#WeAreElliott: Mariana Felix Angioletti

#WeAreElliott: Mariana Felix Angioletti

Marian Felix Angioletti smiles. Mariana Felix Angioletti, M.A. in International Development Studies, 2024, #WeAreElliott

Mariana Felix Angioletti is pursuing her Masters in International Development Studies with a specialization in gender, democracy, and governance. With 7 years of experience as a lawyer specialized in family and inheritance law, she also worked advocating for human rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQiAP+ law in Brazil. She was recently elected as Co-Graduate Liaison at LATAM, GW’s student organization that aims to unite students interested in Latin American issues. In her studies at the Elliott School, Mariana is currently focused on understanding the cross-cutting gender issues prevalent in Latin America. As a result, she has recently incorporated the lenses of democracy and governance in her learning and is now seeking to delve into themes such as development and civil society, transitional justice, and sustainability. Besides her academic pursuits, Mariana enjoys running, dancing, reading, cooking, listening to podcasts, and practicing yoga.

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?

I’ve always been interested in international affairs. Initially, I considered pursuing this degree as an undergraduate in Brazil, but I ultimately chose the “safe path” of Law to become a diplomat in the future. This never happened, I decided to specialize in Family and Inheritance Law and graduated in 2015. Over the past seven years, I’ve been working with the LGBTQiA+ community and survivors of gender violence in the realm of family law. This experience has exposed me to the challenges faced by minorities in Latin America as they seek access to basic rights through the Judiciary Power since the other two powers have often failed them. This has inspired me to seek a career in which I could work to change the structure of the system, and through my studies and conversations with people regarding public policy, I’ve realized that international cooperation may be the key. With this in mind, I’ve returned to my original desire to pursue a degree in international affairs. During my search for universities and programs, I discovered the International Development Studies program, which perfectly aligns with my goals of changing my career to work in development projects, since it offers both theoretical and practical learning opportunities and allows you tailored studies across various aspects of the international development field. Another key factor that influenced my decision was an email I received from Professor Christina Fink congratulating me on my acceptance and offering to have a conversation with me. This conversation was truly memorable, and it made me feel that I would be surrounded by inspiring women within the school. This feeling has been reinforced by my experience here during this past year.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

My goal for the next decade is to work as a gender specialist in an international organization. I aspire to work on numerous international development projects in various regions, with a particular focus on Brazil. My ultimate aim is to make a positive impact on the lives of women globally.

What tools have proved most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School?

As an international student, I’ve found the Graduate Student Services (GSS) to be an incredibly valuable resource. They’ve assisted me in finding internship positions to apply, preparing for interviews, networking, and more. Additionally, I highly recommend taking advantage of office hours with professors, they can provide amazing guidance. And finally, building a support network of friends is also crucial; studying in a foreign country can be challenging, and friendships can ease the process and make it more fun.

What advice do you have for students for staying motivated at work or in class?

Remember that you will have a wonderful chance to connect with incredible individuals who come from diverse backgrounds. Don’t let this opportunity slip away, losing the valuable chance to learn from their perspectives. Personally, I enjoy making connections with people, and the relationships I build in class with other students and professors or at events hosted by Elliott School energize me and keep me motivated, so I do recommend taking advantage of this.

What has been your most memorable experience while studying at the Elliott School?

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a discussion led by Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. Her insights into freedom, women’s rights, feminism, and the fight for equality were truly enlightening. The conversation that followed with other Iranian women in attendance was a cathartic experience for me.

What is one book you think everyone should read and why?

I would like to suggest the novel titled The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão written by Martha Batalha, a Brazilian author. This book portrays a realistic picture of Brazilian women’s lives in the 1940s, shedding light on the power dynamics in their relationships with their fathers and male partners. I believe it’s a great read for those interested in this subject, especially to understand these dynamics in the current days.

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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.