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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Josef Korbel School Building

Student Profiles

Alex Auman | Second Year MA Candidate

Alex Auman, MA Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Education: BA, Political Science and History, University of Vermont

Program at the Josef Korbel School: MA candidate in International Security, with concentrations in emerging technologies/cyber security and defense policy.

What work experience do you have? Before coming to Korbel, I spent four years in DC managing and supporting USAID and State Department programs. My programs mainly focused on conflict/post-conflict stabilization, financial reform, monitoring and evaluation, and counterterrorism activities. My Iraq programs, more specifically, dealt with legislative reform for the Iraqi parliament, financial regulatory reform, capacity building for the banking industry, and providing oversight of US funding distributed to local NGOs. Working in a conflict area with significant security risks and constraints was a unique learning experience and professional challenge. In addition to Iraq, I am fortunate enough to have overseas work experience in Jordan, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Kazakhstan, and look forward to traveling again once I complete my degree.

Why did you choose the Josef Korbel School? I had met a few very impressive Korbel graduates throughout my time in DC, which led me to research the International Security program. Mainly, I chose the Korbel School because its programs are very customizable, allowing each individual to pursue their interests. Additionally, independent study opportunities allow students to design their own courses of study in areas the school may not provide; for example, through independent study, I have been able to work with our sole subject matter expert in cyber and emerging technologies to focus my specialization on pressing cyber security, cyber defense, and cyber warfare issues -- an incredibly timely topic with many job opportunities! Getting a break from the intensity of DC and gaining some "outside the beltway" perspective and objectivity was also an added benefit.

So far, how has the Josef Korbel School prepared you for your career? My skills and methods classes have been helpful for providing a more broad academic foundation on top of my professional experience. My theory and issue classes help to reinforce the breadth and depth of my understanding of the subject matter, particularly those focusing on current issues and new/emerging threats. My classes are intellectually stimulating, and I enjoy the passionate discussions we have and the opportunity that exists to learn from many of my impressive classmates.

Favorite place to study: Stella's Cafe

Favorite place to unwind: At a local brewery

Favorite Denver restaurant: Linger

Favorite Denver/Colorado activity: Exploring the mountains!

Favorite spot abroad: Zermatt, Switzerland