#IncomingElliott: Mariana Fernández Rubach

#IncomingElliott: Mariana Fernández Rubach

Mariana Fernandez smiles, wearing a black dress with a black jacket and white shoes, and stands in front of the river side in Chicago. Maria Fernandez Rubach, M.A. in Security Policy Studies, 2025, #IncomingElliott

Mariana Fernández Rubach has a double B.A. in Political Science and in International Relations from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City during which time she studied abroad in Mannheim, Germany. She is interested in studying the changing nature of security, particularly its political, economic, and social implications, especially as it relates to systemic conflict and longstanding security blindspots. Before graduate school, Mariana worked for a political consultancy firm focused on analyzing the role of the Mexican mass media in public opinion on a vast range of political, economic, social, and international issues. She also worked at Control Risks as a Spanish-, English- and Portuguese-language researcher assessing risk factors for private companies focused on corporate compliance.

What has been your most rewarding academic or professional experience so far?

I think it would be graduating from both my degrees. It is common that individuals with a double degree in my university to end up graduating from just one and I felt it quite rewarding completing both. I felt I completed a phase in my university and was now ready to take the next steps which led me to GW. It also felt rewarding because I completed them during the pandemic, which was filled with so much uncertainty.

What are you looking forward to about living in the Washington, DC area?

I always get excited for creating a new routine in a new city because you get to explore and discover local spots that as a tourist you might miss out on.

Is the M.A. in Security Policy Studies program related to your undergraduate degree? If so, how?

Yes! My thesis for my B.A. in International Relations degree was focused on how the UN Security Council has been able and not been able to respond to new security threats apart from “traditional” state-to-state conflicts. So, the grad program naturally continues my research on these topics of new threats to the traditional concept of security such as environmental issues and the expansion of the cyberspace.

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

I chose to commit to the Elliott School for three main reasons: the first reason is that I liked the curriculum and found the transnational security field of concentration fulfilled my need to keep on expanding my knowledge and interest in the security field that started since my undergraduate program. The second reason was the capstone project. I feel it is an innovative way to graduate and helps students put into practice all the knowledge they have gathered from the program. And lastly, the third reason I decided to commit to the Elliott School was its location. As a security-geek I wanted the chance to study in one of the world’s most influential security studies hubs.

What is your favorite city that you have visited and why?

Tough one! I think my favorite city is Berlin because it is a mix of a lot of history and culture. Each of its districts has its own unique atmosphere and surroundings. Besides that, the best donuts I have ever had in my life were there. If you ever visit Berlin, don’t miss Brammibal’s Donuts! You won’t regret it and it’s vegan, so the donuts are guilt-free. I also must mention my close second, of course it’s Pittsburgh because it’s the home of my favorite football team, the Steelers!

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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.