. Finally, I hope to have been accepted into a Ph.D program for history, a job as an assistant for NASA in the international relations office, or as an analyst at the State Department!

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program?

I committed to the Elliott School because of the incredible range of classes, the opportunity to study space policy and Russian, and the fact that it is located in the heart of DC. The diversity of the people I will be studying with was also appealing, and I feel I will learn as much from them as I will from the classroom. Finally, the Elliott School offered me a fellowship and I also received a graduate assistantship.

If you could bring any international food to DC, what would it be and why?

If I could bring any international food to DC, I would bring soup dumplings from Hong Kong. I’ve been dreaming about them ever since I left!

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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.