#WeAreElliott: Dina Alhayek

#WeAreElliott: Dina Alhayek

Dina Alhayek, Master of International Policy and Practice, 2022, #WeAreElliott

Dina Alhayek is a second year Masters student – and soon to be graduate – in the Master of International Policy and Practice Program at the Elliott School, concentrating in Technology Policy. She received her Bachelors in Political Science and International Studies at the California State University, Long Beach, and currently works in strategic business practices at Salesforce.com, Inc. Dina also spent three years at Amazon Web Services, where she helped train, hire, and build strategic teams, as well as negotiate top enterprise deals for the Professional Services branch of AWS. Dina is particularly interested in helping policy catch up to the constant innovation of the tech world, as she believes the two worlds must be symbiotic in order to affect advancements in sustainability, security and peace-building. Dina is an avid traveler and dog lover who enjoys coffee, horseback riding and ruin hiking – especially in her birth country of Jordan where many ancient Roman and Arab ruins exist today.

What inspired you to select the Master of International Policy and Practice (MIPP) – Online program at the Elliott School?

I studied political science and international relations during undergrad, but ended up working in strategic negotiations and in a blend of both business and legal. I knew I wanted a Masters degree, but was torn between the MIPP and a top MBA program. I ended up choosing the MIPP at the Elliott School because I felt it would add more value, as I already worked in a role which bypassed both MBA and Legal degrees, meaning I wouldn’t get as much as out of either. My network in the tech world and other industries is quite strong, but I knew my network in the field of International Relations could be further strengthened. Ultimately, MIPP aligned more with my personal and professional goals, and I am beyond grateful I chose this route for my Masters studies.

What courses have you found most helpful in your work experiences and how have they been useful?

I absolutely loved all my courses. My concentration/area of focus is Tech Policy, and my professional background is working for large tech companies such as Amazon and Salesforce. Some of my favorite courses are Cybersecurity Policy, AI & International Security, Cyberthreats and Policy, and Science & Tech Policy Analysis – all of which were taught by admirable leaders in the tech/science industries, and were lots of fun to learn from.

What is your favorite part of being an MIPP – Online student with the Elliott School?

The online program gave me the flexibility I needed as a working professional and leader, but also put me in the same virtual rooms with like-minded people who bring so much richness of experience to the program. The MIPP program allows students to come and go on campus and attend events as they please, so I also really like the hybrid program approach, and having access to everything an in-person student has (including fellowships and study abroad). It’s the best of both worlds where you never miss any of the action and get to pick and choose what you’d like to show up for and how.

What resources (online or offline) or strategies have proven to be the most valuable in helping you reach success during your time with the Elliott School?

The professors at the Elliott School are super knowledgeable and helpful. Most of them are leaders in the fields they teach, and are able to provide valuable insights into working for specific agencies, etc. which helps prepare private sector employees like myself on conduct and what to expect, beyond just providing an academia-focused experience. I also really enjoyed working with the MIPP Director Dr. Matthew Levinger and his team, who were always around to help answer my questions or facilitate any assistance I needed. I am very grateful for their support throughout the program, and credit much of my success at the Elliott School to their excellent guidance and commitment.  

What advice do you have for prospective students considering the MIPP program?

The Elliott school is truly amazing – you’ll get to work with and learn from experts in the field, and the ad practicum value here is unlike any other Top-10 program. My advice to prospective students would be to learn as much as you can about the many resources offered to you at the Elliott School, including the rich networking and professional development resources, impressive professor roster and the courses you hope to take as a student – there are so many wonderful courses to choose from.

What city outside of the U.S. should everyone visit and why?

I think everyone should visit a bustling city that was once an old-world hub such as Istanbul, Rome or Amman. There is so much culture, history, and art to experience and a wealth of traditions which I believe Americans especially can learn from and will enjoy because it’s so different from what we experience here in the States. It’s so important to become exposed to different lenses and world views, and to me, a global immersion of any kind is always the best way to do just that.

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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, 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.