Sixth Annual Diversity Forum Engages Students

Sixth Annual Diversity Forum Engages Students

On July 16, 2022, APSIA welcomed 50 undergraduates and young professionals from 34 institutions across the US to the Sixth Annual Diversity Forum.

Carmen Iezzi Mezzera, APSIA’s Executive Director, kicked off the day with a brief welcome and overview of the Diversity Forum for Students & Young Professionals.

After taking a group photo, alumnae Nikki Duncan, Supply Chain Sustainability Expert at Amazon (JHU SAIS), Samantha Mignotte, Director of Advisory Services at Social Finance (Princeton SPIA), and Maryum Saifee, Senior Advisor at the US Department of State (Columbia SIPA) joined us for a panel to explore careers in international affairs. Panelists discussed their career journeys and shared insights into navigating their professions.

The next session welcomed twenty-one speakers who hosted small table chats on the topic of Moving Forward Professionally “Post” Pandemic. Broken up among ten tables, attendees got a chance to dive deeper into topics like practical ways to gain resilience in the face of adversity and how to lean on one’s community to grow and thrive.  Alumni shared details about their career paths, ideas to close gaps in one’s resume/experience caused by the pandemic and related or family considerations, and building community in the virtual environment.

APSIA closed out the day with a Round Robins session during which groups of attendees rotated among five topics:

  • Sidney T. Jackson, Assistant Dean of Global Enrollment & Recruitment at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Bunmi Akinnusotu, Deputy Director of the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program (Columbia SIPA Alumna) discussed financing paying for graduate school.
  • Andrea Chang, Graduate Admissions Officer at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs (GWU Elliott Alumna), and Jacqueline Linde, Director of Enrollment Management at Texas A&M University Bush School of Government and Public Service, discussed factors an individual should weigh when contemplating whether to attend graduate school.
  • Robin Boone, Associate Director of the LBJ Washington Center for the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs shared about getting international experience through jobs, internships, and fellowships abroad, locally, and online.
  • Camille Grayson, Assistant Director of Employer Outreach and Alumni Relations at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, and Wardah Amir, Special Assistant for International Security & Nonproliferation at the US Department of State (GWU Elliott Alumna) discussed channeling interests into a career.
  • Kirt Smith, Policy Analyst for Security and Foreign Affairs at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (UT LBJ Alumnus), and Francisco Bencosme, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, US Department of State (Georgetown SFS Alumnus) offered tips and advice on how to navigate workplaces authentically.

A copy of the program can be found here.


The 2022 Diversity Forum is made possible by many generous supporters:























  • Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy -
  • Geneva Graduate Institute–
  • University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs -